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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read with great characters and hot sexy times., 16 Nov 2012
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The Demon Librarian (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Recruit: A Highland Guard Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
McCarty has been a hit or miss author for me. I persevere simply because when it's a hit, it really hits! This was a hit despite one or two niggling irritations. More on that in a second.

This book is the story of Kenneth Sutherland--a highland warrior already well on his way to becoming one of Bruce's phantoms, following in the footsteps of his late cousin. He's a charmer, a womaniser, too quick to anger, cocky and self-assured and absotively posilutely sure he will never, ever, not in a gajillion years, fall in love.

Pfft.

And then there's Mary--a widowed former child bride with a very sad back story. She was married off at a young age to a war hero who had no interest in her and who continued about his philandering ways right under her nose with nary a twitch of his conscience or a scrap of concern for her tender feelings. Ignored and unwanted, she lived a very lonely life. Her husband, when he was around, never saw her as an adult. Right up until the day he died when she was 23, he still thought of her as the nuisance child he'd been forced to wed. It was a loveless marriage (at least it was on his part), and to top it off, as was sometimes customary for noble children, her son was taken from her at 6 months of age to be brought up elsewhere. The pain of which Mary never emotionally recovered from.

(Side note: It's funny, actually, that there's been a bit of talk lately in the bookiverse about a 14 year old main character--Dani from Iced by Karen Marie Moning-- and whether or not it's acceptable or appropriate for her to have way-too-old potential love interests. It's a subject that sets off all sorts of alarm bells with some readers. Alarm bells that sound like they're saying hinky hinky hinky. I haven't read Iced myself yet, but I'm aware of the discussions on the topic all the same. And then I pick up this book and see that the character was married at 14. MARRIED! And impregnated! The mind surely boggles. But it just goes to show how very much times and perceptions change.)

At the time our two characters meet, Kenneth is competing in the Highland Games and is surrounded constantly by a bevy of brain dead beauties. He's in the middle of copulating with one such female when Mary stumbles upon him in the stables and is transfixed.

This has got to be a first for me--for the heroine to see the hero banging someone else! How would you ever get that image out of your head?

Anyway. After a bit of persuasion, he also gets Mary into his bed. Since she's never known passion in the bedroom, she is unable to resist, but is adamant it will mean nothing and will never be repeated. She just wants some of what the other woman seemed to be enjoying so much.

What follows this is quite a messy relationship full of secrets, mixed-messages and an inability to commit which was nonetheless engaging and enjoyable to read. Because I like angsty, emotional story lines. I found it hard to get past my initial perception of Kenneth's character for a long time (can you blame me after that intro?) and he didn't help matters by his insistence that men can do whatever they want when married but women must be dutiful and faithful! I know it's the time it was set in and therefore more realistic that I would like to accept, but it's still annoying and off-putting for a hero to be that much of a pig.

However, I'd 99% forgiven him by the end of the book (which was quite an achievement, believe me) and I enjoyed their ultimate love story, and that's definitely what it became. I liked the action scenes, parts of the history and politics, and most notably, Mary's transformation, both physically and emotionally, from the mere shell of a woman she was at the start of the book, to the confident beauty who'd won the heart of a man who swore he had none.

4 Stars ★★★★
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hogwarts, 6 Mar 2013
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Another excellent book.Well woven story.I love Monica's books she sets the scene so well you can see it in your minds eye as you read.They have the right amount of romance and sexual chemistry to grip you the whole way through and have you excited to read the next story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars loved reading this, 24 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Recruit: A Highland Guard Novel (Mass Market Paperback)
Arrived promptly, in good condition, reasonable price. This set of books is a really good read and I would unreservedly recommend the set to anyone who loves history and romance. The authoress has done her research and they all slot together perfectly. You need the entire set to appreciate the work that has gone into these books but they are so good you can't wait to read the next one. Just get them in the right order though so as not to confuse yourself. Absolutely loved reading them and was so sad when I got to the end
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5.0 out of 5 stars The recruit. The highland guard novel by Monica McCarty., 5 Jan 2014
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I love this book.I have read.them all.hope there is more to come .....all the best for the new year to you....julie.x
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must read series....., 31 Oct 2013
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I have been reading books ever since I got my 1st Kindle and I cant get enough of them.
This book took me into another world, would recommend to anyone, you get absorbed in the story.
You never know what is going to happen next, this series has you hooked so expect lots of late nights reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 6 Sep 2013
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Hot tempered main male character this time... again great story..a page turner as the other books from series...YOU JUST HAVE TO READ IT AND SEE FOR YOURSELF.
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5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic, 9 Aug 2013
I really loved this book. The author is amazing no two books have the same format. She is a brilliant writer,exciting sensual and she has deep strong characters. These books have it all. I can't get enough of them. She's a truly brilliant storyteller and knows what the modern woman wants from a book. Keep up the excellent work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a highland guard, 25 May 2013
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Monica McCarty is a fantastic righter I love this book and will get more if you like Scottish historical you will love this
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5.0 out of 5 stars really enjoyed, 4 Jan 2013
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the recruit is yet another good read for all you romance/highland lovers out there. as a writer myself i really enjoy Monica's work i have read this collection time and time again and i'm sure there will be many more times in the future.
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The Recruit: A Highland Guard Novel
The Recruit: A Highland Guard Novel by Monica McCarty (Mass Market Paperback - 20 Nov 2012)
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