Review: The Guardian by Margaret Mallory

The Guardian (Return of the Highlanders)Reviewer: Valerie

The Guardian by Margaret Mallory
Series: The Return of the Highlanders (#1)
Release Date: May, 2011
Publisher: Forever
Page Count: 440 pages (print)

Source: eBook provided by NetGalley for review

Blurb: 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.

Review: When the cover makes you swoon, what’s a girl to do??? READ! After the blurb definitely got my attention and I started reading, I fell hard for the characters in this book as I read and am so glad that there will be more books in the series.

One of the things I really loved about the sassy red-headed lass, Sìleas, is that she never gave up on her one true love, ever. She and Ian grew up in the same area and she often tagged along as he and his friends and cousins played. Time and again he would get her out of one mishap or another, until even he didn’t realize the impact it would have on their lives. Finding oneself sleeping under the stars with an impressionable unmarried girl is a no-no. Sìleas and Ian find themselves married in the blink of an eye so that her reputation is saved…

Fast forward to five years and Ian’s returning to a beautiful, bitter, lonely wife that ignores him yet she’s also the treasured daughter his parents never had and the sister his brother needed. To say Ian is confused is an understatement. I laughed when he realized the young girl he married had grown up in his absence and had other admirers. When his mom would mumble under her breath about men being thick skulled, I was chuckling with her. No matter how good his intentions, Ian is clumsy and continually puts his foot in his mouth anytime Sìleas is around him. This constant ring-around-the-rosy between these two characters was very entertaining.

Besides the tug-of-war happening between the supposed husband and wife, add in jealous suitors, naked maids, overprotective family members, interfering friends, and lots and lots of enemy clansmen from all around the region. Everyone seems to want Sìleas’ birthright, Knock Castle, including her husband. People get injured, killed, and betrayed as the power shifts between Ian’s cousin and his half-uncle throughout much of the story.

As well as having the area details and accents accurately portrayed, several customs and beliefs from the time are mentioned including women that have the power to heal and ghosts who make their intentions known. Will Sìleas and Ian ever come to an understanding and be happy? Who will ultimately become the head chieftain?

Advice: I couldn’t read it in one sitting due to other obligations so it goes back into my TBR pile!!! This is one book that I definitely want to read again in one sitting next time…quite possibly right before book two!

Quote: “Ian almost laughed. If he added Father Brian, he’d have a new foursome. But a one-legged man, a fifteen-year-old lad, and a priest were poor substitutes for experienced highland warriors in their prime.” from page 219.

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