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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review: The Guardian by Margaret Mallory

Title: The Guardian
Author: Margaret Mallory
Series: The Return of the Highlanders, book 1
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Forever
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.
After years of fighting abroad, Ian MacDonald comes home to find his clan in peril. To save his kin, he must right the wrongs from his past . . . and claim the bride he's long resisted.
As a young lass, Sìleas depended on Ian to play her knight in shining armor. But when his rescue attempt compromised her virtue, Ian was forced to marry against his wishes. Five years later, Sìleas has grown from an awkward girl into an independent beauty who knows she deserves better than the reluctant husband who preferred war to his wife. Now this devilishly handsome Highlander is finally falling in love. He wants a second chance with Sìleas - and he won't take no for an answer”
The Guardian is the first book of The Return of the Highlanders Series by Margaret Mallory and it’s also my first book by this author.

Ian MacDonald has always taken care of the young girl Sìleas as if she were his own little sister. But Sìleas has never seen Ian as a brother, since ever she has been secretly in love with him.
When Sìleas learns her abusive stepfather is planning to marry her the following morning to his disgusting and deprave son, she escapes from her castle in the middle of the night. Soon after escaping, she crosses path with Ian who is returning to his home from Stirling. Ian listens to Sìleas accusations against her stepfather and promises to take her the following morning to his father and uncle who is the chieftain of their clan, they would be able to help her better than him. As it’s very late at night they decide to camp and sleep couple of hours before continuing with their journey. In the early hours of morning they are awaken by the sounds of horses. The riders are Ian’s father, uncle and others clansmen. When they see them sleeping together they ask who he is with, Ian tells them and explain the circumstances, but they tell Ian he has to marry Sìleas because he compromised Sìleas virtue at sleeping together. The last thing Ian wants is to marry her, Sìleas is just a feeble child of thirteen and Ian is a young man of nineteen who doesn’t feel any inclination towards her. But his pleas are not listen and he is force to marry her. Ian blames Sìleas for the situation and doesn’t want to be with her, he decides to leave Scotland the next day of his wedding and go with his best friends Alex, Connor and Duncan to France. Ian and Sìleas didn’t consummate their marriage.
Upon receiving notice from home of the disastrous Battle of Flodden these young men decide to return home after five years of absence.
In these five years, Ian hasn’t thought about Sìleas once and has lived as if he was not a married man. But now with his imminent return she is brought back to his mind, he is just waiting to arrive home to request an annulment of the marriage. But when he arrives home, things are not as they were. Their Chieftain has died in the battle in suspicious circumstances, his father was also seriously injured and Sìleas is not the same scrawny girl he left behind. She is a beautiful grownup woman who has help to keep his family together in his absence. And if he doesn’t want her, that is not a problem, half the male population of the town would kill to have her as a wife.

Sìleas is a great heroine; she is a very strong, lovable and determined girl. She has been psychical and emotional abused by her stepfather. Also she has been the laughingstock of the town for five years because “she wasn’t woman enough to keep her husband”. But any of these things have deterred her, she continue to walk with her head high and despite everything she still loves Ian. But now she is mature and values herself enough to know that if he wants her, he has to prove it and make up for everything she has suffered because of his actions.

Ian is a handsome, sexy and interesting character, who is also somehow naïve, he didn’t have a clue of how to win a woman’s heart and sometimes I wanted to hit him in the head and scream at him what was he thinking. He was so innocent that it was funny to watch. Ian is also a very loyal and caring friend.

Sìleas and Ian’s romance was believable, and well paced. It was very nice to see them discover their feelings and see how their love grew even more.

The supporting characters in this book are awesome. Ian friends Alex, Connor, and Duncan are all so very different, but they are great together. Connor is all serious and responsible, Alex is the womanizer with a very colorful personality and Duncan is the good hearted gloomy one. Their friendship is very valued and protected, almost as a brotherhood and I really liked them.
I also liked Ian’s little brother Niall, I love how he takes the man of the house roll. And how he loves and tries to protect Sìleas.

I love books about Highlanders and Mrs. Mallory delivered with The Guardian. It was a terrific read, with a nice pace, a good plot and rich characters that will make you fall in love with them. 
Each of Ian’s friends will have a book. The next book of the series The Sinner will be release in November 1, 2011. It’ll be Alex book and I can’t wait to read it. I’m dying to see which woman will be the brave one to tame him. I hope Niall gets his own book too. After everything he has done he deserves his HEA.

I recommend this book to all Highlander and historical romance lovers.

My Verdict: 4 Paws

Other books in the series
The Guardian
The Sinner (11/01/11)
The Warrior (05/01/12)
The Chieftain (11/01/12)

Other reviews Goodreads

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