- Title: Lachlan's Bride: Highland Lairds Trilogy
- Classification: Adult Fiction
- Genre: Historical Romance
- Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Avon Impulse (May 14, 2013)
- ISBN-10: 0062226347
- ISBN-13: 978-0062226341
Laird Lachlan MacRath, known to the English as the Sorcerer of the Seas, was reputed to captain the Sea Hawk, a ship said to magically appear out of mist and fog. He was said to be able to conjure storms which would toss his enemy's ships on the rocks so he could more easily plunder them. He was said to be a highland chief with the powers of a wizard. He'd been sent to England to help escort the King of England's daughter, Princess Margaret, and her entourage to Scotland where the young princess would marry King James IV of Scotland. It is hoped the alliance will bring peace to the two countries.
Lady Francine Walsingham is a widow of six months entrusted with the task of making sure correct protocol is followed on the royal procession of Princess Margaret to her new homeland of Scotland. The chaste widow is apprehensive about such a reputed Scotsman protecting her life and that of the princess's. She's managed to hide for the past six months behind her morning attire which she wore not only out of respect for her late husband, but for her own protection. Lady Francine is a young, beautiful and wealthy widow with a number of estates located in strategic positions along the border, all of which could entice ambitious suitors to gain her hand by unsavory means. She has no intention of remarrying, but the King will have the final say about her fate. If he deems her lands must have a strong male presences to keep them safe, then her single days are numbered.
Not all are in favor of an alliance being formed between England and Scotland. Shortly after leaving England, a plot is revealed to kill Lady Francine and her young daughter. Francine and Lachlan will be forced to pretend to be having an affair to conceal the fact he is acting as her full time body guard. What makes Francine a prime target is that the King has a soft spot for the young widow and many believe the two are having an affair. They hope by framing Lachlan for Francine's and her daughter's deaths, the King in his grief and anger will call off the wedding, thereby ending all hopes at an alliance. While Lachlan may be protecting Francine's life, there's no guarantee she'll be able to protect her heart from him. When she gets close to Lachlan it's like she's captured within one of his spells.
This is the second book of the Highland Lairds Trilogy. If you haven't read the first book, The MacLean Groom, don't worry. You won't feel lost, but if you're like me, you'll eventually want to read the first.
Lachlan is a very likable and mysterious character. He's been in countless battles but bears no scars. He's smart, strong, loyal, handsome, brave and everything a girl could want, but his fierce reputation intimidates Francine. While she may be hesitant with him, he is immediately drawn to her and makes his interest know to her from the very start. I simply adored the way he handled Francine.
Francine is a fun yet somewhat naive character. When she hears words like sorcerer and wizard being attached to Lachlan, her superstitious side shines through. She's smart, has a good sense of humor, but has a cautious side as well, which we later find out is well warranted. Lachlan has his work cut out to try to convince her to take a chance on him. Some of the things Francine did to try to convince herself there was nothing special about Lachlan had me laughing hysterically. Lachlan however proves to her time and time again and in many different ways that he is what she needs.
Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I immensely enjoyed the characters and their interactions. There was plenty of drama and suspense woven into a delightfully delicious tale. I loved the twists and turns the story took and how secrets were revealed in their own good time. If you like tales with Highlanders in them then this is a must read. On the Lisarenee Romance rating scale, this one gets a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.
Notes to keep you in the know:
Kathleen Harrington, the author of this book, attempted to stay true to many of the fact surrounding Princess Margaret Tudor's marriage to King James IV of Scotland. Margaret did indeed marry the King by proxy before journeying to her new homeland, she did travel the route described in the story, and there was a stable fire.