This was the first of the MacDonell Brides trilogy but I read it last, proving that it was a completely stand-alone novel as were book #2, MY DEVILISH SCOTSMAN and book #3, MY SHADOW WARRIOR, and it also proved to be just as exciting, enthralling and captivating as it's counterparts.
Set in Scotland in the latter part of the 16th century amidst the frenzy of finding and burning witches during its height, Sir Philip Kilpatrick was sent on mission to England to escort back to Scotland the eldest daughter of his good friend and foster father, Alan MacDonnell. Her father whose wife, had been burned at the stake for witchcraft had for his daughters safety's sake sent Isobel, away twelve years ago. Now at the age of 24, he had arranged for her marriage to the Earl of Kincreag, and sent his trusted friend to fetch her home to her betrothed. Isobel, a witch herself, while thrilled to be going home to be reunited with her father and sisters, had for the most part been left to do as she pleased and become indignant at the constraints Sir Philip imposed on her movements.
Had it not been for the love and close friendship Sir Philip felt for her father, he would not have subjected himself to fetching what he imagined was the spoiled daughter of his friend. A man of honor, Philip was determined to keep Isobel safe as they traveled a dangerous path through a land filled with fear and suspicion as Isobel would innocently use her powers of insight to help strangers along the way, endangering not only herself but her companions as well. Sensing the torment of Philip Isobel became determined to use her magic in solving the mystery that tortured his soul, and he soon found that he was reluctant to deliver the `little witch' to another man, as she had completely charmed her way into his heart.
*** I found this to be as breathtakingly exciting as the other two books in the trilogy. Isobel is both an original and refreshing heroine, crafted as both strong yet innocently trusting and needy. Philip was the ideal hero - handsome, strong, capable, yet having that tortured background and needing that one person (Isobel) with the ability to free him from his torments. Hollings fills the tale with a plethora of strong and significant secondary characters to give the story rich historical details, and sprinkles in a strong flavor of paranormal fantasy to give it even more spice. The romance is very sensual as both the protagonists fight their feelings in not bringing dishonor to themselves or their families by giving in to the intensity of their attraction. This latest trilogy is surely one that will capture your imagination amidst exciting tales of magic, adventure, betrayals, and passionate love stories that will live in the reader's minds long after the final pages are turned. --- Marilyn, for www.romancedesigns.com ---