Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Review: Sue-Ellen Welfonder’s DEVIL IN A KILT - Entertaining 1st in the Series

Set in 1325, at the time when Robert the Bruce ruled Scotland, this is Welfonder’s first book and the first in the Highland Warrior series. It tells the story of Laird Duncan MacKenzie of Kintail who is bitter, angry and surly because his first wife cheated on him with his half brother, a man who looks like his twin. The rumor is that Duncan murdered his first wife. He wants to know if his 6 year old son, Robbie, is his own or his half brother’s, so he decides to wed Linnet MacDonnell who he hears has the gift of “sight” that will reveal the truth about his son. Linnet’s father, a selfish drunkard who cares little for his last unmarried daughter, gives her to Duncan to redeem his own men captured in a raid on MacKenzie cattle.

Duncan wanted a docile, plain bride; instead Linnet is a feisty beauty with spectacular red hair. The night before they marry, the first time she meets Duncan, he tells her he wants only two things from their marriage: her gift and her care for Robbie—he has no intention to consummate the marriage. Linnet knows instantly Robbie is Duncan’s son, but she keeps it to herself, hoping her new husband can come to love the boy even without that knowledge.

For the most part it is well written, capturing the feel of the time and drawing you in from the first chapter. And there is lots of action even if it takes place in one castle. But there are negatives that kept me from giving it full marks: the improbability of Linnet having no idea if her husband consummated their marriage on their wedding night (please; at least he was drunk); and the introspection that at times went on far too long, even pages, which slowed the story. Still it’s a good tale and sets the stage for her MacKenzie series, so I can recommend it.

Welfonder said the story was inspired by her visit to the Eilean Donon castle (pictured on my blog). It’s my favorite Scottish castle so I had no trouble imagining the scenes almost all of which took place there.

Here are the books in the McKenzie Series, should you want to read more:

Devil In A Kilt (2001)
Bride Of The Beast (2003)
Only For A Knight (2005)
Until The Knight Comes (2006)
Bride for a Knight (2007)
Seducing a Scottish Bride (2009)
A Highlander’s Temptation (2009)

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