Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday Review: Destination Weddings

This week I read some books I’d been wanting to read but had put off in favor of other review books. It is no secret that I’m a fan of Monica McCarty because I’ve pretty sure I’ve blogged reviews for her at least twice, both in a heavily (but sincere) gushing fashion. Currently she is in the middle of writing a series of the Highland Guard, which is like Secret Ops set in the time of Robert the Bruce.

Typically I’m not a Navy SEAL or Special Ops fan; however, you put it in 1305 A.D. and I’m on it like white on rice. While the men are capable, gorgeous, and heroic, it’s the heroines I really adore. They’re true enough to their period to feel legitimate, but feisty enough for the average reader to enjoy following their story. I commend Ms. McCarty her ability to weave history with fiction where it feels real, possible, and informative. Plus the bits and pieces I do know of Robert the Bruce—I know she’s right about. She pleases my persnickety need for authentic detail. For you, she’ll please your need for hot and capable heroes, tortured by their tragic pasts, and a heroine worth rooting for.

The current book is THE SAINT, which features Magnus MacKay, one of the elite members of the Highland Guard that protects King Robert the Bruce. He is in love with his enemy’s fair daughter, Helen Sutherland, who is a healer and a darned good one. The book starts off a little rocky because Helen, who has loved Magnus for several years but they’ve had a fall out over a misunderstanding (of sorts) and pride (definitely pride), is marrying his best friend William (also in the guard.) William figures out they’re star-crossed lovers on his wedding day—and ends up having a firm talk with them both. Then before he can consummate the marriage, he and the other Guard members are called away on a secret mission. William dies.

And that is just the very beginning of the problems, my friend.

Dark secrets, guilt, vows, pride—all these very important things are keeping these two apart. Mostly because Magnus is a pigheaded ass hat, but he’s a wounded and sensitive soul, so he’s worth hanging in there for. Eventually they work it out. It has a satisfying ending…and the set up for the next in the series!

The second one I read this week was Jeannie Lin’s new book, MY FAIR CONCUBINE. I’ve loved her books since BUTTERFLY SWORDS, which was a Golden Heart winner, I believe; and I also loved her THE DRAGON AND THE PEARL book. Her books are compact but emotionally layered; her words carefully chosen, but her scenes filled with detail that makes me feel like I am in this ancient land she’s describing, feasting on rice and salted pork.

This one is a little like Pygmalion meets East. Our hero, a man who is trying to save the family name, Fei Long needs to come up with a “princess” to pass off as his sister for a peace marriage. His real sister, who was supposed to have been the princess, ran off with her true love—and when he tracked her down, he found he didn’t have the stomach to break them up and bring her back home. It is with some true desperation he comes up with the idea of a false princess—especially considering he plans to substitute a little tea house girl, one who has temper problems and no self control. However, being she was fired for throwing tea in his face, she doesn’t have a lot of options—so pretending to be a princess to a barbarian tribe (where they’ll treat her like a pampered princess) doesn’t sound like a bad step up in life.

Of course, in his bid to turn her into the woman of a man’s dreams, Fei Long ends up inadvertently making her the woman of his dreams. How is he going to save face, save the family name? What could he possibly have to offer her since he’s had to sell off basically everything that’s not been nailed down to pay off his father’s debts? He can’t afford a wife.

But damn she’s pretty.

And she’s having a similar issue. Even though she knows this is a step up for her—a leap really—she can’t help but wish she was going to be Fei Long’s. Still, how could he ever love a woman as lowly as she?

Oh, the angst, people! You have read these books for the angst! Your hearts will break and be mended whole again! Run, leap, skip to your nearest Amazon and find copies!


P. Kirby said...

Then before he can consummate the marriage, he and the other Guard members are called away on a secret mission. William dies.

Alas, poor William. Didn't anyone tell him you never-ever fall in love with the heroine UNLESS you are the hero? ;)

Maureen said...

I like the tea girl turned princess idea... Oh, yeah. That's gonna work!

I'm currently fixated on reading the Longmire books, so may be a while before I dip my toes back into historical...

And I'm off today on the first leg of the roadtrip to Denver!

TerriOsburn said...

You missed you're calling as a book seller. These sound amazing.

MsHellion said...

Pat--I don't think William got that memo, damnit. I'm pretty upset he didn't make it actually. He was a handsome guy--and I was rather looking forward to his book! He had a cool code name: TEMPLAR.

Mo--really? You're going to pick on the tea girl to princess as not "realistic"? *LOL* It's very lovely, but understand if you're already immersed in something.

Terri--booksellers don't make a lot of money either. Why is it all the jobs I'd be great at requires me to be broke? *LOL* But these books are amazing--and I bet you had more to read at Jury Duty. *LOL* (I'll have to read Rainshadow Road after you recommended it!)

JulieJustJulie said...

I finally have a conection ... internet ... and story plot line. Now I have a serious case of reader's envy. Gotta agree, These books do sound amazing.