Series: Murray Family #21
Published by Zebra on September 27th 2016
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
The Murrays are back in this thrilling new tale from New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell . . .
Responsible for protecting her younger siblings from their abusive father, Bethoc Matheson is in no position to rescue another soul in Scotland. Yet when she sees a bleeding man on the verge of drowning, that’s exactly what she does, securing him safely in a cave where she can return day after day to tend to his wounds.
Sir Callum MacMillan can scarcely believe such a slight lass as Bethoc could save him from the grasp of death. But he knows the telltale marks of an angry fist on her skin, and he knows she has the soul of a fighter within her feminine frame. Raised to be a protector of the weak by his Murray clansman, Callum would prefer to be the one saving her—and save her, he will. If he can first survive the treacherous attack that led him into her irresistible arms . . .
Highland romances have always been a favorite of mine, so when I stumbled across Hannah Howell’s Murray Family series, which is set in the Highlands, I knew I had to give them a try. Highland Chieftain was the book that caught my eye, however, I ended up finding this book incredibly boring. I’m surprised I even stuck with it and finished it.
Highland Chieftain is about Bethoc, who lives with her abusive father and many younger siblings. Her mother passed away a few years ago, and now Bethoc cares for all her siblings. While out on a walk with her youngest sibling, Margaret, she comes across a severely injured man, and she helps him hide in the caves nearby and helps heal him. This man is Sir Callum Macmillan, and he’s laird of a clan. During the months that Callum is healing, Bethoc and Callum fall for each other.
You guys, I can’t adequately explain how dull I found this whole book. I mean, in theory, Highland Chieftain has some of my absolute favorite tropes (highlands, large families, hero saving the heroine, heroine saving the hero) so I should have loved it. But that is simply not the case.
First, I really didn’t love either of the two main characters. Bethoc, the heroine, was so incredibly passive. Although she certainly shows some initiative at the very beginning of the novel by helping Callum, after that, she just sort of goes along with everything. I would have liked to have seen be at least somewhat decisive once in awhile.
Callum was really annoying too. Look, I will admit I like my heroes in my romances strong, decisive and heroic. Callum wasn’t that for me. He was so wishy-washy. Obviously towards the beginning of the novel he’s injured, so he can’t go off saving the day. But even when he’s mended, he wasn’t the kind of romance hero I like. At one point, Bethoc is being held in the jail, and it takes him forever to get her out of there. While Bethoc is being held there, she is being tortured, so it’s a serious thing. I wanted him to storm the castle, as it were. But no. And then, even though they’ve been fooling around, he never really knows how he feels about her. There were so many times when he says to someone else “I really should ask her to marry me.” And yet, he never does (until the end, obviously. This isn’t a spoiler – that’s what happens in romance novels).
The only character that I liked was Bethoc’s baby sister, Margaret. She had such a personality and she wasn’t afraid to express her opinion. Any scene she was in was better because she was there.
Not only did the characters leave me wanting more, but the actual plot was meandering and long. It almost felt episodic (which I love for TV but not for a romance novel). I cannot expressive enough how very boring I found the whole story. So Highland Chieftain by Hannah Howell was not a book for me. That said, it has many positive reviews, so perhaps you will love it. I certainly did not.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: