I'm one of the publishers of All About Romance. I love reading romance, as well as mysteries, fantasy, history and historical fiction, and all kinds of other things. Staying on Goodreads for now but trying this out in case I decide to switch.
It's frustrating to read a book which could have been good, but isn't. That's exactly how I felt as I read The Highlander's Desire. The 18th century Scottish setting had potential - goodness knows this was a time of high drama in Scotland. The Cinderella aspect of the story had potential as well. After all, who wouldn't want to root for the lady wrongfully denied her heritage? However, this book couldn't seem to decide whether it wanted to be a dramatic historical or a fairytale taking place in some sort of land beyond time. As a result, it succeeds at neither.
In the prologue, we learn about the basis for the hero's jaded attitude toward marriage as well as his hatred for a rival clan. Fair enough. Jump forward two years and now jaded hero has set his sights on traveling to Kilgorra to make a political marriage. By marrying the laird's daughter Catriona, Lachann MacMillan will be able to protect his own lands from attack by sea. Given that this book takes place in 1720, a time of some turmoil in Scotland, one would expect to hear mention of Jacobites and tensions with the English, but there was far more talk of Norsemen, which I found a little surprising for this time period. It doesn't matter too much in the end, though. While we get the occasional snippet of historical background, Kilgorra often ends up seeming like a fantasy land out of time, with the characters living in a self-contained little world.
At any rate, Lachann gets to Kilgorra a day early and in addition to surprising his hosts, finds himself surprised to see a rival clan leader there before him. It appears that Lachann will have some competition for Catriona's hand. Unlike his rival, Lachann starts immediately getting the lay of the land and winning the respect of the villagers, as well as finding himself quite taken by a servant girl named Anna. Unbeknownst to Lachann, Anna is actually the laird's stepddaughter. It seems that the laird was so overtaken by his second wife's death that he just sat back and allowed his daughter to abuse the heck out of Anna and turn her into something of a servant. Luckily for Anna, she had a devoted maid or two looking out for her. Oh, and animals seem to like her, too. Cinderella plot, anyone?
This is a partial review. You can find the complete text at All About Romance: http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=9707