The Warrior by Margaret Mallory
Grand Central Publishing (Oct. 30, 2012)
Mass market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
Favorite Lines: “Moira lied instinctively to protect her son, but she did not regret it. Duncan did not deserve the truth. After living with Sean, Ragnall was hungry for a man he could look up to. He would take to this big man who had a quiet strength and the fighting skills of the warrior of legend. She would never give Duncan the power to disappoint Ragnall as he had her.” (p. 81, e-galley)
From the Isle of Skye to the battlefields of France, Duncan MacDonald has never escaped the memory of the true love he left behind. Deemed unworthy of a chieftain’s daughter, Duncan abandoned the lovely Moira to prove his worth in battle. Now, when called upon to rescue her from a rival clan, one thing is certain: Moira’s pull on his heart is stronger than ever.
Bartered away in marriage to a violent man, Moira will do anything to ensure she and her son survive. When a rugged warrior arrives to save her, the desperate beauty thinks her prayers have been answered-until she realizes it’s Duncan. The man who once broke her heart is now her only hope. Moira vows never again to give herself-or reveal her secrets-to the fierce warrior, but as they race across the sea, danger and desire draw them ever closer.
Combine Scottish highlanders and the high seas and you’ve got the men who make up Margaret Mallory‘s Return of the Highlanders series. The Warrior is book three out of the four which make up the series. I’ve read every book so far and each can be read as a stand alone. So far I’ve found each book to give just enough information about the next book’s hero to entice me to read it.
The Warrior follows the Chieftain Connor’s best friend Duncan as he finds love with Connor’s sister, Moira. The two were lovers before Moira’s father split them up and their reunion will reignite the passion of the past. As the former lovers learn to trust one another and discover the truth about their separation, outside forces threaten to ruin their entire clan.
Duncan is a steadfast man who would never betray his friends and family, so it really bothered me that the woman he loved didn’t see those characteristics in him. Moira lusted after him, but didn’t trust him enough to tell him her secret. When given the opportunity she lied. It made me think less of her. Everyone remembered her as a spoiled little princess and she lived up to that label by being self-absorbed. Had she removed the blinders from her own face and chosen to believe in Duncan’s trustworthiness I would have rooted for her happiness. As it was, I wanted Duncan happy and since he wanted her…I accepted it.
Family is a running theme in the book. There are the relationships between parents and children, siblings and lovers being explored. Some were doomed before they began. Others are just beginning. All have an impact on building the different people introduced in the story.
Unlike The Sinner, most of the moments that stick with me from The Warrior take place on land. Like when Moira and Duncan physically reunite, when Duncan figures out Moira’s big secret and when Moira sees her family again, all of it is on land. Don’t get me wrong. There was a lot of movement during the story which is when water and boats came into play. From Scotland to Ireland to different locations around Scotland, The Warrior traveled with the characters all over the place. It helped keep the story moving by showing what was taking place in multiple locations and by physically moving the characters to the beat of the plot.
Despite being rather predictable, The Warrior was a nice historical romance. I didn’t love it, but it was above average. I’ll be reading the concluding book, The Chieftain, when it is released in February 2013.