Once Upon A Romance

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Sins of a Highland Devil by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

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Cover art: Sins of a Highland Devil Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Sins of a Highland Devil - 1st in the Highland Warriors series
Author: Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Publisher: Grand Central
ISBN-13: 978-0-446-56178-5
Release Date: January 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Historical Romance
Year/Setting: Glen of Many Legends, 1396
Overall Rating: 5.0
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle/Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: : Minimal and a Moderate battle scene
Sue-Ellen's Website/Blog: www.welfonder.com


The Glen of Many Legends sits in the center of three highland holdings. The Cameron’s, MacDonald’s and Makintosh’s all claim the Glen as belonging to their clan. The King is tired of the squabbling and decides to settle the claims with a fight to the death between the three clans. The one left standing will be the clan to rule the Glen.

James Cameron is poised and ready to lead his men to victory—or die in the attempt. He has always shown single-minded determination and he has the ability to put everything out of his mind in preparing for battle. With his ability to remain focused, he can’t understand with the sister of a rival chieftain keeps invading his thoughts. He can’t get Catriona MacDonald out of his head and it irritates him. Beyond that, he is totally galled by the fact that he would compromise his core values to spend more time with her. But what good is wishing for something that everyone knows can never be?

Catriona MacDonald has harbored feelings for James Cameron since they had a fiery encounter when she was still a child. She wants to feel his hands on her once again and is willing to play with fire to get her way. The bad thing about playing with fire is sometimes you get burned…and James seems to go out of his way to insult and shame Catriona. She knows what her heart tells her and she’s trying to follow her heart—while staying true to her clan. How will she ever explain that she may be falling in love with their sworn enemy?

This is the first book in a new series that will feature a hero from each clan. I love Highland Romance but this is one of the finest books I’ve read in a long time. The characters are so rich and vibrant and Sue-Ellen Welfonder writes the most realistic descriptions of Highland battles. I was transported to the Glen and could almost smell the forest and the peat fires in the castles.

Catriona is such a strong woman and she has a great vision for the Glen. I loved her spunk. She’s determined in a way that borders on conniving at times—and almost always giving me a little laugh at her antics. She is committed to staying true to her clan while simultaneously plotting on how to make their enemy a friend. She is one of the strongest heroines I’ve ever read.

James is doomed from the moment Catriona sets her sights on him. He thinks he keeps control, but she is driving their meetings from start to finish. He is trying so hard to retain his honor and won’t even consider that there could be another way. He’s a warrior trying to focus on the battle ahead and he believes that any feelings he has for Catriona must be set aside forever. He refuses to believe that anything could conquer the division between the clans…but Catriona will not give up on convincing him that love can conquer all.

The battle in the Glen does have more violence than most readers are used to. The battle is carefully written, but done truthfully. War isn’t pretty and a battle to the death isn’t going to be a happy portion of the book. I found the battle to be realistic and well written. There is gore involved, but the gore is not the focus. Sue-Ellen Welfonder writes a lot of dignity into the senseless deaths of the clans. She also points out that the driving force behind this carnage is the King. It’s very historically accurate and gives the reader a true sense of what it was like to be the pawns of the monarchy—with no other options available.

A fantastic story that I treasured and I’m looking forward to the next story in the series. I love those men in kilts and the honor and pride they stand for. James and Catriona will not disappoint.

Robyn

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