The Sinner by Margaret Mallory
Grand Central Publising (Nov. 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
Favorite Lines: “A pinch earns a man either a slap or a wink, and ye gave me neither.” (p. 26, egalley)
THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS: BOOK 2
Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can’t prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.
Alex MacDonald is known for his skill as a warrior, his prowess with women, and his vow to never take a wife. But now his chieftain has asked him to make the ultimate sacrifice: wed Glynis MacNeil, a lass famed throughout the Highlands for her exquisite beauty-and defiant ways.
Familiar with heartbreak, Glynis refuses to fall for another handsome scoundrel. Yet when Alex’s past sins force an unlikely union, Glynis gives in to temptation and becomes his wife. Will their newfound passion be strong enough to fight the enemy that threatens their home, their clan, and their very lives?
Book two in Margaret Mallory‘s Return of the Highlander series can be read as a stand alone; that’s how I read it. Having done so, I can’t wait to read the first book, The Guardian, as well as the final two books: The Warrior and The Chieftain.
The Sinner is a historical romance which involves Scottish highlanders and pirates. Not something I normally mix, but Mallory makes it work. For the most part the story takes place on land, but there’s a small portion which takes place in the pirate’s domain.
The story introduces the completely unrepentant, womanizing Alex MacDonald, a man known for sexin’ up every woman he meets. He and his three friends (two of which are his cousins) have returned to Scotland after warring in France to find themselves in a sticky situation. As usual there are issues between people fighting for the Scottish throne. In order to survive they will need to remain neutral, but that’s not easy. So tricky highlanders that they are, they hatch a plan which involves schmoozing with players on both side of the issue. Alex is sent to meet with MacNeil family and if he happens to marry a MacNeil, all the better.
Enter Glynis, a MacNeil daughter. She walked away from her marriage and her father is ready to marry her off. She’ll have nothing to do with entering another marriage and manages to out smart each potential suitor. She doesn’t have to work hard to keep Alex away. He is not husband material despite her father’s opinion otherwise. The two quickly form a friendship which leads to much more.
Formed by their families and in spite of their families, only together will Alex and Glynis find hope and love.
The Sinner is filled with passion and action. It’s a quick and enchanting read that isn’t challenging, but managed to worm its way into my heart. It was clear who the villains and villainess were for the most part, although I must admit to one scene involving a Frenchman that threw me for a second. Paired with the historical setting it makes sense, but I wasn’t expecting it. I see myself rereading the book yearly. Why? Because Mallory showed me a side of Alex which made him a worthy hero and I loved the plucky heroine.
What others are saying about The Sinner: