Connor, chieftain of the MacDonalds of Sleat, holds the fate of his people in his hands. Rival clans are plotting to take over his lands, and duty determines whom he will fight, trust . . . even marry. Seeking guidance, Connor turns to Ilysa, a young lass with the gift of foresight, who reveals an approaching danger-and a passion that burns only for him. But the warrior must make a powerful marriage alliance, and Ilysa’s bloodline is far too humble.
With her powers to heal and see evil where others cannot, beautiful Ilysa dresses plainly, speaks softly, and loves her chieftain from afar. Yet when Connor finally stokes the embers of desire that have so long burned within her, Ilysa feels bliss unlike any she’s ever known. Now as he is forced to place duty before happiness, Ilysa senses Connor is in grave peril. Can she find a way to prove she is the woman he needs by his side?
Review: Margaret Mallory has written a beautifully rich, romantic story in The Chieftain, the 4th book in Return of the Highlanders series. From the setting, to the characters, to the plot, it is a fantastic story. I love this author’s writing style – it absolutely transported me into the rich, wild land in the sixteenth century Highlands, surrounded by brawny warriors and brave women of the MacDonalds of Sleat clan.
Soft-spoken, plainly dressed, and a healer, Ilysa has loved her Chieftain from afar since forever. Strong, brave, and dedicated to his clan, Connor has remained celibate since he became Chieftain of the MacDonald clan, determined to never be in the situation of having blood shed over any illegitimate children. He knows it is his duty to form an alliance with another clan, and marry someone solely to bring their clans together and strengthen his numbers for battle. But a chance encounter shows him Ilysa’s beauty, and he begins to yearn for her.
But there is treachery afoot, not just between clans, but within his own clan, and his own family! Ilysa is the only person Connor trusts implicitly, and he relies on her quiet counsel. But as Connor struggles to figure who his enemies are, he finds an ally in a spy who is so impressed by Connor’s loyalty, bravery, and code of honor that he becomes a friend.
Told from several viewpoints, the transitions were easy to follow for each point of view. The author has used some true facts in this story, and tweaked others to suit the time period, location, and plot. This is a story in which you can’t help but fall for the hero, and wish to be the heroine. The love they share was enough to bring tears to my eyes, and the bravery and treachery enough to raise goose flesh on my arms. While this is the fourth in the series, it was easy enough to follow along. But, it also made me want to go back and read the first three, as well as hope the author will eventually write spinoff stories for some of the other heroes.