Sunday, October 21, 2012

Return of the Border Warrior (Brunson Clan Trilogy #1) by Blythe Gifford

Return of the Border Warrior
Word in the Royal Court has spread that the wild Scottish borders are too unruly. Upon the King's command, John Brunson must return home….Once part of a powerful border clan, John has not set eyes on the Brunson stone tower in years. With failure never an option, he must persuade his family to honor the king's call for peace.

To succeed, John knows winning over Cate Gilnock, the daughter of an allied family, holds the key. But this intriguing beauty is beyond the powers of flattery and seduction. Instead, the painful vulnerability hidden behind her spirited eyes calls out to John as he is inexorably drawn back into the warrior Brunson clan….



Return of the Border Warrior was a very emotional historical romance. I think that is the best way to summarize my reaction to the story. It was full of real emotion from the two main characters. I liked the book. It was worth a read. However, it wasn't the most engaging story I've ever read. 

Cate was tough. In every definition of the term. Not only could she wield a sword with deadly skill, but she also survived a very difficult past. So, right away, I liked her just for that. But, she was also so real. Her father was killed by her clan's enemy. That same enemy also did something very wrong to her, if you catch my drift. In response, she walled herself up and made revenge the sole purpose of her life. I felt that her reaction was very realistic. Especially when John comes in. Despite their budding romance, the author was true to Cate's emotional state. Cate didn't miraculously get over her past. She and John had to work together slowly to overcome her demons. I really loved Cate's character. She was very admirable.

John was as emotionally complex as Cate was. As a child, he was sent by his father to the court of the Scottish king. For most of his life, he felt abandoned by his family, hurt by the fact that he was sent away. So, he turned all his family loyalty into loyalty to the king. Or at lest, he thought he did. He was hurt by his family and was always on guard with them. But, at heart, he was still a Brunson. Loyal to his family and in love with the Border land. Just as Cate had to overcome her past, John also had to fight his demons. But, despite that, he was a thoroughly likable character at all times. He was so sweet to Cate. I mean, he had to be to help her overcome her past. Their relationship was more sweet than charged. Not that it wasn't charged. It definitely was, though the sparks usually showed themselves in arguments. But their relationship was more tender, sweet. Its sweetness is what made their emotional healing possible. And I really liked that about their relationship.

So, why do I say that I didn't adore this book. I just never felt truly engaged. Even though I loved the characters and the story, I was never swept up in the plot. Even during the high intensity scenes, I wasn't on the edge of my seat. I really liked this book. It was definitely worth a read. But it just wasn't entirely engaging. It didn't sweep me away.

Regardless, I would still recommend this book to those who like a good historical, Scottish romance. Return of the Border Warrior is definitely worth a read.

4/5

Thanks to Negalley and Harlequin for a copy!

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