Thursday, November 22, 2012

TBR Challenge Review: The Saint

The Saint
Monica McCarty
Historical Romance
Highland Guard/Book 5
Ballantine Books/March 27, 2012

Robert the Bruce consolidates lands and loyalty in a bold war for Scotland’s independence, as his elite team of warriors, the Highland Guard, fight for king, country . . . and love.

Magnus MacKay is the ultimate Highlander: tough, proud, able to master any terrain and to best his enemies. Called “the Saint” for his refusal to discuss women, as well as for his cool and steady leadership, Magnus hides a painful truth. It isn’t virtue or piety that keeps him silent, but a wound of love and loss that cuts so deep he cannot bear to speak of it. But when the woman who refused him is betrothed to his friend and fellow Guardsman, Magnus is tested by love’s battle cry.
A wild and innocent beauty, Helen chose family duty over her desire for Magnus. Now the anger in his eyes mirrors the tormented regret in her heart. But as deadly subterfuge stalks the King and his Guard, Helen vows to right her youthful mistakes with a woman’s determined spirit. Still, Magnus harbors secrets and an iron will not to weaken to temptation—or heartache—again. But as danger looms, it’s the kiss not of a saint, but of a sinner, that can save them.

In case you've notice, the blog has been very quiet lately.  I've tried to write a post about what has kept me from blogging but it's a difficult post to write.  So when I realized the TBR Challenge was coming up, I thought I'd try getting back into blogging with the familiar.  This book hasn't been on my TBR pile for very long but it's a series that I've enjoyed in the past and Ms. McCarty is a gifted writer. 

This is a favorite series of mine.  I love the time period as well as the premise of a group of secret military warriors with wicked weapons and espionage skills.   Such is the case with Magnus MacKay.  

Magnus has been fighting with the Guard for many years.  He keeps his private life private so none of the men know of Magnus' lost love, Lady Helen.  It's after they are reunited that Magnus realizes his feelings for Helen are just as strong as they were years ago.  But he can't have her since she belongs to another.  It's a very touching romance with Magnus and Helen at a distance of both the physical and the emotional.   I totally understood why Magnus tried to keep his distance - he was trying to be loyal to his best friend.  Helen realizes she made the wrong choice and wants to correct her mistake but she doesn't take into account one of Magnus best traits, his loyalty.  It felt like Helen pushed the issue too often and expected the past to be forgotten all while a war is being waged.  

The women in this series are strong, intelligent and conform to the expectations of the time period all the while trying to break free of those expectations.  It's an interesting illusion the heroines create.  The men of the series are all real heroes - meaning they are brave, loyal, intelligent and flawed.  They're also very different from each other, enough that it makes it easy to differentiate one from the other.  

The Saint is another solid addition to the Highland Guard series.  I do wish there had been more time spent on the relationship of Magnus and Helen with fewer big conflicts and hurdles for them to overcome.  Everything seemed to resolve itself rather quickly and neatly.   

Rating: B

Highland Guard Series ~

The Chief
The Hawk
The Ranger
The Viper
The Saint
The Recruit
The Hunter (June 25, 2013)