Series: Highland Vows: Entangled Hearts, #6
Release Date: December 18, 2017
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was my first Julie Johnstone book, but it certainly won’t be my last.
Lena MacLeod is the widow of an evil man and has the scars to prove it – inside and out, she feels broken and cannot abide being touched. She returned to her brother’s home in hopes of healing, but now two years later, she is no closer than she was when she first arrived.
Alex MacLean has known Lena for years and cares for her, but he too has scars and knows the darkness in him would destroy her. They meet again at her brother’s wedding and are both shocked when the king arrives and commands them to wed. The king also has a mission for Alex, but it will involve keeping more secrets from Lena.
The king and Alex come to an agreement, but in doing so, it makes Alex appear to be a traitor. Lena is confused, Alex is kind and gentle with her, he praises her strength and urges her to let go of the pain holding her prisoner. In his care, Lena begins to heal and is on her way to being the woman she was before she married Findlay Campbell. But she knows that Alex is keeping secrets and knows those secrets could kill any love blossoming between them. Repeatedly she asks him to trust her and share with her – but Alex feels intense guilt and shame from his past and refuses.
Lena’s half-sister Marsaili has agreed to go with Lena to her new home, but Lena knows there is something Marsaili is keeping from her. When Lena learns Marsaili’s secret, she is shocked and not sure who to turn to, she wants to tell Alex, but Marsaili has sown seeds of doubt and while she longs to trust him, his refusal to share his past makes it impossible for her to do so. So she writes to her brother. When Alex intercepts her letter, he knows it is time to enact the king’s plan. He plans to take Marsaili and confront the Stewart, but he has no intention of letting Lena join them.
Lena learns they are planning to leave and is heartbroken, but when she learns his true mission, she insists on joining them. They arrive at the Stewart’s castle and Alex’s past comes rushing back. Alex must seemingly betray Lena’s brother Lachlan and take him prisoner. He leave to do the Stewarts bidding and Lena is left at the castle. Lena learns much about Alex’s past and is used to punish Alex – but Lena has grown strong and she will not break. When Alex saves her, she begs him to share his past, telling him that the secrets will destroy the love they share. But even after he does so, they are not done yet, they still have to complete their mission and save Marsaili and Lachlan.
This was a very well written story, it flowed well and was almost impossible to put down. It had secrets, shame, heartache, steamy love scenes, healing, acceptance, action and some very evil villains. But it also had sweet, tender moments as well as a truly beautiful love story and a very hard won HEA.
This is the sixth book in the series and I will admit feeling a little lost at times, events in the past are eluded to, but not having read the previous books, I wasn’t really sure what happened – but those past events played a significant role in this book and while I can imagine what happened, I was not given enough backstory to know for sure. Which is why I gave this book 4 stars vs 5 stars. I am sure if you have been following the series, you will have a much better understanding of the past events and LOVE this book.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC*