Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Four Umbrellas: Ranger by Monica McCarty

I want Red to look beyond the shirtless dude on the cover of this and instead see a really rich, impeccably researched historical portrait of a unique moment in time. This is a case where I think the beefcake cover isn't doing the story any favors, as I think McCarty's strong writing would appeal to readers of several different genres, not just those of us swayed by hot shirtless dudes in kilts. (But really, who doesn't love a hot man in a kilt?)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a quiet little history-driven romance that is a departure from the more common character driven historical romances where a Scottish setting is more like window dressing for a front-and-center relationship. Here, the real story is the Highland Guard--think Navy SEALS meets kilts and swords, and Ranger's double life. Arthur "Ranger" Campbell spends most of the book fighting very hard against any attraction to Anna, and it's not until the 2/3 mark that the relationship starts to really develop in complexity. While the first half of the book is dense and a bit slow, the last half of the book is really gripping as action picks up on all fronts and the stakes rise. The history incorporated into this book is really impressive. With only 1.5 love scenes, the relationship is very cerebral, with lots of soul searching-- I wouldn't have minded a bit more heat, but the development felt true to the characters. I'm looking forward to reading her backlist.



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