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Highland ChieftanHighland Chieftain (Murray Family #21) by  Hannah Howell

Release Date: September 27, 2016

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Synopsis:  The Murrays are back in this thrilling new tale from New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell . . .
 
Responsible for protecting her younger siblings from their abusive father, Bethoc Matheson is in no position to rescue another soul in Scotland. Yet when she sees a bleeding man on the verge of drowning, that’s exactly what she does, securing him safely in a cave where she can return day after day to tend to his wounds.
 
Sir Callum MacMillan can scarcely believe such a slight lass as Bethoc could save him from the grasp of death. But he knows the telltale marks of an angry fist on her skin, and he knows she has the soul of a fighter within her feminine frame. Raised to be a protector of the weak by his Murray clansman, Callum would prefer to be the one saving her—and save her, he will. If he can first survive the treacherous attack that led him into her irresistible arms . . .

Review:  I got this one from NetGalley and it has been more than 10 years since I have read a Hannah Howell romance.  This story progressed a bit slowly for my liking.  The plot concept was good and had potential, but I think the characters were not strong enough to move the plot along nicely and quickly. There were incongruities in the development of the relationship. If she came from such an abusive history, how could she trust him within a couple of days?  It went from them slowly getting to know each other to kissing passionately from one page to the next, and it just came off feeling hollow. When they came together there wasn’t any consideration for her on his part, “I’m going to take ye now, lass” and then, wam-bam-thank-you-ma’am. And she comes across as super naive, like 15 years of age naive though she is 21, she was just not well developed.  There wasn’t enough development between the two. She came across as weak at times. He was more interesting as a character but with his horrible past, I expected a harder edge to him and a harder time in trusting or opening up to her in the beginning of their relationship.  He had moments of potential but then his character would fall flat in other scenes. For example, he didn’t come across as intimidating at all when he showed up at the jail in his lordly clothing. He then just turned around and left her there. He could have been so much more intimidating and interesting in that scene.

Other than the characters, the villain was a bit flat at times. There was no one central conflict or bad guy but rather smaller conflicts that sometimes didn’t seem to move the story along well enough. Overall this one left me thinking about what I was going to read next and when I might be finished with this one. Coming from reading a Paula Quinn Scottish romance, A Highlander’s Christmas Kiss, this one just fell flat. The story was slow and the dialogue at times weakly constructed. I was disappointed. This didn’t stack up to a Paula Quinn, Monica McCarty, or Donna Grant romance.

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