From the Publisher
Locked in a deadly game!
Physically and emotionally scarred, Lady Taryn knows no man would want her for a wife. Nonetheless, she's determined to free her father from his merciless overlord and enlists powerful warrior Killian MacDubh to help.
He has his own motives for confronting the High King...
Born a bastard, Killian longs to carve out a place for himself. Unaware of her true beauty, Taryn is an alluring distraction to his plan, but as traitors are revealed and loyalties tested, their forbidden love becomes the only thing worth fighting for!
I picked up a copy of this through netgalley.com. I will be the first to admit that my netgalley bar is pretty low. I think I have about 400 books on my shelf, and I would be surprised if I have read 20 of them. Between the fact that I don’t always get approvals, and the fact that I have no idea if I’ll ever get to these books leads to some pretty wild requesting. However, Harlequin usually grants my requests.
I’m on the fence about Harlequin’s Historicals. It’s how I first came into contact with the wonderful Jeannie Lin, but, on the whole, I generally find Harlequins a bit lacking. They follow the strict formula and they are often a shade too thin to provide a very solid world-building experience. Sometimes I feel like a romance needs a bit more time to simmer than a Harlequin can give it. I guess thatis why they are kinda the fast food of romance.
Regardless, on to Ms. Willingham. The thing that got me to read this book was the fact that there is an ugly heroine. Taryn was attacked by dogs as a child and now has scars across her cheeks. So often the heroine is beautiful and perfect in every way, it was really nice to have a heroine with a glaring physical imperfection. I really enjoyed seeing Taryn open up to Killian. She has all kinds of issues stemming from the attack and the fact that her society sees her as cursed really.
Killian is some kind of Irish untouchable, I guess a slave? The author used a Gaelic word and I don’t have my copy on me. . . It’s never really explained how this caste system works, but you should know that he is lower than a peasant. Killian is a big handsome warrior but from this really low caste. He is the bastard son of the high king, but has never been acknowledged and he has to live as a servant in another man’s castle. He’s super bitter about all this. He is itching to make his way in the world and make his mark. He’s also just very brooding.
I really loved seeing this couple come together. They both needed to learn how to trust and I liked seeing as they worked out their issues. The A plot is about Taryn trying to free her father from the High King’s prison and Killian trying to keep his sister from having to marry the High King. I honestly didn’t care about this at all. It was historically spurious at best, and I felt distracted from the romance. I really cared about Taryn learning that Killian loves her, the other stuff was just a distraction.
Either way I give it 3 out of 5 odd inserts of Gaelic words.