Wednesday, October 14, 2015

REVIEW: "Highlander Undone" by Connie Brockway


Highlander Undone
For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Victorian England

Montlake Romance -- Published on September 15, 2015
eARC, 322 pages
Read in October 2015
Received from Netgalley

RATING: 4 STARS

THEMES/TROPES
In Disguise, Returning Military, Widow, Tormented Heroine

SUMMARY
While recovering at his uncle’s estate from wounds sustained in the Sudan, Jack Cameron—a loyal Scottish captain in the British army—is haunted by the words of a dying officer: one of Her Majesty’s Black Dragoons is aiding the slavers they were sent to suppress. But how will he find the traitor without sending the culprit to ground? He finds a way while listening to the voices beneath his open window—particularly those of Addie Hoodless, a beautiful widow, and her brother, Ted, a famed artist commissioned to paint portraits of the Black Dragoons’ senior officers.

Posing as an artist, Jack decides to infiltrate the close circle of friends at Ted’s studio to listen in on the unguarded conversations of the officers. But first, he must win Addie’s trust despite the emotional wounds of her past. Will Jack dupe the only woman he has ever loved or stand down from hunting the traitor? If his real identity is exposed, Addie’s life will be in terrible danger.


FIRST LINE
"He had seen dying men before."

MY THOUGHTS
I received a free copy of this book from Montlake Romance via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Connie Brockway is an author who has a distinct writing style that I always find refreshing and engrossing.  I absolutely adored her older romances such as As You Desire and My Dearest Enemy so I was ecstatic to see that she is still writing and publishing.  Highlander Undone is a decent example of her writing skills and unique characters.

Jack Cameron is an injured Scottish captain who is sent to recover from his wounds at his uncle's estate.  He is not expected to survive, but he does through the skills of his uncle's servants and his own sheer will.  Right before his injury, he was informed that a member of the British Black Dragoons is using the conflicts in the Sudan to further their own fortunes and Jack vows revenge for his fallen comrades.  He decides to go "in disguise" and befriend a portrait artist who is commissioned to paint all the Black Dragoons in order to discover who the culprit was.  Things, of course, get complicated when Jack starts to get involved with the artist's widowed sister, Addie Hoodless.

The best part about Highlander Undone was the portrayal of the hero and heroine.  Jack is a loyal commander who is devastated to learn that someone was making money of the deaths of his soldiers.  His fierce need for revenge shows his loyalty and his ability to care for those around him.  By pretending that he is a gentle artist-in-training, Jack is able to show the softer side of his personality.  Addie was very admirable due to her ability to overcome her difficult past.  Her late husband was abusive and she managed to survive through her own determination.  Of course, there are emotional scars from such an ordeal, but she is slowly working her way back to being comfortable with life again.

Jack and Addie's romance was a nice combination of sweetness and sexiness.  They are physically attracted to one another from the beginning, but avoid intimate contact due to Jack's masquerade and Addie's reluctance.  So, they are able to spend time getting to know one another through conversation and outings.  I was worried about whether the connection would be true since Jack is pretending to be a different type of person.  But, the author does a good job of emphasizing that he is still acting like himself just without the expectations of an army captain.  I especially liked the fact that he was halfway in love with Addie before even meeting her since he used to overhear her conversations while he was recuperating.

Jack's lie does go on longer than I would have liked and I wasn't the biggest fan of some of the choices he made.  I appreciated his desire to get revenge, but thought that he could have gone about the whole thing in a way that didn't hurt so many people.  The groveling scenes at the end were well-done and made me believe everything could be resolved.  I just wish the truth had been divulged sooner.

Besides the romance, there is also the mystery around which of the Black Dragoons took advantage of the situation in the Sudan.  I figured out the culprit early on and I am pretty sure that is way the author intended it to work.  Much of this plot involved figuring out how to get the villain to admit it and find the proper justice for the deceased.  It was well-balanced with the rest of book and I was happy with the way that everything was resolved.

Highlander Undone is a stand-alone novel that I think could appeal to a variety of historical romance readers.  There is a strong-willed heroine who has some real issues to overcome and a sexy Scottish hero who finds someone that helps him learn more about himself.  Brockway's voice is beautiful and subtly humorous which I really enjoyed as well.  I had a good time reading this and am looking forward to her next romance.

LEARN MORE

2 comments:

  1. Great review. I love this author's writing as well, so different from any other author. I totally can't wait to try this book out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've never read Connie Brockway before, but this one sounds really good. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I know what you mean when you feel like the lie went on too long. I feel that way often too, with these kinds of plots.

    ReplyDelete

Yeah comments!! Thanks for visiting my blog. I will try to reply to your comments as soon as possible.