Genevieve McInnes is locked behind the fortified walls of McHugh Keep, captive of a cruel laird who takes great pleasure in ruining her for any other man. Yet when Bowen Montgomery storms the gates on a mission of clan warfare, Genevieve finds that her spirit is bent but not broken. Still, her path toward freedom remains uncertain. Unable to bear the shame of returning to a family that believes her dead or to abandon others at the keep to an imposing new laird, Genevieve opts for the peaceful life of an abbess. But Bowen’s rugged sensuality stirs something deep inside her that longs to be awakened by his patient, gentle caress—something warm, wicked, and tempting.
Bowen seizes his enemy’s keep, unprepared for the brooding and reclusive woman who captures his heart. He’s enchanted by her fierce determination, her unusual beauty, and her quiet, unfailing strength. But wooing her will take more than a seasoned seducer’s skill. For loving Genevieve, he discovers, means giving her back the freedom that was stolen from her—even if it means losing her forever.
I was in the mood for a Scottish historical romance and decided to pick this one up. I have previously read Never Seduce a Scot and In Bed With a Highlander by Banks so I thought I’d enjoy this one. I thought wrong.
**This review contains spoilers for Never Seduce a Scot**
Genevieve was kidnapped by Ian McHugh on her way to her betrothal’s keep a year ago. Ian is the villain from Never Seduce a Scot. He kidnapped the heroine of that book as well. But he’s killed in that book and so Genevieve is left at his keep, still a prisoner, scarred emotionally and physically from Ian’s abuse.
When Ian was killed, Graeme Montgomery, hero from NSaS, sends two of his brothers as well as two Armstrongs to the McHugh keep to find Patrick McHugh, Ian’s father. Patrick runs away and the Montgomerys and Armstrongs take control of the keep. Bowen, Graeme’s brother, recognizes Genevieve as the hooded woman who helped them find Graeme’s wife in NSaS. She tries to keep her true identity hidden (she’s the only child of another laird) but Bowen discovers the truth quickly. He’s also drawn to her, despite being told by the remaining McHugh’s that she’s no good and actually egged Ian on to kidnap his sister-in-law. And despite the abuse she suffered at Ian’s hands, Genevieve feels safe with Bowen and attracted to him as well.
I had trouble connecting with the story. Genevieve was held prisoner for a year. During that time she was raped and abused by Ian. He even scarred her face so no other man would want her. And the clansmen and women treat her horribly as well (something that’s never resolved). It’s like they blamed her for getting kidnapped and raped. Ugh.
And after a year of that kind of abuse, she knows Bowen for a little while (like a couple days) before she a)feels safe with him and b)jumps into bed with him? I would think that she would have some psychological issues to deal with first. Maybe we’re supposed to think she’s super resilient? I really struggled with how there seemed to be no repercussions to the abuse she went through. And continued to go through at the hands of the McHughs. And then in that year, she doesn’t get pregnant…but after being with Bowen she gets pregnant right away?
The other problem I had was the writing itself. I can’t really explain it except to say that it felt like a debut author’s work. A lot of telling, not a lot of showing. Especially in the emotional aspect of a few characters.
Overall, I feel very meh about this book. I can’t recommend it. I give it 2 out of 5.
You can read more from ~ames~ at Bookish Ames.