Tag Archives: mary wine

Highland Vixen

Highland Vixen (Highland Weddings Series) by Mary Wine

highland-vixen

Overview by Publisher:

Marcus MacPherson is every inch the fearsome Highlander. He’s used to men averting their eyes and women cowering before him. He thinks he’ll eventually settle down with a nice, obedient bride. Instead, he gets Helen Grant… Stubborn as the day is long, fearless and dedicated to raising as much hell as possible, Helen is definitely going to challenge Marcus. And challenge him some more. And then some.

This was a great Highland story!  I have just booked a trip to London and Scotland in the spring and reading this book made me so excited to go!  Not because I expect to be transported back to the time of James Stewart, but because of the culture and history that is abundant in the Highlands.

Marcus is the war chief for the MacPherson clan.  After Outlander, many people understand what the war chief position entails.  Marcus is a tough man and works to protect his clan.  Part of that was actions that happened in the first book of the series.  He kidnapped Helen Grant from her home in the Highlands in retaliation for her families actions and brings her to the MacPherson keep.  There is history between these two when the story starts, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy this book without reading the first.

Helen is repeatedly called a vixen in the story.  She is a very strong willed woman who leads men in the Highlands (and lowlands) on a chase.  She demands respect and is smart.  It was easy to respect Helen and her battles with Marcus.  She is not from a wealthy clan and doesn’t have a lot of monetary assets, but she has pride.

Marcus wants Helen.  He chases after her when she escapes the MacPherson hold.  He follows her to court and finds himself entangled in royal affairs.  What is so interesting about this story is the machinations of the royal court and how women were used like trading cards.  While it was grotesque how women were treated, it was interesting and an effective plot point to highlight how important it was that Helen stood her ground with men.

Back at MacPherson land, the danger to Helen and Marcus doesn’t abate.  Between the burgeoning romance there is many plots to undermine the clan and the politics of the Highlands.  This is the best kind of historical romance story – one that blends a romance and political intrigue.  Marcus and Helen share some very intense sexual moments and it was the perfect blend of story and action.

This story has it all.  An alpha male, a saucy lady, danger and the beautiful Highlands as a backdrop.  If you like historical romance set in Scotland, definitely give this book a try!

Highland Spitfire

highland spitfire

Highland Spitfire by Mary Wine

Overview by Netgalley:

Passion flares between enemies
Two hotheaded Highlanders, the offspring of feuding lairds, are tricked by the King’s Regent into a desperate choice: marry or die. Bhaic MacPherson is more disposed to lead his clan into battle than stay married to the daughter of his enemy. But perhaps the intensity of his feelings has more to do with desire than hostility.

And the Highlands ignite
Ailis Robertson wanted a husband, not a savage—but when her family was faced with a deadly ultimatum, she had no choice. The union of a MacPherson and a Robertson could end three generations of hostilities between the two families, but can bitter rivals truly become lovers?

This book was amazing!  I have been contemplating all day long what is the difference between a strong story and one that has a lot of flaws.  As the reader, when you start that book that is solid, well developed and written, it is all about how you feel.  I feel safe while reading it.  That may sound silly, but I know that my time is going to be well spent.  I enjoy what I am reading and not having to fill in gaps or make conjectures about what I am reading.  It’s the excitement of giving yourself over to a competent author who weaves a magical story.

This story reminded me a lot of Monica McCarty’s writing.  Obviously they both feature Scots, but the similarities continue with strong male characters and feisty women.  I think the female leads were just amazing in this book.  Ailis has been dealt a tricky hand and forced into marriage.  It wasn’t that she was perfect, there were times that she wanted to gnash her teeth or just give up and cry, but she was so strong.  I loved that she had a strong perspective and an understanding of the collective good.  It wasn’t that she was sacrificing her life, but rather taking charge when the men had their heads up their backsides.

Bhaic is trapped just as much as Ailis.  Things are easier for him, as Ailis joins his clan, so his life is not as disrupted.  There is a strong Romeo and Juliet feel to the story.  The two of them seemed to be the voice of reason in a mad world.  Bhaic was a treasure because he recognized the value of Ailis.  Not just as a wife, but as a partner, a lover and a political ally.  It definitely didn’t hurt that Bhaic had the patience of a saint and the lips of a sinner.

The clan politics were really interesting.  I think this is why it reminds me of Monica McCarty’s books.  She explores some of these issues in her series, but Mary Wine takes it deeper.  The stubborn Scot mentality of generational feuds is deeply explored and the impact on the average person.

The secondary characters were excellent.  Ailis’ guards reminded me of Angus and Rupert from Outlander.  The relationship between Helen and Marcus was so interesting and engaging.  I really hope that Mary Wine writes their story next!

I think the word ‘engaging’ is the best to describe my experience with this book.  I found it highly interesting, emotional and rewarding.  The passion between Ailis and Bhaic was a large part of the story and it was exceptionally well done – don’t worry – if you like your historical romance with time in the bedroom, you won’t be disappointed.  It was a really great love story full of politics, romance and challenges.  A definite must read!

A Sword for His Lady

A Sword for His Lady (Courtly Love) by Mary Wine

a sword for his lady

Overview by Amazon:

He’d defend her keep…

After proving himself on the field of battle, Ramon de Segrave is appointed to the Council of Barons by Richard the Lionheart. But instead of taking his most formidable warrior on his latest Crusade, the king assigns Ramon an even more dangerous task-woo and win the Lady of Thistle Keep.

If only she’d yield her heart

Isabel of Camoys is a capable widow with no intention of surrendering her valuable estate. She’s fought long and hard for her independence, and if the price is loneliness, then so be it. She will not yield…even if she does find the powerful knight’s heated embrace impossible to ignore.

But when her land is threatened, Isabel reluctantly agrees to allow Ramon and his army to defend the keep-knowing that the price may very well be her heart.

I think the reason I love historical romance so much is that I love the history aspect.  I find it fascinating to learn about a new time.  I like learning about the average lives of people, the way the nobility lives and the structure of society.  This book is an awesome look at the time of the Crusades and Richard the Lionheart.  It brings to mind Robin Hood and the forests of England.

Ramon has been made a Baron for service to the crown.  He has been granted land on the Welsh border and if it moves him, the widow of Thistle Keep.  Ramon is a Knight, but also a savvy political weapon.  It takes a while to get to know the man behind the armour, but I really enjoyed his manliness and strength.  He leads men with his intuition and strength and he also enjoys playing games with Isabel.

Isabel had a terrible first marriage.  A lot is made of her experiences in the bedchamber with the brute of a husband.  Her fear of being under a man’s control again has her resisting Ramon.  Thankfully she is intrigued and gives him a chance to flirt with her.  The cat and mouse game they play with each other is really enjoyable.  What resonated with me as the reader was the respect that Ramon had for Isabel.  She is a smart woman and has found ways to support her people while keeping their bellies full.  Even the King is impressed with her abilities.  She is independent and taking Ramon on as a partner is an inner struggle she has to face.

The plot is well developed in this book.  There is not only conflict between Ramon and Isabel, but a dangerous Baron intent on reeking havoc on their lives.  The insertion of this Baron raises the stakes and creates delicious conflict for the keep, Isabel and Ramon.

The passion the two share is hot.  The bath house is a great setting for their amorous adventures.  Ramon proves himself worthy of the passion he promised Isabel.  She is a lucky lady to have such a man devoted to not only her well being but that of her people as well.

This is a really good book.  Full of adventure, plots, flirting and passion.  I greatly enjoyed the historical elements and learning about the daily lives of the people of England.