The Sinner by Margaret Mallory
Publisher: Forever: Hachette Book Group
Length: Full Length (337 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Camellia
THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS: BOOK 2
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.
Alex MacDonald is known for his skill as a warrior, his prowess with women, and his vow to never take a wife. But now his chieftain has asked him to make the ultimate sacrifice: wed Glynis MacNeil, a lass famed throughout the Highlands for her exquisite beauty-and defiant ways.
Familiar with heartbreak, Glynis refuses to fall for another handsome scoundrel. Yet when Alex's past sins force an unlikely union, Glynis gives in to temptation and becomes his wife. Will their newfound passion be strong enough to fight the enemy that threatens their home, their clan, and their very lives?
‘The oar that is close at hand, row with it” is a Gaelic proverb that serves as a rule of thumb in much of the action in The Sinner. Also the seer’s prediction of three women that bring danger, deceit, and deep desire to Alex MacDonald plus the gift he receives being brightness itself weave theirs way through this action-packed, emotionally intense tale.
Alex Ban MacDonald fights with surety, skill, and zeal. He loves a good fight. He is the same about loving the ladies (note the plural). He balks at being “leg shackled”. His father reared him to believe that it is in his genes to need many women, that like his father, one woman could never satisfy his sexual appetite. Alex saw his father’s blatant infidelity make a virtual battlefield out of marriage. His parents fought like cats and dogs, and Alex wants no part of that kind of life.
Glynis MacNail, once the wife of the cruel, abusive Magnus Clanrandad, has been humiliated and hurt enough to last a lifetime. She never wants to marry again, but her father wants her to wed to secure an alliance with another clan. Consequently, when men from the MacDonald clan show up to parley, Glynis tries to disguise her beauty. However, fate, destiny, a mischievous fairy, or some such steps in to thwart both Glynis’ and Alex’s evasive actions.
She remains steadfast in her determination to stay unwed but says to herself, “What was God thinking, allowing a man to be this handsome?” when she sees Alex. He is a “golden warrior”, and looks like a blazing Viking marauder with breathtaking green eyes. He radiates a sensual heat. He is a rogue without question, but has a sense of humor that charms and a storytelling ability that enchants.
The Sinner is replete with beautiful, expressive metaphors and imagery that awaken all the senses so the reader is pulled into the setting and propelled into the vicious fighting, the furtive planning, and the exquisite love scenes that are breathtaking.
Margaret Mallory weaves history, superstitions, the plight of women in that era, greed for money and power, and the unique culture of the Scottish Clans into the story, all of which enrich the sparkling love story of Glynis and Alex. She creates strong secondary characters with personalities that add, intrigue, joy, humor, magic, disgust, and terror to the happenings. Two of Alex’s past lovers create their share of chaos, each in her own way. However, the little girl Claire that appears in the prologue, a character that I almost forgot, changes priorities for many as she nestles her way into the hearts of most—but not all. To a few she is not wanted, creating intense scenes.
The hero and the heroine’s love shimmer and sizzles with scenes that make the heart sing and sigh with satisfaction. The Sinner is a keeper—a captivating read!