Hero Hard to Like, More Violence Than I Thought
This is the third book in the series about the now-orphaned, but adult, MacAlister sisters. Their deceased father was the laird of their clan while they were children, but he died when the young girls were 5, 8, and 12. The heroine of this particular book is the girl who was five years old. Compared to the other two sisters, this one is decidedly feminine, compassionate, and kind-hearted, the type that wouldn’t kill a midge. Her older sisters, especially the oldest, believe this to be a weakness in her that she’s not quite so tough as the rest of them. But Honor is a Healer, so she has a much gentler spirit. She couldn’t imagine killing, hunting, or attacking as her sisters do. The book opens—after the same prologue about the death of father that was in the other stories—with a rather violent scene where she is assaulted and very nearly raped, but she is able to get out of the circumstance before it goes that far. But she used all of her strength to fight off the attacker, and she did receive a rather extensive wound on her back as she was pressed up against sharp rocks during the assault.
This is a long and complicated story, which they all seem to be in this series, so I’ll stop there in talking about plot point by point. Okay, maybe just a little more. Honor struggled and went back and forth, trying to decide if she should tell anyone what happened. But she didn’t want anyone to be harmed or murdered because of the assault. She still deals with immense psychological trauma because of what happened to her (although they wouldn’t call it that in those days). She doubts herself constantly; she doesn’t know what to do quite often (which is unlike her), and she struggles with her new reality of fear. Where she was attacked is a place that she often goes to gather herbs and other medicinal plants in the forest. As with book one, I had a hard time with this particular hero. Apparently, the heroine hasn’t treated him well in the past because they are at odds (he leading the brutal sparring practice and she stitching them up; so, he doesn’t treat her terribly well. Knowing what she had just been through, as a reader, I had a hard time seeing him treat her so poorly. Seriously, couldn’t he tell that something was amiss and be a little nicer? This made me have a hard time believing the romantic aspect of the plot.
Like the first book, this novel had some severe issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage. The book clearly was not professionally copyedited, as the same errors occurred over and over again—obvious ones that a good copyeditor would have caught if one had been used, like the missing comma that is required between independent clauses in a compound sentence joined by a coordinating conjunction. There are other issues as well, like some wrong words or misspellings. I believe this book has been out for some time, so it isn’t just that I received this book as a true ARC (which I think should be in the best shape that the author can provide anyway). Certainly if you have any issues around assault, near rape, or any sort of violence against a female, you will want to steer clear of this book. If you don’t mind Highland romance stories with more violence than usual and a hero that is hard to like—and grammar problems don’t bother you—you might enjoy this book.