Saturday, February 11, 2017

Falling for the Highlander

Falling for the Highlander by [Sands, Lynsay]
















Falling for the Highlander- Lynsay Sands
HarperCollins/AvonBooks
Release Date: January 31, 2017

Rating (out of 5):
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Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Synopsis: Lady Murine Carmichael has known her share of bad luck. But when her debt-ridden half brother tries to sell her off in exchange for a few Scottish horses, it’s the final straw. If keeping her freedom means escaping through harsh countryside alone, so be it. She has barely begun her journey when she lands an unlikely escort—the brawny Highlander who just refused to buy her virtue.


Dougall Buchanan was disgusted by Lord Danvries’ shameful offer, but Murine tempts him beyond measure. Even bedraggled and dusty, the lass glows with beauty and bravery. Dougall wants to do more than just help her flee. He wants to protect her—with his life and his heart—if she’ll only let him. For Murine may be pursued by a powerful foe, but nothing compares to the fiery courage of a Highlander in love.

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The latest in Lynsay Sands' historic Highlander series follows Murine Carmichael, who readers familiar with the series will remember as the woman who was fainting all the time in previous books.  Readers less familiar with Sands' work will wonder if it is possible to turn a woman known for fainting into a heroine strong enough to match one of Sands' fiery Highland heroes.  Fear not- it can be done!

Heroine Murine Carmichael may have had more than her share of bad luck over the last few years (both parents dead, several siblings dead, getting stuck with a reprehensible English half-brother as a guardian, her father thinking she was too weak to lead her clan and leaving it to a cousin she's never met . . .) but she has finally reached the end of her patience.  Her half-brother and guardian has not only gambled away her dowry, he is now trying to barter her off in exchange for some horses.  When horse-breeder Dougall Buchanan refuses to accept the deal, brother Danvries starts thinking about who else he could loan Murine out to in order to get enough coin to pay for the horses.  Murine isn't stupid and knows even after Dougall refuses to do business with him, Danvries isn't going to let this new money-making idea go.  She takes the only option she can and runs away.  Her plan is to get to her friends Saidh and Joan, but she quickly lands an unlikely escort- Dougall Buchanan and his brothers!  The Buchanan brothers are gentlemanly enough to offer to help Murine get to safety, but aren't sure how to handle a weak woman on a journey. When they realize Murine is their sister Saidh's best friend (and the woman who saved Saidh from being murdered), they have a hard time reconciling Murine's different facets. Brave, strong, and weak?  As they get to know her they realize the fainting fits are more a lack of food than anything else and that Murine is as brave and strong as any Highland warrior.  Dougall is attracted to her from the beginning and soon the idea of marrying her to protect her from Danvries seems like the perfect solution.  But mysterious accidents, disappearances, and attempted murder soon have them realizing that nothing is as simple as they thought! 

Murine is the type of heroine that I like best- someone who doesn't believe she is brave or strong but is obviously that to those around her.  The more time she spends seeing herself through the Buchanan's eyes instead of her half-brother's the more she comes to believe in herself.  She acts when there is trouble and doesn't depend on others to save her.  These very things appeal to Dougall while at the same time drive him crazy- how can he fall in love with a woman so prone to trouble and so determined to help herself instead of letting him do the rescuing?  It takes the poor man a little while to figure out his emotions and for Murine to believe he's genuine, but in classic Lynsay Sands style, after the mayhem settles, our heroes are confident in both themselves and each other's love.

Falling for the Highlander is everything long-time Lynsay Sands readers expect: full of humor, mayhem, disasters, sweet romance, and sizzling chemistry.  Those new to Sands' books will want to read more (each book in this series is stand-alone and they don't need to be read in order, but characters cameo in them all and if you enjoy one you'll certainly enjoy them all).  If asked to choose a favorite scene I'd be torn between a highly memorable waterfall scene and Murine rescuing the Buchanan brothers from a burning building.  The younger Buchanans are great and scenes where we get to see all the brothers interacting are lots of fun! While the mystery behind who is trying to kill Murine seems pretty obvious- brother Danvries seems pretty tailor made for the role of bad guy- I enjoyed how the Buchanans, Sinclairs, and others pieced together their suspicions and helped Murine to realize that she had a lot of people in her corner. Four armies by the end of the book!  Long-time Sands readers will also keep in the back of their minds that Lynsay likes to throw curve balls to her readers and even a straight-forward mystery is never entirely what it seems!

A fast-paced and fun read full of wit, humor, and heart.  You'll fall in love with Dougall and cheer Murine on to a guaranteed and well-deserved happy ending.


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