Thursday, December 19, 2013

New Review: Pamela Clare’s SURRENDER – 1st in the MacKinnon Rangers trilogy is Wonderful—Scots in America!

SURRENDER is the first in the MacKinnon Brothers trilogy (UNTAMED and DEFIANT follow). In this well researched romance set in America in the 1750s, the MacKinnon family, Catholic Jacobites, have immigrated to the colony of New York following Scotland's defeat at Culloden. The three boys, then on the verge of manhood, are raised on the frontier and become blood brothers with the Mahican Indians who teach them how to survive in the wilderness. When the story opens they are now young men.

The oldest, Iain MacKinnon, at 28 is a handsome man who has great character and integrity. He and his brothers, Morgan and Connor, are trying to be successful farmers and frontiersmen. A British commander and member of the nobility related to King George happens to witness an example of the brothers' skill with weapons and decides he must have them on his side in his war against the French. Using a lie that Iain murdered a man, he forces him to serve the Crown under penalty of death and his brothers insist on coming with him.

Though they hate the British, they agree to become Rangers, non-uniformed British soldiers, known for their fierce and non-traditional fighting abilities. Iain becomes the commander, now Major MacKinnon. While on patrol and in direct violation of orders, Iain saves a young woman, Annie, about to be raped and killed by the Abenaki indians, who are aligned with the French. Annie is not an ordinary cotter living on the frontier as she claims. She is an indentured servant and former noblewoman from England who chose exile when falsely accused of being a thief by her perverted uncle who wanted her for his own purposes. Annie is beautiful and coveted by both the Rangers and the senior British officer but she has eyes only for Iain.

Clare has created wonderful characters and woven them into a detailed tapestry of early American life on the frontier with its hardships, threats of Indian attacks and conflicting loyalties. Annie and Iain are worthy characters: Iain is handsome, noble, loyal, a capable warrior and a leader of men who love and admire him; Annie is beautiful, intelligent, strong, resourceful and virtuous. And though each is trying to do the right thing, they cannot resist the explosive chemistry that exists whenever they are together. Iain tries to send her away for her safety and so he will not be tempted, but he is not successful, and Annie, who doesn't want to leave for fear of discovery, wants to be with Iain. The action is non-stop and will keep you up reading late at night.

I liked the unique setting and enjoyed the relationship between the various Indians and the English and French. It's a beautiful part of the country and an interesting period in history where we can see the contribution of the legendary Highlanders who became a part of America. Clare describes it well. Well worth the read!

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