Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Review: Surrender and a Contest

Title: Surrender
Author: Pamela Clare
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: MacKinnon's Rangers/

Book 1

The British and French are at war in the North American colonies. The MacKinnon brothers who are Catholic and from Scotland, want no part of it. They simply want to farm their land and eventually go on to raise families. One day that changes and they are forced to fight not for France and the Catholics but for their enemy the British. If they refuse to fight it will mean death. Iain, the eldest, chooses life.

An ocean away in Scotland a young woman must also make a difficult choice. She is fighting for her life and chooses to take the arduous road to what she hopes is eventually freedom. Wrongly convicted, Lady Anne Burness Campbell is sent to the colonies as an indentured servant to fulfill her fourteen year indenture. It is here that she meets her fate in the form of Iain MacKinnon.

This first book of the MacKinnon Rangers series sets the tone for what is to be a stunning trip back in time to the late 1750's. When America was still a colony and wars were waged on her soil. Much like her book Ride the Fire, Clare holds nothing back in terms of the brutality of war. She doesn't shy away from the fact that innocent people are brutally killed by both sides. The life of a soldier and that of the frontier families is full of hardship and pain. But through these hardships bonds of trust and loyalty are built. The men who make up the group of Rangers in Surrender demonstrate such a vivid example of those bonds. Clare is able to bring these men to life and gives them such a strong presence in the story.

Iain MacKinnon. Just the name alone makes me sigh. Iain is certainly a sigh-worthy hero. He was born in Scotland and was exiled with his family when he was fifteen. He along with his parents and two younger brothers moved to the American colonies to start life over. Here he was taught the ways of the Muhheconneok Indians when he and his brothers were adopted into the tribe. Iain has such a strong sense of honor and loyalty. Even when he has difficult choices to make his loyalty and honor never waiver.

When Iain sees Anne running from Abenaki Indians he decides he must save her. His brothers, Morgan and Connor, try to talk him out of it. They tell him that he will be in serious trouble with his commanding officer, the same officer who has forced him to fight for the British. They also remind him of the mission they are on and how Iain's rescuing the woman could jeopardize the mission and put his men in harm's way. But he can't turn his back on her and leave her to certain death. So he orders his brothers and the Rangers to leave and risks his own life for that of a stranger.

"Curse me for a fool, but I cannae abandon her. This is of my choosin'. Leave me to it! I'll rendezvous wi' you if I can. Go! Now!" Iain waited until Connor had disappeared into the trees behind him, whispered his clan's motto.

"Audentes fortuna iuvat." Fortune assists the daring.

page 31

Lady Anne Burness Campbell may be a lady born but she is no frail, delicate miss. She is accustomed to the life of an aristocrat but when she is faced with hardships and difficulties she does her best to overcome them. In her own way she is a fierce fighter like Iain. She has her own loyalties and tries very hard to honor those loyalties. Annie Burns, the name she gives to Iain, is a heroine that is full of life and will scrape and claw her way out of danger because of the value she places on life. She also has secrets that she must guard or else jeopardize her shaky future. Even though her loyalties are to the British, as she comes to know the MacKinnons and the Rangers she realizes that there are two sides to every war. That the Rangers are honorable men whose friendships she values.

Iain and Annie's love story develops over time along with their learning to trust each other. First they must travel through hostile territory and get back to Fort Elizabeth. Then once at the fort they are confronted by Lord William Wentworth, commander of the fort and the man who forced Iain and his brothers to serve as Rangers. Wentworth is suspicious of Annie and her background. He decides he wants her for himself and causes no end of trouble for Iain and Annie.

As Iain comes to feel more than lust for Annie he still tries to hold back, thinking he has nothing to offer her until the war is over and he is free to live his life the way he wants to. But he can't seem to help himself when it comes to Annie. The sex scenes are beautifully written and hold such depth and passion along with some humor.

When they are making their way to Fort Elizabeth, Annie is able to take a few moments to bath quickly while Iain leaves to scout the area. She intends to only wash her feet but quickly changes her mind...

Eager to put it all behind her, she washed quickly, first her breasts and belly, then her arms and shoulders. The breeze raised bumps on her wet skin, but the cold water soothed her bruises. As dirt and mud and dried blood washed away, she began to feel like herself again.

“You’d tempt a saint, lass. But I am no’ a saint.”

Annie gasped and covered her breasts with her arms.

He stood not ten feet away, the butt of his rifle resting on the ground, his hand around the barrel, his gaze sliding blatantly over her.

“Y-you ought no’ be watchin’!”

“You ought no’ be naked.” pages 88-89

And when Iain can no longer hold back his passion, he does what he's been longing to do...

He ran his thumb over the fullness of her lower lip. "All I'm wonderin' today, mo leannan, is how I've gone so long wi' out doin' this."

Then he took her lips with his.

With a whimper, Annie gave herself up to his kiss, welcoming the sweet invasion of his tongue, melting into the hard wall of his chest. Heat licked through her, flared deep in her belly, leaving her weak, reckless, breathless. "Iain!"

He growled, took the kiss deeper, ravished her mouth, until her lips tingled and ached and there was nothing in her world but him. The sharp stubble of his beard. The hard curve of his shoulders. The spicy male scent of him.
pages 161-162

And there is also the "shaving scene". Not going to say more, don't want to spoil it. *grin*

The characters of Morgan and Connor, Iain's brothers, are well developed and exhibit that same sense of loyalty and honor that all the Rangers have. I think Iain, being the eldest of the brothers, has more of the natural leadership abilities than Morgan or Connor. Iain seems to understand that while not all decisions he makes as the leader will be the best choice for all he still needs to follow his conscious and is willing to take responsibility for any mistakes he might make.

The Rangers who appear on the pages are such a diverse group of men. Many but not all are from Scotland. They are loyal to a fault to Iain and his brothers and transfer that loyalty to Annie. There is also Captain Joseph who, along with his Stockbridge men, help the Rangers on their missions. Joseph is a Muhheconneok Indian and has been friends with the MacKinnon brothers for many years.

The book is full of action and passion. The action of war and all it's blood and glory. The passion Iain and Annie have for each other and for their beliefs and convictions. The story held my attention long after closing the book. I was fortunate to have Untamed, the next book in the series, to read after finishing Surrender. I can only hope we don't have to wait too long for Connor's story.

I first read Pamela Clare's romantic suspense novels and enjoyed them. I'm so glad I finally gave her historicals a try. It's obvious that she does a lot of research of not only the historical setting but of the type of people that were part of those historical events. Surrender is another exceptional read from Clare. The next book in the series, Untamed, is out now and is about Morgan MacKinnon. I would highly recommend any of Clare's work, both the romantic suspense and her wonderful historicals. You can find out more at Pamela Clare's website.

Rating: A

CONTEST ~ Today, December 2, is the birthday of a someone very special to me. So in honor of his birthday I'm having my first contest. I've got one brand-spanking new copy of Surrender up for grabs so if this sounds like a book you'd like to read leave a comment to this post before noon, Friday, December 5, 2008. I'll put all names in a hat and pick one winner. Due to postage costs this contest is limited to residents of the U.S and Canada. Check back here after noon on Friday for the winner's name. Good Luck!


  1. Hey Leslie, Your first contest! How exciting! I have only read Pamela Clare's romantic suspense books, but I really enjoyed them. Surrender sounds really good, count me in!

  2. Hi Leslie, the book sounds wonderful, its been a while since I read a historical set in the US, and I have NOT had the pleasure of reading Clare, so count me in too! Glad to be part of your first contest. :-)

  3. Oo, me WANT! Those were great blurbs from the book. Shaving scene? I'm in, say no more. :D

    Happy birthday to your special friend too!

  4. Jill ~ I started with her I-Team books then heard such great things about her historicals I had to read them.

    Hilcia ~ Thanks for stopping by. : ) I'm sure you'll enjoy Clare's books.

    KMont ~ Somehow it doesn't surprise me that the mention of the shaving scene got your attention. LOL

  5. Thanks for the contest! I love American set historicals and would love to read SURRENDER.

  6. Hi Karen ~ Clare does a wonderful job bringing the American colonies to life.

  7. She does do wonderfully wickedly good books doesn't she? And Untamed is just as wonderfully wickedly good!! Even a wee bit better I thought, than Surrender.

  8. Hi Kristie ~ just finished Untamed. Not sure if I'd say it's better than Surrender but it was damn good! Love her writing.

    I want Connor's book NOW. LOL And Joseph's too!
    I'm greedy ; )