on April 4th 2017
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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.
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Mirror, mirror on the wall…
Bibiana had been the fairest of them all for a very, very long time. She is getting married for the thirteenth time to Donal MacLeod, who has been married eight times before, and has twelve daughters, twelve lovely daughters. Bibiana is as vain as she is beautiful, and as even more malevolent. Bibiana hates Laire MacLeod on sight: how dare this insignificant girl be so lovely! Laire doesn’t like the dark, doesn’t drink anything but water, is afraid of poison, wine and bloody meats because of a past incident.
At the wedding party, Laire senses that something is very wrong. Everyone but she partake in the special wine that Bibiana brought, and they’re acting strangely. Laire also notices Bibiana’s entourage: her old servant, Terza, her bodyguard Frenchman Rafael, and Bibiana’s huntsman, her sealgair, Iain Lindsay, a Highlander. Iain feels something that he had long forgotten when glancing at Laire, and soon becomes afraid that Bibiana has nefarious plans concerning the MacLeod lass. Within a few days, nothing is as it was at Glen Iolair, and Bibiana is even more scared than she was on her father’s wedding day. Iain has less than a year of servitude, out of the seven he owes Bibiana. Iain would like to protect the young Scotswoman, because he admires her courage, but will he? Dare he? Laire MacLeod is in mortal danger because she is the fairest of them all…
Iain is not a good man, but Laire makes him remember that everything was not always so bleak and hopeless, she makes him feel. He sees what Bibiana has in mind for Laire, and it makes him angry, but he is conflicted, torn; he feels powerless, and Bibiana has him in her clutches. Is there any good left in Iain, or has Bibiana destroyed his ability to care forever?
Right from the indescribably chilling prologue, Lecia Cornwall had me in her grasp, and completely enthralled. THE LADY AND THE HIGHLANDER is based on Snow White, and as I have not read or seen any adaptation of the classic fairytale in ages, I can therefore review this book objectively, based solely on its own merit. Ms. Cornwall has created an unforgettable atmosphere: at one point, I had to look away from my reader, and I was actually startled to notice that it was daylight and that I was not amidst the dark, foreboding forest of the story! I felt as oppressed by the dark as Laire was, I felt the danger as acutely as she did, always afraid that something wicked this way was coming. The prose is stupendous: the author conveys every little nuance, whether of colour, of emotion, of feeling, of danger. Iain has done terrible things, but can he redeem himself? He is a fabulously intriguing character; very charismatic, and mysterious. Bibiana is seductively cruel, and merciless; she is the devil herself. Every character, down to minor ones are extremely well drawn, I loved the delightful Clan of Thieves, the dialogues are superb, and Ms. Cornwall offers a vibrant picture of Scotland.
THE LADY AND THE HIGHLANDER is so captivating that I would recommend that you plan good chunks of time, because I found it extremely difficult to put the book aside and then pick back up. Not because I lost track of what was going on, but because it is so mesmerising, I just did not want to stop. This book is filled with action and adventures, and I couldn’t help but wonder how the author would make a romance between Iain and Laire believable, and it worked up to a point: the sex scenes, although well done, felt totally out of place, and completely out of character for Laire. Still, THE LADY AND THE HIGHLANDER would be worth the read if only for the astounding mood created by Lecia Cornwall.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.