Review: The Trouble with Highlanders by Mary Wine

trouble with highlandersReview by Lynn Reynolds

The year is 1488.

Daphne MacLeod is having a really good dream about Norris Sutherland. Norris is having an interesting conversation with his father about Daphne. What I love about Mary’s book is that she has made Daphne an independent woman during the middle ages when women were to take care of a man’s every need.

Mary’s book shows how things are perceived back in the 1400’s as how women are supposed to behave and what is expected of them. She also shows how women can turn against other women when they are perceived as being beneath others. There is also social standing that comes into play.

Norris is a true romantic hero. He doesn’t care about anything other than the woman he wants. He doesn’t care if he is supposed to marry someone else in order to satisfy an obligation. But there is someone that just has other things in mind.

Sandra Fraser is the woman who would give the Wicked Witch of the West a run for her money. She would also be a perfect fit for any of today’s soap operas. I will say that I was keeping my fingers crossed that she would get what was coming to her.

If you have read any of Mary’s other books, you will also want to read this one as well. I hated to have to put the book down. If you have not read any of the other books in this particular series, don’t be afraid to go back and read the others. Mary will not disappoint you.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Trouble with Highlanders

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Get into Bed with Mary Wine (Author Interview)

trouble with highlandersKeira: As an author of 20+ works, what is your process? Do you have any tips for perseverance or obtaining a steady/growing word count?

Mary Wine: Hello Folks! It’s grand to be here! Thanks for having me over to blog. I’m really excited to have The Trouble with Highlanders making its way into your hands.

It’s a constant battle of good vs the evil distractions of the internet. Okay and chores and of course the parrot. It is my main job to hold and love the parrot. LOL. You know, like any job, you’ve got to be focused. There are going to be times you want to just sleep in or leave early or log onto Facebook and play silly games. But if you want to finish your book, you’d better strap your little tail into the pilot seat for the long haul. ‘How bad do you want it’ really fits. I keep a word count log and make myself stick to it. The other thing I keep is a log of other things I do. This helps me identify wasted time when I sat down in front of the TV or something else non-productive. It’s always surprising to me to discover where my hours are slipping away into.

Keira: What is your favorite reenactment? If you could travel back in time to the real deal, would you?

Mary: I love all time eras. I met my husband at a renaissance faire and we still go. He kisses the back of my hand and we dance period dances. I think he might just be going for the sword fighting…wink. I might travel back if I were in control. History is full of brutal realities from violence to bacteria. Would I love to sit in the court of Elizabeth the first and just watch? You bet! But I’d think twice about how to do it because it’s likely I’d be accused of being a spy. Still, wouldn’t it be something to visit Victorian England? Maybe join one of the cycling women’s groups for an afternoon. I would love to walk through the fabric market and watch a tailor at work.

Keira:  There’s trouble and then there’s The Trouble with Highlanders – explain the difference!

Mary: Trouble…in this case, a big, arrogant Highlander who has never had a woman walk away from him. This isn’t the first time Daphne McLeod has taken a hand in her fate. She hid in a convent to avoid her arranged marriage because it was causing two best friends to fight over her. She also let Norris seduce her so that Broen, her arranged marriage, might renounce her and marry the woman he truly loved. Daphne is her own woman and it was good for Norris to meet his match. The handsome brute just had it too easy with females if you ask me.

Keira: Either/Or: If you were kidnapped like Daphne MacLeod, the heroine, in The Trouble with Highlanders, would you prefer to be rescued by a Laird or a Lord? Why?

Mary: I’d bloody well take care of myself. I don’t drag myself to martial arts class five days a week for nothing. Don’t let the picture of me wearing a bustle fool ya. Just call me Mulan. 

Keira: Use this space to share anything you like!

Mary: I thought I’d show you the afore mentioned parrot…I mean ‘time sucking black hole’ but she seems to think she’s the office manager. Lol.

This is Ginger. She is an umbrella cockatoo. Ginger is about five months old and I’m the insane person who fell in love with her. She can employ an almost impossible tractor ‘cuteness’ beam that pulls all humans toward her. Once in your arms, she purrs and lets one cuddle her endlessly. This is all designed to make me forget that she throws her food all over the floor.

Thanks for having me over. You can find me on Facebook and Twitter!

Mary Wine

MaryWine.com

Buy: The Trouble with Highlanders

Illuminist Society Fact or Fiction?

ALadyCanNeverBeTooCuriousGuest blog by Mary Wine, author of A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious

Hello Everyone!

My newest baby…okay, book, is ‘A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious’. It’s my first Steam Punk Romance and it was a delight to write. What’s a Steam Punk? Are you hearing the gene but a little unsure if it’s for you? Well the short definition of Steam Punk is Victorian Sci-fi. ‘A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious’ is without a doubt a good historical read. What makes it a Steam Punk is a secret society which I call the Illuminist.

The Victorians did love their secret Orders and societies. The Masons, Eastern Star and a load of other societies began or flourished during these times. I’ve always loved historical costume and the recent rise of Steam Punk fashion got me to thinking about creating my own secret order. In this case, the Illuminist. They focus on science and learning but what makes them unique is that gender is not a reason to be denied membership. All that matters is if you have the intelligence to pass their entrance exam.

Of course, since we are talking about the Victorian world with all of its strict rules, this is a bit of an eyebrow raiser. In fact, the Illuminist do not mingle with the upper crust of society which makes it a real difficulty for my heroine to indulge her fascination with the order and its handsome head of security.

But as I said, this is a great Romance too. In spite of their attempts to resist one another, my hero and heroine are set to collide with one another. My heroine is finally discovering a place where she can be herself, without hiding behind the demure behavior the upper crust demands of young ladies.

I was asked if the Illuminist were real. No, they are a facet of my imagination. A journey into the realm of ‘What if’.  As much as I adore history, I am grateful to be living in a time when I can benefit from the struggles of my female ancestors. The right to vote, to sit on a jury, to serve in the Military, to have my own pay put into my hand and not my husbands. The right to bear witness in a court of law and to own land. To read the books I want to and of course, to write down the wild imaginings of my mind. I created the Illuminists as a place my sisters from ages gone by might have loved to have and in doing so, I’ve also given Steam Punk readers an excuse to wear more fun clothing.

Because it’s all about the clothing!

And the story!

Cheers! Stop by my FaceBook author page to see what I’m up to next. The follow up book will be coming your way in May of 2013 and it’s called ‘A Captain Can Never be too Bold’.

Mary Wine
MaryWine.com

Buy: A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious

What Drives a Highland Laird to Kidnap and Why Do We Read It?

HighlandersPrize

Guest Post by Mary Wine, author of The Highlander’s Prize

Good Morning Folks!

This isn’t the first time I’ve addressed the topic of kidnapping in romance novels. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite themes to read. Why? Well from the stand point of entertainment, I think we all love stories about someone rising above overwhelming odds. I just saw the Hunger Games and really enjoyed it but let’s face it, the story is really extreme.

From a historical stand point, possession was nine tenths of the law in these periods. Among nobles it was common to foster children with other nobles and that wasn’t always done because the parents thought the other family would do a good job of raising their children. Many people were summoned to Court simply so they could be kept watch over. Kidnapping, wasn’t the same sort that we think of today. In the case of history, it was more a situation of having a reluctant guest.

In ‘The Highlander’s Prize’ my heroine Clarrisa is already being used as a pawn. She’s in Scotland because her family sent her and the law gives them the right. That doesn’t mean she’s happy about being kidnapped but it is a relief at the time that my hero takes her away from her arranged marriage.

Today, we’re shocked by the idea of arranged matches but in times past, they were the best means of survival. If your family could make a deal with another family that had wealth, you took the intimate part of the marriage in stride because starving was a blunt reality in these times. If you married poorly, winter might just be your last season.

But that’s all beside the point. Really, we just love to indulge ourselves in a moment of knowing that some handsome hunk is interested only in us and that he’ll challenge anyone or thing to have us. That’s the draw in kidnapping stories. The hero so always noble and kind and hunky…and hunky, did I say that part? Kilts allow for a lot of hunk-ness admiring.

I hope you’ll all enjoy my little highlander tale. ‘The Highlander’s Prize’ is on sale now. Please come over to my FaceBook author page and like it.

Cheers!

Mary Wine

Marywine.com

Excerpt from The Highlander’s Prize

“Ye sleep like a babe. Unconcerned as though the world is a peaceful place. Maturity should have taught ye differently, but I suppose I can nae be expecting any royal offspring to know much about life’s harsher edges.”

Laird MacNicols was a giant. He was poised on his hunches, the edges of his plaid just brushing the ground. She gained a glimpse of his well-made boots with antler horn buttons running up their sides before he muttered something to Shaw in Gaelic.

Fear twisted through her because Shaw’s eyes were icy and she recalled clearly what the other Highlander wanted to do with her.

Shaw was leaning against a rock, his long sword cradled across his lap. “She’s the one, sure enough. The only other was wearing a wimple and well past her prime. Saw them both get out of that wagon meself. There were nae any other females.”

The laird had blue eyes—startling with how intense they were. His hair was fair but streaked with hints of red. It hung down to his shoulders, with a section of it braided to keep it out of his eyes. There was an uncivilized way about him that had nothing to do with the common clothing he wore. It was in his eyes and the corded muscles so clearly visible on his arms and legs. He was not a man who had others do his bidding.

But his sword was fine. The pommel was clearly visible beyond his left shoulder and the rising sun illuminated the gold hilt. A blue sapphire winked at her from where it was set into a crest that included a rampant lion—A noble creature, only men with noble blood could use such an animal on his belongings. It meant he was more than just a clan laird. He had blue blood flowing through his veins.

The sight sent her struggling away from him, but the fabric still bound her. His lips twitched up, amusement sparkling in his eyes.

“Now, why the hurry to place distance between us, Clarrisa of York? Did I nae see to yer comfort quite nicely?”

“Your man wants to slit my throat. Why wouldn’t I want to be away from you?.”

He shrugged. “Shaw believes it a necessary thing, since yer kin seem to think we need their troubles spreading here to Scotland.” His grin faded. “Something I am nae in favor of either.”

“Neither am I.”

Surprise flickered in his blue eyes. “The way I heard it, ye were fixing to wait on our king like some fat pasha from the Far East.”

There was thick disapproval in his tone and he stood up. He was dismissing her—condemning her, actually. She struggled and sat up in spite of the fabric binding her.

“You understand naught.” She sputtered. “It was a ruse, to delay him.”

He returned his dark blue gaze to her, but there was a slight mocking arch to one eyebrow now. “Well then, lass, I’m listening sure enough. Why do nae ye explain to me what ye’re doing in me country and with me king?”

Why was she begging?

Because she wanted to live.

Heat stung her cheeks because she was ashamed at just how easily she had been reduced to whimpering. It wasn’t the first time she’d had no one to depend upon except herself. She drew in a deep breath and tried to collect her courage.

“I was sent here by my family. The ruse enacted to gain me freedom from the tower room your king intended to use to breed me like a mare.” The sting in her cheeks doubled as she spoke. “So…you see…we desire the same thing.”

He bent his knees so he was able to scrutinize her once more on the same level. He had his share of arrogance but what surprised her was the amusement lurking in his eyes.

“Do we now?” He muttered softly. “I have to doubt ye on that, since ye turned to flee from me.”

“I couldn’t willingly go with you when one of your men wants to kill me.”

He shrugged again. There was enough light from the rising sun now to show her thick muscles bulging along his arms and chest. His lips parted and his teeth flashed at her when he grinned at her. “I told ye it would nae be happening and I am laird.” His expression hardened. “But ye are still the natural daughter of Edward the Fourth of England and might well be accomplished in the art of twisting words.”

“I am hardly the only child he is rumored to have fathered outside his marriage.” She struggled against the fabric binding her again, feeling too helpless by far caught in its folds.

“I hear Edward acknowledged ye, which means a great deal, considering how rare noble blood is becoming due to yer war of the roses.”

He reached out and grabbed the fabric beneath her chin. A moment later she was on her feet. Her feet shifted, her balance unsteady because her toes had gone numb sometime during the night.

“Henry Tudor has wed Elizabeth of York. The War of the Roses is finished now because York and Lancaster are united.” She explained.

“But Henry has nae had her crowned queen and ye are here, brought under cover of darkness to a lone tower where James of Scotland sneaks away to meet with ye. Now that is suspicious, lass, and no mistake. But it is also dangerous for me and my clan, for we have enough troubles without ye giving James a son with York blood. Ye tried to flee when I offered ye freedom, which means ye might well be intent on becoming a powerful Queen through yer son.”

“I told you why I tried to run.”

He chuckled, but it wasn’t a pleasant sound. “Am I to trust ye, then?” He stepped closer, maintaining a firm grip on the fabric to keep her in place. “Will ye offer to bathe me with yer delicate hands, Clarrisa? To show me how adept ye are at common chores? From what the young maid told me, ye claim to have more practice at polishing men’s weapons. Mind ye, I am no’ saying I would nae enjoy ye proving yer gratefulness in such a fashion.”

Her jaw dropped open but the sound that emerged was a snarl. Full of rage and frustration, she actually lowered her chin and tried to bite the hand securing her in front of him.

“I shall not! You’re a blackard to suggest such a thing.”

He laughed at her, jerking his hand away before she sunk her teeth into his flesh. She stumbled and would have landed on her backside, but someone caught her floundering body from behind and her face burned bright red as she listened to his men enjoy her shame. Someone yanked the length of wool off her and she spun around like a child playing in a spring meadow. When the last of the wool plaid fell away she was dizzy. Her captor gripped her wrists while she struggled to maintain her balance and wrapped a length of leather around them. He knotted the ends firmly before giving a satisfied grunt.

“I am Broen MacNicols and ye will be leaving, lass, but ye will be traveling with me to the Highlands where I can be sure ye are nae adding to the troubles in me country. Give me men any frustration and I’ll let them keep ye bundled like a babe.”

“Brute.” She accused. “Uncivilized… Highlander.”

Buy: The Highlander’s Prize

Review: Highland Hellcat by Mary Wine

by Mandy Dougherty, guest reviewer

OVERVIEW

A life of purity, simplicity and devotion was the life that young Brina Chattan has been raised to endure.  Promised to the church from birth Brina, the daughter of a noble Scottish laird, knows that the day is quickly approaching when she will leave the walls of Chattan Castle for the solitude of the abbey.   The middle daughter in this powerful family Brina is very different from her sisters.  Where Deidre and Kaie have been molded into females worthy of serving a husband and bearing a family, Brina has become accustomed to a path of independence and pride.  Strong-willed and determined to honor her father’s word to the church, Brina is a walking contradiction. Her feisty demeanor and lack of submission deem her a hellcat by highland standards.  How Brina will serve the life required of a nun is questionable to many, but she is strong in her determination to prove that she is capable.

As her time draws to a close at Chattan Castle, Brina is plagued with thoughts of life outside the walls. Her thoughts are at times devoid of the abbey altogether as she begins to ponder what the touch of a man would feel like and why so many woman fall to the whim of their desires. Her curiosity peeks when she witnesses her eldest sister, Deidre, riding from the castle walls to meet a midnight lover.  Is the desire so strong that it is worth taking such a risk?  Where the fates of the sister’s were written in stone just hours before, the actions of Deidre, have left the bond of their father’s word to Deidre’s promised husband, Connor Lindsey, dishonored and the destiny of the Chattan daughter’s in peril.

Connor Lindsey has known struggle and pain throughout his young life.  Once considered a bastard child with no claim to the Lindsey name, Connor is now the clans powerful laird.  He has come a long way from his time of shame and misfortune and is determined to never be made a fool again.  When he finds his promised wife, Deidre Chattan, in the arms of a sworn rival his future becomes uncertain.  Not wanting his offspring to suffer the constant need to prove their lineage and right to his kingdom, Connor sets out on a path to the Chattan lands.  Though he is sure that the stained Deidre will not be his to wed he is determined to hold Robert Chattan to his word.  Connor will have a pure Chattan daughter as his wife and he will stop at nothing to ensure it.

Whisked away from the life she has always known behind the walls of Chattan Castle, the pure Brina Chattan must face temptation and desires that she has never known.  Will her bond to her destined duty within the abbey hold strong or will fates tempt her in the form of the devilishly handsome Connor Lindsey?

REVIEW

Author, Mary Wine, creates an intriguing world set in the Scottish Highlands in the tale of Highland Hellcat.  A tale filled with the fancy flight of chivalry and laced with romantic suspense, Highland Hellcat is a terrific read.  The highland heroes are alluring and the heroine a strong-willed beauty.  It is a classic tale of the good girl falling for the temptations of the off limits, bad boy.  Connor Lindsey is a delectable character. With the power of being a laird and the strength of a Scottish highlander, what isn’t to swoon over?

The story not only holds page turning romance, but also a creative, well mastered secondary plot that takes the reader beyond the relationship brewing between Connor and Brina and into the troubles amidst the highlands themselves.  Though at times I found myself just wishing that Brina would cave to Connor’s demands, it was still nice to see her hold her ground in honor of her father’s commitment to the church. Really though, who could deny a lust filled man in a kilt forever?

Once again, this is a fantastic historical romance that will whisk you away to a simpler time when chivalry was not dead, warriors loved as hard as they battled, and your word was stronger than any parchment it was scrolled on.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Highland Hellcat

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