Let’s talk historical romance by Kresley Cole.
So, Kresley Cole wrote this trilogy about three brothers from the Scottish highlands. They would be Courtland, Hugh, and Ethan MacCarrick. One book per brother. I loved them. Big time.
The brothers were raised to believe they were cursed, after all, every other curse that was foretold in the Leabhar had come true, and let’s face it, that book is creepy. No matter what was done to the book it always survive it always came back. The only mark it ever accepted came from blood. In fact, the brothers had no clue what the end of their curse was because the last two lines were blocked by blood. (See what I mean? Creepy book.)
That being said, book one is Courtland’s story. The youngest of the three, Court has been away from home with his merry band of men pillaging countries and deepening fear of Scottish mercenaries around the world until he realizes he’s on the wrong side. Knowing that Court and his men turn their backs on the nasty Pascal, but Court almost looses his life over it. When the woman promised to Pascal saves Court’s life, he decides he ought to take her for himself. This of course gives us the, ‘if I don’t get my woman, this here man dies and I send my brotherhood of assassin’s after you to kill you off’ plot. Of course gun fights between burly Scottish men and world-renowned Rechazados assassins in dark mountain valley’s and a woman who keeps a rock hidden in her skirts so she is prepared to beat on her burly Scotsman at the earliest chance she gets make for an interesting reading experience.
If You Dare had some fightin’ and lots of lovin’, but it’s the characters that had me sucked in to the book. I fell in love with Court and Anna right away and I just could not wait to find out what would happen with Pascal’s daughter and Anna’s brother next. Not to mention the reaction of Court’s family to the fact that he would dare to take his chances with Anna given the Curse.
Hugh’s story in book two, If You Desire, picks up right where his involvement in book one left off. After receiving a letter from his boss that Jane’s life is in danger, Hugh races back to London to find out what he needs to do. The thing about Jane, she’s not only the love of Hugh’s life and therefore forbidden (hiya little curse!), but also the boss’s daughter.
When Hugh gets to London, he finds out that a previous employee of Mr. Weyland’s is back in business – only this time he is working against Weyland, not for him, and he is threatening the one thing in Weyland’s (and Hugh’s) life that means anything at all. While Weyland’s front is all sweet and gentlemanly, he’s actually top dog of a bunch of assassin’s – in fact that’s what Hugh, and the man who’s after Jane are. Risk taken seriously.
Knowing of the above mentioned risk, Hugh whisks Jane away where no one would think to look for them… Court’s barely standing abode out in Scottish countryside. Here the two work together to rebuild since they don’t have much else to do. But Jane, Jane is determined to get payback for when Hugh left her high and dry all those years ago, in the best way possible. When showdown time comes… Well you’ll never guess who gets the drop.
If You Deceive, the third and final book and the last of the three brothers, Ethan MacCarrick actually starts on the night that Hugh gets to London. We see a few of the same events that first night, but it isn’t long before Ethan’s night takes a turn. You see, Ethan’s eye is snagged on a beautiful woman, but he is no longer a handsome man as he was scarred for a nonexistent crime. No matter though, because masks are required for the party the woman attends, so at least for a little while he doesn’t need to worry about his appearance. After the night’s excitement Ethan not-so-smoothly deflowers the woman during the carriage ride home, an experience not ending so great for the two.
When Ethan finds out that the woman he was with that night is Madeleine Van Rowen, the daughter of the people responsible for his scarring, he realizes that he finally has his chance for revenge against the family. Plan hatched Ethan tracks Madeleine down, but things don’t go as planned. Not only does Ethan not succeed with his revenge and end up falling for Madeleine, there’s a cholera outbreak, a miscarriage, thwarted marriage prospects. All sorts of fun stuff like that.
When it comes to the MacCarrick Brothers trilogy, I just thought is was plain fantastic. I read each of the books in one sitting unable to put them down because I wanted to know what happened next. These three men who had always believe their fate was to die alone and miserable overcome that fate and end up succeeding in life and in love. The stories have this feeling of triumph. Of, no matter how tough it gets, I’m going to do what I gotta do.
As I mentioned before though, the big hook of this series was the characters. Their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, joys, and sorrows. Their relationship with their surroundings, both people and the world in general. The brothers and the women had faced all of these trials, but still they found the motivation to keep going. They might not have been whole – yet – but they still kept going. Even the secondary characters sparked feelings. I had thoughts of “What an asshole!” and “I feel your pain,” all throughout the series. For the characters alone, these books were worth reading. The romance just built on that.
As far as I am concerned, three fantastic historical romances, and one’s that I’m highly likely to revisit in the future.