Surrender to the Highlander by Lynsay Sands
January 30, 2018
Reviewed by Sheena
Favorite Quote: “Wife, ye do no’ need to be naked to talk…in fact, ’tis more detrimental to talking than helpful.”
So. The heroine barfs mid-blowjob. Everywhere. Cock was covered in her chunks. On the cusp of orgasm so it was a most certain un-happy ending. And I think you should know that. I can’t un-know that and now you can’t either. And yes, it was just as surprising and gross.
Edith Drummond is in a world of trouble. Her life is in immediate danger as she is facing either being dispatched to a nunnery (and having her dowry usurped) or being poisoned to her death (and having her dowry stolen) and time is of the essence if anything can be done to thwart either outcome. Lucky for Edith she’s made friends with loyal ladies (previous series heroines, their paths intertwine nicely) who send to her rescue a band of Highlander brothers, the Buchanan Brothers. One, in particular, Niels, proves himself to be a most protective and honorable highlander who doesn’t mind marrying Edith to protect her from those who wish her harm. She’s a right bonny lass who is sweet in nature, spirited and a good bet for a wife. Niels is attracted to Edith from the beginning and even though his proposal is an obvious arrangement of conveniences, he is clearly the goodhearted man he proved himself to be time and time again throughout the novel and I easily rooted for them.
“Marry me, Edith. Be me wife and share yer life with me.”
“I want ye something fierce, Edith…But I like ye too….I’ll no’ lie and say I love ye, lass,” he added solemnly. “’Tis too soon fer that, and I do no’ wish there to be lies between us, but I do like ye. I think ye’re a fine woman, beautiful and smart. More importantly, ye’re kind too. Ye care fer the well-being o’ yer people, and ye take in strays who need a home. Ye’ve a good heart, Edith, and I like that about ye.” Smiling again, he added, “And the fact that I want ye too jest makes it all the sweeter. I think we could be happy together.”
Edith stared at him for several minutes, replaying his words through her mind. She liked that he wouldn’t lie and claim he loved her. And she liked him too… Blushing, Edith nodded and whispered, “Aye.”
I liked Edith but she suffered severely from I’m a virgin and therefore clueless about sex and the male form. I also call cocks fiddles because I’m so gosh darn cute and inexperienced that only the most juvenile of colloquialisms come to mind. *sigh* So yes, I liked Edith but I wanted more for her in this regard. There is totally such thing as being a knowledgeable virgin. “Maidens”, even in historical romances, need only lack actual sexual experience- not knowledge! It gets skeevy for me when virginal heroines are so clueless, it skews them immature vs inexperienced and immaturity is a romance killer. It douses ice cold water on any heady, heated flames fanned by sensual tension built up in the novel. Don’t douse the flames!
Luckily I was able to compartmentalize her more childish moments and focus on the times where she was far more the clever adult woman. Her unexpected sass and flat refusal to be marginalized when it came to solving the mystery of her assailants and their motives for wanting her dead was where she shined the best. This immature girl/brave woman juxtaposition made me want to hop on my trusty soapbox and wax poetic about authors undercutting all of their hard work crafting such delicious tension, by rendering the heroine juvenile and immature. There is danger in going so deep into trying to create the perfect ingénue that you enter child like/immature territory, and dear Edith rode that line hard.
“Are ye only asking me because ye think ye have to now ye’ve ruined me?” The question made Niels chuckle and Edith scowl. “’Tis no’ funny m’lord,” Edith said stiffly, pulling away from him and beginning to try to untangle her twisted dress…
“Edith, lass,” Niels said gently, catching her hands to stop her again. “I am no’ laughing because I think yer being ruined is amusing, I’m laughing because . . .” He hesitated and then simply said, “Ye’re no’ ruined, Edith. Yer maidenhead is still intact.” She blinked and then stared at him doubtfully….Of course, his head had been between her legs with his fiddle nowhere near that part of her, she realized, flushing. “But I felt something—”
“Me finger,” he interrupted gently. “Yer virginity is still intact.”
“Oh.” Blushing, Edith lowered her head.
Flag on the play! Edith should not have to have her beau explain that he didn’t take her virginity by performing a little cunnilingus and finger action. This is precisely what I mean by rendering heroines immature girls as opposed to the mature women they are in every other aspect. I groaned (and not in a good way) when Niels mansplained how Edith was still a virgin.
Instead of a nice steamy, smexy scene where pearls could be unapologetically clutched, I was left rattled and desperately trying to reconcile Edith’s immaturity while actively working to not begin to resent Niels for his role of mansplainer extraordinaire.
Next time I prefer to pearl clutch without the baggage. More fun that way.
Aside from the challenges I had with Edith and her sexual awakening (Are you there God? It’s Me, Edith), I found the rest of the story to be interesting and engaging. The series overall features a different brother and an endangered woman he falls in love with while offering his protection. In Surrender to the Highlander, the mystery was not overwrought, which was perfect since the novel itself was light and uncomplicated. I loved Niels and his brothers’ banter, especially how they exchanged funny barbs with one another. Big, bad brawny brothers who jest is how they come to mind and I’ve committed myself to reading the rest of these novels, if for no other reason than to see them rib one another and fearlessly come to one another’s aid. This is a close-knit clan family and I liked their bonds and loyalty. They feel good!
The ending was a little rushed and there was no epilogue (boo!), but overall, I wasn’t left wanting much more than I got, so in that regard, the story ends well enough, I suppose. My absolute favorite part of the novel was an epic dressing down Edith gave her uncovered nemesis. This occurred at nearly 90%, so ending with a fiery (albeit possibly triggering) confrontation was an interesting gamble that paid off in this case. More so because it allowed my lasting memory of Edith to be empowering as opposed to immature, and I was glad to see Edith play an integral part in saving her own day.
Surrender to the Highlander is book 5 in the series, however, it stands alone, should you be a Highlander series first-timer. If nothing else, I suspect it will spur new readers on to seek out the other books featuring the Buchanan brothers. Heroine immaturity may be a fluke, as the previous novel had a heroine who did not read as immature as Edith, but one thing is for certain, the author has a fantastic penchant for writing great heroes who are alpha, leaders, and all things virile, but super sweet hearts that melt your heart. Even when they are grumpy, they are such nice freaking heroes you can’t help but adore.
Besides, the next novel features Niels’ brother Aulay and he is scarred (squee) and uber growly (yum) and the rescued woman who falls under his protection appears to have amnesia and believes, sweet, detached, and traumatized Aulay is her husband. OMG. WANT!