Review – Seduction of a Highland Warrior by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Real men wear kilts.  It’s true, unless the kilt-wearing man is also wearing a t-shirt that says “real men wear kilts.”  Just saying.

Cover image, Seduction of a Highland Warrior by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

The blurb, courtesy of Goodreads:

At the King’s request, chieftain Alasdair MacDonald has sworn to preserve the peace in the Glen of Many Legends. Though he’s handsome and fearless, his warrior’s heart belongs only to his beloved land-until the fair sister of his oldest enemy shatters his defenses, branding his skin with a single touch, and sealing his fate with one stolen kiss . . .

Lady Marjory Mackintosh will do anything to unite the warring clans, even seduce Alasdair MacDonald. She has loved the rugged Highlander since she first saw him and now, as temptation leads to surrender, Marjory dares to possess him, body and soul. But a dangerous new menace enters the Glen, and he will stop at nothing to strip Alasdair of his honor-and the only woman who can claim his heart.

This book has magic, faeries, and a ghost romance (!!!), so my review is 100% biased.  I just want to get that out there.  I can’t dislike a book that has a ghost romance.  This book also has puppies (and y’all know that I go nutty for animal antics in romance novels), so… yeah.  My reading idiosyncrasies made me predisposed to forgive this book any of its errors (because love covers a multitude of sins).

On the whole, I think the book is actually pretty good.  I loved the tension between Alasdair and Marjory, and I was thrilled that Marjory was such a strong character (taking her life into her own hands, initiating each step of her relationship with Alasdair, etc.) without being obnoxious.  Alasdair is a well-drawn mix of duty and longing, and I enjoyed his journey from self-sacrifice to self-acceptance.  Of course, the story could have been completely awful and I still would have been on board with creepy amounts of glee and squee.

Did I mention that there are puppies?  Well, not only are there dogs of the young and the old variety, but there are also mentions of faerie dogs.  Faerie dogs!!!  Also, there is a big strapping man character named Grim who has as much enthusiasm for puppies and faerie dogs as I do.  I loved Grim.  He is a relatively minor secondary character, but he adds a lovely seasoning to the whole.  (I think it’s the gender role reversal bit that I liked best.)

Anyway, while I loved all the elements of magic, from a magical amber necklace to a gloriously creepy dream sequence, and how they provided a lovely and evocative backdrop against which Marjory and Alasdair’s romance is set, my favorite thing about the book was actually the way it is crafted.  There are all these little tendrils of story that seem, at first, a tad disjointed, but they draw you in nonetheless until you are ensnared in a story that is full of wonder, longing, hope, urgency, and fear.  The middle eighty percent of the novel is simply marvelous.

The beginning and ending of the book aren’t quite so strong.  I don’t think the beginning will bother anyone who has read the other books in this series, but I found it difficult at first to (1) figure out what was going on and (2) figure out who the characters are and why I should care about them.  In fact, I put the book down after about forty pages and read three other books before I picked it back up again.  I’m really glad I went back to the book: if I had endured just another ten pages, I would have read the book in one sitting.

With the ending, the trouble seems to be a strange case of anti-climax.  Welfonder does such an excellent job throughout the book introducing a menace both to the peace of the Glen and to the bodily safety of Marjory, but the resolution of those dangers takes place mostly off-screen (to mix my metaphors, a bit).

Take “The Prisoner,” for example.  If you smoke enough crack before you watch that show, Rover seems terrifying, largely because everyone on-screen reacts to it with fear.  Anyway, the show does a good job (ish) of making a giant balloon seem super menacing.  But what if all the characters onscreen were like, “Dude, this is a super scary moment in the show, because Rover could appear at any moment!” and another character from off-screen walked on and said, “Dude, don’t worry about Rover.  Turns out he was just a balloon, and I totally popped him with a sharp stick.  No worries!”  That’s kind of how I felt at the end of this book, except I liked it a hell of a lot more than “The Prisoner.”  After all, “The Prisoner” doesn’t have sexy Highlanders or faerie dogs.

Seduction of a Highland Warrior was released on January 29, 2013 as a paperback and e-book by Forever.  If you are interested in learning more about the book, click on the cover image above to visit the book’s page on Goodreads.  For more information about Sue-Ellen Welfonder, check out her website.

*FTC Disclosure – I received an e-galley of this book from Forever via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*