Tuesday, February 19, 2013

THE WARRIOR by Margaret Mallory

Publisher:   Forever
Date published:   October 30, 2012
ISBN:  978-0446583091
Genre:   Historical Romance
Book format:  Paperback
Obtained via:  Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com


Among Connor MacDonald’s most trusted and loyal friends he counts Duncan MacDonald. Duncan is loyal not just because of a family tie or the clan demands such loyalty, but out of a true and abiding bond with his life long friend. Along with Connor’s cousins, Alex and Ian, Duncan went to France when they were called up on to fight. But Duncan went for more than because his friends went. Fatherless Duncan made one grave error—he fell in love with the Chieftain’s much loved daughter, Moira. Out of love for both Moira and his family Duncan left with his friends. When the four Highland warriors returned it was to a country in turmoil with many of their family, their clan, dead. With Connor now the Chieftain Duncan has become the captain of his guard and his duties have changed.

Duncan was not alone in his love. Moira returned it without question. She never doubted they would wed. That was until Duncan left without a word. He left before she could tell him she carried his child. In a matter of days she was wed to Sean, intended by her father to build an alliance to the clan.  

But life with Sean was not a happy one. Connor determined that Duncan needed to examine the fortifications of the boundaries of the clan territory. Before he can plan a well organized detachment Tearlag, the seer, comes to the castle declaring Duncan must go immediately and see to Moira. She has had a vision that Moira is in danger. Duncan does not hesitate and goes immediately. Despite believing she married another the moment his back was turned he finds his feelings for her have not changed. If anything the couple finds themselves even more in love.

But treachery lurks behind every turn. With a clan war brewing Duncan must get Moira to safety and stand by his Chieftain. But Moira has a secret that could undo their love and at the same time, at long last, Duncan learns just who his father is. Is their love strong enough to withstand the secrets that unravel before them?

THE WARRIOR is the third of Margaret Mallory’s Return of the Highlander’s series and for me it was absolutely the best so far. While I have a weakness for reading about blond haired Vikings or their progeny such as Alex in THE SINNER, there was something about Duncan that drew me to him even from the first book, THE GUARDIAN. While the cousins (Alex, Ian and Connor) have their families behind them, Duncan has only his sister, Ilysa. He is strong and loyal and at the same time vulnerable. Despite Moira’s lie, one that could tear him apart, he puts his clan and loyalty to Connor first.

I have to admit I also liked Sar, Moira’s son Ragnall’s dog. He was a wonderful addition to the story and the perfect foil for both Moira and Duncan.

Despite what can be convoluted family ties and connections Ms. Mallory weaves a wonderful story without the reader wondering just who belongs to which family. The addition of the pipers was a fun respite from the battles and journeys of Duncan and Moira.

While there is the part of me that asks “who doesn’t love a Highlander?” I have to say that even if you are not a fan of historical romance and in particular Highlander romances, this series can be enjoyed by romance fans of any time period. The stories are solid, the romance is palpable and the characters memorable. THE WARRIOR is the epitome of why so many of us love romance, particularly historical romance. A smart and feisty heroine, a dashing hero with his own vulnerabilities, friends you would want for your own and a love that endures no matter what travails are thrown at them.

THE WARRIOR is going to be hard for Ms. Mallory to top, but I’ll be finding out soon if she can with THE CHIEFTAIN.  And if a reviewer can ask for one more thing, I would love to see Niaill in his own story…and you’ll have to read the return of the Return of the Highlanders series to see who I mean.

And well, all right…make that two things…I would love to see James in his own story and to meet him you will need to read THE WARRIOR. I have a feeling he could just make a better hero than Duncan.

Then again, maybe not.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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