Yesterday, I took a look back at Tristan MacGregor, one of my favorite heroes created by the very talented Paula Quinn. Today, let's jump forward in time to Quinn's newest novel, Laird of the Black Isle. In this book, we meet Tristan's beloved daughter, Mailie and Lachlan MacKenzie, the emotionally tortured hero who abducts her from her family only to, eventually, hand her his heart...and win hers in return. I've read their story twice and am already looking forward to visiting these characters again.
Laird of the Black Isle
By Paula Quinn
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Reviewed by PJ
Lachlan MacKenzie, Laird of the Black Isle, may still draw breath but his life as he knew it ended two years ago with the deaths of his wife and young daughter. Their murders sent him on a rampage and when he found their hired killers he showed no mercy. But satisfaction was fleeting, leaving a hollow, scarred shell of the man he once was. He's become a recluse, quietly and anonymously seeing to the needs of his clan but holding himself apart, not allowing any of them to get close to him. Then comes an emissary of Ranald Sinclair, Earl of Caithness with incredible news: Annabel, his daughter, lives and all Lachlan has to do to be reunited with her is to abduct the earl's beloved, bring her to Black Isle and wait for word from the earl. Lachlan is an honorable man but he's also a father desperate to believe in the possibility of a miracle. He knows abducting Mairie MacGregor is wrong and he regrets his actions almost immediately but he'd do anything for the return of his precious child.
Mairie MacGregor is no timid lass and she is not Ranald Sinclair's beloved, facts she makes abundantly clear to the beast who has kidnapped her. If he refuses to release her she'll make sure he wishes he had. Lachlan craves quiet and solitude. Mairie talks his ear off. He lives in darkness. She floods his home with light. He resists interacting with the villagers. She brings two young orphans home to live with him. At first, her actions are designed to annoy but once she discovers the reason for her abduction, Mairie, who has always known the love and support of her family, opens her heart to his dilemma and begins searching for solutions. As Mairie and the children work their magic, Lachlan's emotional shields begin to lower, allowing glimpses of the kind, loving man beneath the pain, anguish, and desperation. And slowly, so very slowly, she begins to pull him back into the light, back into life, into the first, fragile tendrils of love.
"I slept well." He smiled back. He looked happy and it made her heart soar. "And 'tis...ehm...'tis nice to wake up and see ye."
"That was difficult to say," she teased.
"I am not eloquent," he told her on a throaty growl as she came close. And then closer still.
"Nae, and I like it. 'The less there is of eloquence' " - she said, quoting "The Sleeping Beauty" - " 'the more there is of love.' "
He blinked, looking lost and utterly adorable. She'd let him think about it.
Mairie is confident her family will find her eventually but by the time they do will she still want to leave or will Lachlan, Will and Lily have captured her heart completely? And what of Sinclair? The man is pure evil and, judging by his past deeds, there's a good chance he's lying about Annabel in order to get to Mairie. She's terrified by the prospect of what he will do to her if he has her in his control but if there's even a shred of possibility that Lachlan's daughter lives, how can she not sacrifice her own freedom if it will bring Annabel home?
I loved this book so much. From beginning to end, it grabbed my heart and never let go. I wasn't sure if Quinn would ever create a hero who could rival Tristan, Mairie's father, in my affections. It seems fitting that Lachlan MacKenzie, the man who gives his heart to Tristan's beloved daughter, should also be the hero to equal Tristan in mine. I loved the push and pull between him and Mairie, the snappy banter, the reluctant attraction, and the fact that even when she pushes him to his limits he never snaps but always treats her with care. As with Quinn's previous books, there's a fair amount of humor in this story as well as heartfelt emotion. The poignancy of Lachlan's interactions with the orphaned Will and Lily in the face of his own losses brought me to tears more than once. Mairie is a wonderful heroine and exactly what I would expect of Tristan and Isobel's daughter. Her confidence, compassion, intelligence, humor, bravery, and fierce protectiveness of those she holds in her heart make her a true MacGregor and a perfect match for Lachlan. I loved them, both individually and as a couple.
Laird of the Black Isle stands well on its own though, as someone who has read all of the books in this series, it was a special treat to see MacGregors from previous books make appearances in this book. I especially enjoyed the father-daughter scenes between Tristan and Mairie (the older Tristan is still as sigh-worthy as when he won Isobel's heart) as well as those between Lachlan and the MacGregor men. The resolution of the villain's storyline was quite satisfying (I may have cheered) and the twist at the end was a lovely surprise. Also, the more I see of Mailie's cousin, Adam the more excited I become for his book, Highlander Ever After, due to be released December 18, 2018. It's my understanding that this will be the last book in this long-running series. I think it may be time for a series re-read. These characters are among my favorites, their journeys well worth the taking, and while I'm sad that there will be no new MacGregors on the horizon, I'm looking forward to whatever Paula Quinn has in store for readers next.
Do you enjoy a multi-book series?
How do you feel about a multi-generational family series?
What's the last family-centric series that captured your heart?
Are you going to miss the MacGregors as much as I am?
One randomly chosen person who leaves a comment before 11:00 PM, May 27, 2018 will receive a Kindle copy of Seduced by a Highlander (Tristan's and Isobel's story) and Laird of the Black Isle (Lachlan's and Mailie's story).