17 Mar 2017

Review – The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall

Title: The Lady and the Highlander
      
Author: Lecia Cornwall

Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis: Laire MacLeod’s father has married a mysterious widow who is a vain beauty that deals with potions and spells. Laire does not drink them with the rest of her family and is the only one who could see through her stepmother’s games. When Laire flees to find help from her Uncle the Lady’s huntsman follows her with orders to kill. Laire must survive in a dangerous new city and find the antidote to a poisonous potion before it is too late.

Iain Lindsay is cursed. He is bound for seven years to be the hunter of a Lady who uses him to bring back birds to use in her potions. When Laire MacLeod escapes the Lady’s nets, Iain tracks her to Edinburgh, where she’s found shelter with an unusual band of thieves, but he cannot bring himself to harm her. Instead, he finds himself falling in love with the MacLeod beauty.
But a Highlander’s oath is his bond, and the price for helping her is death, both his own, and of those he loves.

I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

The Lady and the Highlander is a clever Snow White retelling with a Scottish twist that lends new charm to the well-known tale.

I’m not very keen on fairy tales in general, but the change of the setting really made a difference in this case. Part of the story takes place in Edinburgh, Laire runs that far from home to escape the Sealgair – aka the huntsman – and she goes through all kinds of adventure in the city while she tries to save her family from afar. Compared to the original fairy tale there is a variety of settings here, not only the forest and that’s an improvement, I think.

The book keeps the eerily dark undertone of the Grimm tale – who wants a cup of fresh bird blood? :) – and at the same time adds a romance that is much better developed than ‘the Prince sees the girl, they kiss and decide to marry’ script. I mean, in the first half of the novel Iain, the Sealgair, is out on a mission to kill Laire. From this alone you can see that their romance is a tiny bit problematic and that’s what makes it interesting.

They have the spark from the beginning, but there are reasons why Iain can’t just give up his task easily. I loved how it all started with desire and then Iain slowly began to feel protective of Laire. The fine mix of want and worry made the romance very real to me.

As you read Lecia Cronwell’s words you can sometimes forget you’re reading a fairy tale retelling, because it is a tale that can stand on its own with its many details and lovely characters. When you remember for a moment that it is a retelling after all, you can be surprised by the parallels. At least that’s what happened to me.

I think it dawned on me a little late that Laire’s new friends in the city are the dwarfs to Laire’s Snow White, but when it did, it made so much sense! It was a great idea to include The Clan of Thieves in the story. Little, innocent Wee Kipper was my favourite, I guess he was Dopey’s alter ego and he was a sweet one.

The Queen was scary enough with her bird and blood mania and she also had a crush on Iain, which made me uncomfortable. Iain had quite a lot of secrets only the Queen knew about. That made it difficult for him to break loose and follow his heart and I sympathized with him.

As you see, I enjoyed The Lady and the Highlander very much. Why didn’t I mark it a 5-star read then? I have two reasons:

Unfortunately some of the erotic parts didn’t live up to my expectations. I haven’t read many books in the genre, but I think it is a common thing that sometimes the foreplay goes out the window. I’m not happy for that, ‘couse foreplay is important y’all.

Another thing that bothered me a bit was that the writer used the word ‘sex’ to refer to sexual intercourse. It was stated in the Author’s Note that the story was set in 1809. Now, I made a quick research on the internet about the etymology of the word sex and I found that it didn’t take on the meaning ‘sexual intercourse’ until D. H. Lawrence started using it with that meaning in his novels. It felt out of place to me, that’s why I had to check.

Reading the Author’s Note it is obvious that Lecia Cornwall had made her research before she wrote her book and I’m not writing all this down to contradict her, my point is that I would have preferred to see synonyms of ‘sex’ that fit the time period better (love-making, carnal pleasures etc…)

Despite these two tiny bumps on the road, I loved the experience pretty much and I would recommend The Lady and the Highlander to everyone who loves fairy tales or Scottish tales. This story is truly worth your time.

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