Saturday, March 04, 2006

Taming the Scotsman by Kinley McGregor

After the way I enjoyed Born in Sin, I was really hoping to have the same reaction to Taming the Scotsman, the story of Ewan MacAllister.

Ewan has been blaming himself for his brother Kieran's death ever since he returned from his ill fated trip to England. You see, Ewan had run off to England with Isabel MacKaid, Kieran's love, and Kieran had left his possession on the banks of the loch and walked into it, never to be seen again, presumed drowned. Because Ewan blamed himself, he has made a promise to his dead brother that he will not allow himself pleasure, and he lives in a very well furnished cave overlooking the loch as a reminder. Even before this happened, Ewan was the quietest of the MacAllister brothers, not as good looking or charming and therefore left behind, always wanting approval from his parents, but not really ever receiving what he needed.

Into his cave comes Nora, niece to two kings who is about to be wed to a man who finds her extremely irritating, and who she knows she will be miserable with. Nora comes to Ewan as she has been told that he has the fiercest reputation in the land and that he will assist her in her quest to get to England to the sanctuary of her aunt's home. Of course, her timing is completely off, arriving as she does on the anniversary of his brother's death and she find him completely drunk and asleep naked!

He agrees to take her to his brother. Whilst Ewan is used to solitude and initially Nora's chattiness also drove him to distraction, but it is not long before he gets used to that and begins to value her. The fact that they are kidnapped by gypsy's, and then by others more dastardly certainly don't hurt. Whilst being held hostage by the gypsies, who were being paid to just delay Ewan, not to hurt either of them, the young gypsy girl Catarina teaches Nora a dance of love which she uses to great effect. Without giving too much away, it seems that there are some who believed that Nora and Ewan would make a perfect couple and have engineered it so that they would spend time together. There are others trying to stop Ewan from spending any time with Nora, and there are still others who want their revenge on the MacAllisters for the perceived slight. Of course, Nora should have realised that something was up when the two servants she bought with her left her alone with Ewan, in effect forcing her into a compromising situation.

In the end, this book was readable but nowhere near as enjoyable as Born in Sin. Whilst the author was trying very hard to make Ewan a very tortured hero, it seemed to be more sullen to me, and that he was wallowing in his self pity - an understandable self pity to a degree certainly, but still wallowing nonetheless.

The end of the book leaves space for more sequels, especially when it seems that Kieran may in fact not be dead after all, which would mean that that was a wasted two years of wallowing anyway!! Who knows, as far as I am aware that mystery has not yet been solved in any of the books of this series.

Rating 3.5/5

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