A Guest Review by Andrea
Review Summary: A really good historical novella.
Farm lad Iain Munro knows his love affair with Tavish MacIntyre, future Laird of Creachann-Dubh, is dangerous—discovery could mean disgrace and death. But they’ve been in love since they were boys, and they’ve never been able to resist each other, dishonorable though it is to deceive their families.
Young men now, their sexual explorations have deepened and their love for each other has strengthened. But Iain’s father fears for his eldest son’s future, and Tavish faces dangers and duties of his own: his demanding mother would see him respectably wed, and his interfering sister knows too much—and has schemes of her own.
Facing a lifetime apart, Iain and Tavish must leave their childhoods behind for good as they choose between honor and love, innocence and happiness, and their vows before God and to each other.
I love a nice, lengthy historical novel. I was really drawn to this book after seeing the blurb, but I was still a little worried the author wouldn’t be able to pull me in with a novella.
What made it work for me was that the author never used a bunch of facts or history to immerse the reader in the time period. The vernacular used in the dialogue went a long way in getting me comfortable with the historical setting. I appreciated that the location and time period was shown through the conversations and actions rather than told through an info dump of history. It made for a much more comfortable read and one which will appeal to a wider audience.
The time saved by not expanding on the historical side of the story was spent building up the characters. I thought that was a very smart move. It allows the reader to better connect with Iain and Tavish. I understood the struggle Iain felt over their relationship. He was torn on how to proceed. He loved Tavish, but was it enough to justify the lies and deceit they were forced to commit in order to be together? He also feared for both of their futures. In his mind, if there was no hope for a future together, was it really worth dishonoring themselves? Tavish had the same fears, but he had a much more casual acceptance of them. He was more worried about the expectations placed on him due to his position as the future Laird and how he was going to make a place for Iain in his life. Their differing mindsets and outlooks complemented each other really well and made for a compelling romance.
I rated it a 4, so I obviously had a couple things holding me back. The first being that I thought it was very predictable. I knew how everything was going to play out fairly early on. I still enjoyed the story though, so it wasn’t too much of a negative. The next issue was more difficult to accept. The chapters jump back and forth between current events and the past throughout the book until the two finally merge. It wasn’t always an easy transition for me to make, so it would take a couple paragraphs for me to figure out if it was past or present. While it worked really well within the story, I found it disconcerting at times. I did eventually realize that the chapters each had a heading and the flashbacks are labeled interlude. That would have clued me in if I had noticed it earlier. All I can say in my defense is that the font and placement of the heading never drew my attention and, at least in my opinion, were easily missed. That’s my tip of the day… pay attention to the chapter heading if you choose to read this book. 🙂
If you’re looking for a quick read, with a very good romance, then The Laird’s Forbidden Lover would be an excellent choice.