Lord of the Isles (Warner Forever) Mass Market Paperback – 23 May 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
July 30, 2005
Amazon rating 4/5
LORD OF THE ISLES by Amanda Scott is a historical romance set in Scotland in the late 1300's. Lord Hector Reganoch, Lord of Lochbuie, finds himself out in a thunderstorm and goes to the home of Lord Macleod and his many daughters, seeking shelter. He meets the lovely Mariota, the second oldest daughter, and he falls in love with her. Unfortunately, when he asks to take her as his wife, Macleod tells Reganoch that he cannot allow this. Because of superstition, his oldest daughter must marry first.
Christina is not as fair as the lovely Mariota, and has not had many men attracted to her as Mariota has, but she would make a good wife. She is eighteen years old and is ready to start a family of her own. She already takes care of her father and her sisters, with the help of Lady Euphemia, her father's sister. But all this does nothing to impress Hector. He insists on marrying Mariota.
So, Macleod and the rest of the family (excluding Mariota, who has shown no interest in the man) help create a deception, and Hector ends up marrying Christina, while drunk. The two share the wedding bed that night, and by morning, Hector knows he cannot annul this marriage that he was tricked into. He still yearns for the beautiful Mariota, but does not know what to do now that he's legally married to the older sister.
Christina had fallen in love with Hector on first sight, but she feels that he will never love her, since he loves Mariota. But what Christina does not know is that Hector is slowly getting to know Christina and Mariota, and is realizing that there is a lot more to a marriage than staring at a very beautiful face. And while Christina is not as beautiful as her sister, he sees qualities in her that are deeper than mere beauty, and finds that he is falling in love with his wife.
Mariota in the meantime is now set on annulling her sister's marriage so she can marry Hector, a man she had no interest in until he married Christina. Obviously, she wants what she can't have. This is one crazy woman, as the reader will find out.
While it took me a while to get into the story, once the story was set up the novel started to pick up. The book was a lot of fun, and the author did a good job creating such diverse characters such as the various Macleod sisters. One thing I enjoy about historical romances is the backdrop, and the beauty of Scotland stands out. I would definitely read more of this series (I think this is a series). THE LORD OF THE ISLES is recommended to fans of historical romances with a bit of humor in them.
#1 - The story takes place in the 14th Century -- an era in which fans of historical fiction do not often get to read about... a fantastic time in Scottish history. This is a time when the kingship of Scotland was coming to the Stewarts, and Ms. Scott explains how that came to be. Fascinating stuff, considering there were older Celtic families still in the mix.
#2 - Her prose is that of a classic story-teller, and one that can be appreciated by fans of literature. The standard "romance" formula does not apply here, and that is really quite nice, considering that many people are very frustrated with the new "standardized" romance books.
#3 - Rich in history, but not so overdone that it bogs the story down. The characters' personalities come through and are well defined without long amounts of dialog or narrative. Pacing is perfect.
#4 - Excellent plots, mixing historical facts and events with the internal turmoil of the characters. Life is, for all of us, something to be experienced in good times and bad... consistency and change... and we grow from those experiences. The same is true of the characters and events in LORD OF THE ISLES - and it comes across quite well.
Let me boil this down... LORD OF THE ISLES is an easy, enjoyable read, but it also suspenseful, intriguing and exciting. It's a book you'll be glad you picked up.
At the wedding reception, Murdoch gets everyone drunk and substitutes Cristina as the bride. When Hector awakens in the morning and realizes who he married, he lives up to his nickname roaring annulment. Cristina stays calm and persuades him for their individual reputations they need to leave together. Not long afterward, he flirts outrageously with Mariota, but becomes irately jealous when he thinks his wife is seeing someone else because he loves Cristina who loved Hector even before she became his substitute bride.
Hector seems to have calmed down as if he is on Ritalin compared to the prequel (see HIGHLAND PRINCESS); still he remains a viable force that one does not mess with if they want to remain healthy. With that calling card, the duplicity of the superstitious Murdoch and Cristina's courage to face him make for a fine fourteenth century romance. Though Mariota is spoiled to the degree of a caricature and deserves her fate, fans will appreciate this tale of marriage starring the wrong bride.
However, in Lord of the Isles, I found her writing to be choppy and somewhat confusing, and the plot slow and tedious. But the worst part was Hector the hero who was a spoiled, arrogant, bossy, selfish, callus, insensitive beast! I lack the words to express just how distasteful he is as a hero. Christina, the heroine was the total opposite of Hector, nearly too much so. She was the oldest daughter of a passel of girls who lost their mother due to childbirth, so at eleven years of age Christina had to raise the children and assume responsibility for running the entire household. Hector wanted to marry Mariota, the second sister, because she was stunningly beautiful and his overwhelming desire for her is the origin of the tale, and all else flows from there. The entire story sees Hector spending his time running back and forth as an emissary for his brother, while panting after Mariota and degrading his wife the few hours he was at home. If any adverse event happened it was Christina's fault, and he did not mind telling her so in front of the entire household, Mariota included!
Scott does provide interesting secondary characters, which add some flavor to the tale, but
any action at all took place at the end of the book, during which Hector has an epiphany about what a pig he is and how much he loves his wife. To my dismay. just when the tale gets good, Scott suddenly ends the story without completely finishing it. For instance, what happened to Christina's father and did she resolve her conflict with him? I prefer to have the ends tied up when a story is over, particularly when the author uses such details to set the story. When this doesn't happen, it seems that somebody removed the last chapter of the book before passing it on.
The editing was fine in this book, except for the choppy sentences I mentioned earlier but the title seems inaccurate to me. Hector was not the Lord of the Isles. The tale was about Hector and his brother Lachlan providing security for the Lord of the Isles' visit to promote fealty from the clans of the Isles.
I suspect much of my dissatisfaction of this book is more about Hector than anything else and I will be watching to see if other readers feel the same. Amanda Scott would you marry this guy?
Here we have the story of Hector MacLean (twin brother to Lachlan of the previous tale) and his bride by trickery Christina MacLeod. Hector, while pursuing the affairs of the Lord of the Isles, takes shelter during a storm with the MacLeods. MacLeod has seven daughters, the second being the beautiful Mariota who immediately catches Hector's eye. Soon he is asking her father for her in marriage. He, however, has other ideas. First, he thinks his stunning daugher could aim far higher to profit the family and second, he is superstitious and believes his eldest daughter, Christina should marry first. So he appears to agree with Hector to marry Mariota, but deviously manages to hand him his eldest.
Christina, for her part, has nursed a yearning for Hector since first seeing him months ago. She is honestly reluctant to aid the deception, but puts up little real fight to her father's bullying exercise of authority.
Once Hector awakens the next morning, after falling into the bridal bed drunk, he is livid and all set to annul the marriage.
The story moves at a fair pace and keeps one interested to follow the developing attraction and relationship between the pair. A strong political plot underlies it and holds well.
Both main characters are well drawn and we get cameo appearances from Lachlan and Mairi. Christina's sister, Mariota, is revealed as a selfish shrew with a nasty turn of mind.
A good, solid read, strong in romance and adventure