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When the Laird Returns (Book Two of The Highland Lords) Mass Market Paperback – 19 Jul 2002

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books; Reissue edition (19 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380813017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380813018
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.4 x 17.1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,374,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


In book two of the Highland Lords series, a stranger to his ancestral Scottish lands, the dashing nobleman comes to the Highlands to reclaim his birthright - only to find something more wondrous and unexpected waiting for him - his bride!

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There were no hints of what was to come on that perfect summer morning, no sign that in a few hours her life would be forever changed. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Promising beginning - a real letdown overall 28 May 2003
By V - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is my first Karen Ranney book. I looked forward to it and assumed that I would enjoy it and many of her other books in the future. I will try Ranney again and I still hope that she is an author I can depend on for a good read. But When the Laird Returns had just too many overused, trying, romance plot lines to abide with much patience.
Alisdair MacRae has arrived, for the first time, in Scotland as an adult. His family had fled their former Highland estate prior to his birth. Alisdair wants to see his birthright, Gilmuir castle with it's surrounding lands, and falls in love with it. The castle had been partially destroyed when his family had been forced to flee Scotland but Alisdair finds that a large portion of it has been systematically dismantled. Although the MacRaes no longer occupied their former Scotland home, the land and castle remains still belong to Alisdair. In addition, Alisdair finds sheep grazing on his land and orders the shepherd and his sheep off his land. He begins looking for the man who is apparently using his land as his own and finds the dreaded villain in this book, Magnus Drummond. Magnus has claimed the lands as his own and has apparently obtained legal ownership. Alisdair is a wealthy successful ship builder and decides not to fight Magnus and agrees to pay him an unbelievable sum for his own birthright. But Magnus has a further provision for Alisdair's purchase of this property. Alisdair must also wed Magnus's daughter, Iseabal.
Iseabal is a free spirited woman who lives in the shadow of constant fear of her father. Her times of running free for a day across the Scottish highlands must be kept from her father. Although she doesn't escape her father's oppressive treatment often, she lives to relish the few times she is able to wander among the beautiful highlands around her. Her father sees her as nothing special and believes her to be totally biddable. When Alisdair realizes whom he will be marrying to obtain his birthright (he had seen her earlier in the castle ruins of Gilmuir), he considers her to be somewhat of an empty being - certainly no one he would be attracted to. Iseabal accepts her marriage sensibly. Once she leaves the island with Alisdair, he informs her that he will obtain an annulment of their marriage once he reaches England. Of course, he will support her in some manner. He refuses to bed her - nothing will come between him and his determination to have the marriage annulled. He doesn't really care about the future he is forcing upon Iseabal or rather he doesn't really think about the ramifications upon her life his determined annulment will cause.
During the voyage to England, Alisdair begins to see beautiful qualities in his unwanted wife. Iseabal, in return, sees in Alisdair a man she could be happy with. Their relationship tenderly begins to evolve into something more than a forced marriage. Alisdair stays committed to the idea of the annulment but finds it harder and harder to find his reasons for it.
Alisdair is a nicely written hero with a capacity to love before the end of the book (we often don't get to see this in romance writing until the end of the book). He has all those hero like masculine attractions we want to see in a male lead. We discover he is a very considerate and understanding man. Iseabal eventually convinces us, as the readers, that she has a desirable personality and strength of character. Their relationship has some great moments but then the last half of the book falls into some sort of hole. I never regained my interest in the happenings once I passed the mid-point.
Magnus is a horrible villain - so awful that you cringe thinking about all of the despicable things he will do before the book ends. He is just too mean. Alisdair remains consistently likable and loyal throughout the story. Iseabal, however, sinks into some pretty ridiculous behavior that makes no sense during the last half of the book. I won't attempt to explain her convoluted thinking because I don't think we, as readers, can understand it.
The last third of the book found me skimming page after page as THE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING plays itself out. The book became predictable, hellish, and boring the closer it approached the end. Even the love scenes were boring in the good parts of the book. There were pages and pages of description of these sensual scenes that were so artistically yet vaguely described, that you totally lost track of when he had even kissed her. The sensual scenes rate about a 3.0 to a 3.5 out of 5.0 (see More About Me for rating guidelines).
This is not a book I will keep to read again. It had some great possibilities but got lost in subplots and secondary characters and THE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING. There was some great interaction between the leads that was highly enjoyable during the first half of the book. I was so disappointed in the last half of the book because the first half had been extremely promising,
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A Great Second Book For The Highland Lords!! 5 May 2002
By Kristi Ahlers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A great book full of emotion and history. Alisdair and Iseabal's story is very moving.
Iseabal has escaped a life of terror when she marries Alisdair. She is sold to him with his families land by her nasty father. Alisdar is not sure how a marriage will help him since his dream is to build the fastest boat on the high seas.
Together they find out how important love is to life. Alisdair has come to England to turn down the Earldom and return to Nova Scotia. While in England he finds out that he can do more for his family and his new wife at the same time follow his dreams if he accepts the Earldom. He does this and then heads back to Scotland his souls home and sets out to fulfill his dreams along side the most important person in the world to him his new wife Iseabal. But something happens before that tests both Alisdar and Iseabal.
Of course the path of true love has many bumps and twists and this story is no different. Set in both Scotand and England there is plenty of love and emotion in this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Superb Prose and Sensual Imagery 18 Dec. 2002
By M. Rondeau - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Book 2 of the Highland Lords takes us to the next generation of MacRae's and you will find it to be just as compelling as the first.
Sailing from his home in Nova Scotia, Alisdair MacRae, captain of the Fortitude and descendant of proud Scottish lairds, has sailed into the Loch below the ruins of Gilmuir once the stately home of clan MacRae. Alisdair's objective was to reclaim his birthright but the very odious Magnus Drummond has claimed the Gilmuir lands and will sell them back to the MacRae. Not only was he asking for a small fortune but he would also have the MacRae wed his daughter Iseabal. Not wanting a wife, but knowing this to be the only way to reclaim the land - Alisdair agrees thinking to annul the marriage as soon as possible.
Iseabal had lived a life in fear of the very cruel man she called father, being dutiful was her only way to avoid pain. Earlier, that day, Alisdair, not knowing who she was, had rescued her after she had fallen into a pit at the ruins of Gilmuir, therefore she was surprised to find that she would be married to this very tall and handsome stranger, Alisdair MacRae..
In the beginning Alisdair is portrayed as honorable - in that he cares for Iseabal's injuries, and her comfort - yet he doesn't - in the beginning - try to discover much about the very stoic and complex person that is his wife. He is quite kind to her, treating her injuries and she came to trust him and actually looked forward to performing her wifely duties only to discover, accidentally, that Alisdair would be and annulling their marriage. Iseabal, had grown up never able to voice her feelings in a household devoid of warmth, love and human kindness, but she had come to care for him so realizing that he would be repudiating her she hid her hurt behind the wall of silence she was so adept at keeping.
I loved the intense way this amazing love story comes together for these two people as once again, the author gives us interesting multi-dimensional characters, with strengths and flaws that made them all too human. Iseabal raised in fear and abuse with so much anger, so much pride and not enough trust. Alisdair was raised with love and honor - not seeking to change his life with a woman he had not sought but then finding that she was the woman he had always expected. This was a very moving story with fabulous sensual imagery, good historic background, very fast paced and with enough edge of your seat excitement to keep you interested.
You can always expect superb prose from this author who has yet to disappoint me.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
engaging Scottish historical romance 2 April 2002
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In 1775, Nova Scotia ship builder and sea captain Alisdair MacRae learns that Magnus Drummond absconded with his ancestral lands in Scotland when no MacRae claimed the property. Though he had no plans to even see the estate, Alisdair decides to reclaim what is his heritage. To regain the MacRae estate, Alisdair must buy it back from Magnus, but the stipulation includes marrying the laird's daughter Iseabal.

Alisdair does not want a wife, but accepts the terms. Iseabal sees Alisdair as her hero enabling her to escape from her abusive father. She knows he plans to dump her in London by annulling their vows, but instead of folding she campaigns to earn his love and more important his trust. As Alisdair and Iseabal fall in love, her father pulls one more dastardly deed that leaves the couple wondering can they entrust their soul with the person whom has their heart?

Fans of Scottish historical romances will enjoy the passion of the lead characters set in a richly textured eighteenth century Scotland. Iseabal is a wonderful protagonist while Alisdair is a reluctant hero in every sense of the word though he cares intensely about Iseabal's plight. The story line is typical of the sub-genre except that the historical depth enables the key duo to turn the pages into a compassionate reading experience. As with the first book of the Highland Lords ONE MAN'S LOVE, WHEN THE LAIRD RETURNS showcases Karen Ranney's ability to hook her fans into deeply feeling responsibility for what happens to her characters.

Harriet Klausner
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful story 17 May 2014
By Sandy Milan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At last a 5 star book after a long drought. I recently read a recommended Ranney (Till next we meet) and it encouraged me to comb through her older books again. I discovered this little gem and it made my day. I found it incredibly romantic and this author has a knack for making me feel what her characters feel. I'm not a huge fan of explicit sex in my historicals but I have no problems with the way Ms Ranney writes her love scenes. Our H is 'forced' into marrying the h because he wants a certain piece of his family's land and the h's father insists that marrying his daughter be part of that deal. He is determined to annul the marriage at the first opportunity but somehow the two begin their journey towards their hea.

I must state that the reason I didn't buy this book before now was because of some of the negative comments. I didn't find that the H's insistence on an annulment dragged on. Quite the opposite actually and so I was pleasantly surprised. I've now downloaded another 2 of the books in this series and look forward to reading them.
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