Monday, October 06, 2008

Review - Dark Highland Fire

First, let me apologize. I meant to post this yesterday but I've been plagued by ISP problems for the past week and a nasty head cold to boot. But here it is now and, if you see this book in the stores, you need to get it :D

By Kendra Leigh Castle
Sourcebooks, Casablanca

Gabriel MacInnes, a charming, handsome Scottish werewolf, is adrift after the marriage of his twin brother, Gideon. Not that he minds Gideon being married. He likes his new sister-in-law a lot. And he doesn't begrudge Gideon the responsibility that comes with being the Clan heir. It's just that even though Gabriel owns a successful pub, he doesn't quite know what he wants to do with himself.

Then, with one shriek of the Stone of Destiny, everything changes. A mysterious man dumps an exotically beautiful woman, a woman who looks like a stripper, in his arms and extracts a promise that Gabriel will take care of her before he disappears.

But Rowan an Morgaine isn't just any stripper. She's the future leader of her people, if any are left, and she's a fiery tempered demi-goddess who can cut holes in a man's ego with her sharp tongue. Unfortunately, she can't rid herself of one very ardent pursuer who wants to take her back to her world as his bride. Add that she exists on blood, and you can see that she and Gabriel are going to be at odds until they realize how much they need and love each other.

DARK HIGHLAND FIRE continues the story of the MacInnes werewolves who we first met in CALL OF THE HIGHLAND MOON. If you read my review of that book, you'll remember that I thought it was a very good story. But this one, DARK HIGHLAND FIRE, goes beyond the handsome werewolf shapeshifter that we all know and love to introduce us to a whole new world.

There are some similarities between our world and Rowan's but it's different enough to make one sit up and take notice. There are factions competing for power, there are ancient tales that come to life. There are characters we fall in love with and villains we hope get their just rewards.

Let's start with the heroine, Rowan. How many romance heroines start out as strippers? Darn few. I'm not saying that all romance heroines should be strippers but, in this case, it highlights some of the unique differences in Rowan. Gabriel, too, is rather unique among romance heroes. Yes, he's handsome and charming. But when Rowan must stand up for herself and her people, he doesn't get all macho and insist that he do the fighting. No, he stands at her side and treats her as the utterly capable and strong heroine that she is.

It's not often that I find a book that resonates so strongly that I'll read it twice, back to back. But that's what I did with DARK HIGHLAND FIRE. I fell in love with the world, the characters – even the not-so-bad guy, Lucien, had my sympathy. This book is definitely a keeper and Ms Castle is a writer I'll be watching for from now on.

-- Lynda

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