Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Child of The Mist - Kathleen Morgan

In the harsh Scottish highlands of 1564, superstitions threaten a truce . .
. a traitor plans his attack . . and a new love is born.
An arranged betrothal was never the course Anne MacGregor imagined her life would take. Yet when her father explains that her cooperation is the only hope for peace, Anne sees no other choice. Even one year of commitment to Niall Campbell, after all, would win a long-sought truce between the feuding families.
But as Anne soon discovers, peace is not so easily achieved. Before she even arrives at her new home, rumors about her abound and her safety is threatened. Meanwhile, Niall's ascension as leader of his clan is in jeopardy, as a traitor works to bring
about his downfall.
As Niall and Anne begin to see beyond each other's defenses, love takes them by surprise. But will it be enough to defeat their foes? Or will the truce be broken, their lives forfeit, and war return to their beloved land?

Like so many of the books that have been in my TBR for a while I don't remember why I added it to the pile anymore. It seemed to have a marriage or betrothal of convenience which is one of my favourite themes so maybe that was it. It was only after I had finished it that a friend told me this was Christian fiction, although I can see how that term may be applied to it this is definitely not a story of the preachy sort. I never read Inspirationals and had I noticed any preachy messages I would have abandoned it immediately.

This is the story of Anne McGregor and Niall Campbell, beginning in 1654, whose clans have been feuding for 8 years. Due to some troubling events that involve Niall's capture by Anne's father and then the McGregor's siege by the Campbells, Anne's father concludes that the only way of ending the feud is to unite Anne and Niall in marriage. Unfortunately none of them is happy with that idea. Niall is still mourning his first wife and Anne doesn't want to get married, especially to someone she doesn't know. But the situation is bordering on war and so they eventually agree to a handfasting, a betrothal of sorts, for a year. After the year is over either they marry or separate.

Their union effectively stops the tension between both clans. However as Anne goes into Campbell territory and reaches their castle it is clear that there are many people who don't like their union and don't trust her. While she and Niall try to get along their relationship is affected by the fact that Anne's healing powers lead people to think she is a witch, in a time when a royal edict determined that witches should be burned at the stake, and Niall has to deal with a traitor who may be trying to kill him and take over his clan.

The book is as much about them getting to know and love each other as it is about the mystery of who is trying to destroy Niall. I must say I had a pretty good guess about who that might be from the beginning and I wasn't wrong. The book has enough action to keep you reading nonstop and has none of those religious messages that I usually associate with inspirational readings. Although they have decided on a chaste handfasting I felt that was quite in character for them and their situation, while they might be tempted to a physical relationship after they do know each other better there's no religious message stopping them from go ahead, it's their promise to each other that holds them back. All in all a very enjoyable read.

Grade: 4.5/5

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