The Highlander Who Protected Me by Vanessa Kelly

The Highlander Who Protected Me (Clan Kendrick #1)The Highlander Who Protected Me by Vanessa Kelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Clan Kendrick #1
Publication Date: 10/30/18

This is a superbly written, gripping, fast-paced, suck-you-in kind of story. The characters make you love them or dislike them, but you aren’t neutral about any of them. It is the first book in the new Clan Kendrick series, but it is really a follow-on from The Highlander’s Princess Bride from the ‘The Improper Princesses’ series.

The Kendricks are a boisterous, close-knit, loving Highland Clan. The family consists of seven brothers – Nicholas (Nick), Logan, Royal, Graeme & Grant (twins), Braeden and Kade plus their irascible grandfather Angus. We learned their history in The Highlanders Princess Bride and I certainly recommend that you read it – you don’t have to read it to enjoy this one, but you really get to know them all in that book. Since that book, I have been sitting on pins and needles just waiting for this one because Royal was such an intriguing character – you know – dark, moody, brooding, wounded war-hero. I didn’t care for Ainsley in that book and I still didn’t really care for her in this book. Frankly, I felt sorry for her predicament, but I found myself thinking that Royal would be much better off in the long run if she just went to London and stayed there.

Royal met Ainsley not long after he returned from the war where he had almost died. Nick, his older brother and clan chief, had dragged him all the way from the Highlands to London to see a series of doctors. He had attended a ball because Nick thought he needed to ‘get a life’ and quit brooding. Then, he saw Ainsley and thought she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. They flirted, but the evening ended badly. Fast-forward to the following year and Ainsley is staying just a half-days ride from the Kendricks. Royal decides to visit her, but he isn’t prepared for what he finds. He knew something wasn’t right with Ainsley when she had passed through on her way to her great-aunt’s home several months before, but he hadn’t pursued it. Now, here she was, sitting in her aunt’s house and she was very, very pregnant.

Ainsley went into labor shortly after Royal arrived and delivered a beautiful little girl. She asks Royal to take her daughter, keep her safe and raise her as his own. She tells Royal a part of the story, but not all, and Royal finally agrees. Royal puts up with the gossip and scandal of bringing ‘his’ by-blow into his family home and raising her. He’s squared his shoulders and weathered it all and they are finally content – not happy, but content. Then Ainsley shows up again and, of course, trouble follows.

Some of what I didn’t like – well, mostly it was Ainsley. She used Royal because he loved her and would let her walk all over him. She was selfish, spoiled, overbearing, opinionated, and she wanted it all. She wanted Royal to protect her and the baby, but she didn’t tell him the whole story. She was defensive and argumentative all the time –especially with grandda. She supposedly loved Royal, but, well, she didn’t do anything until the very end of the book that made me think she cared for him at all. Then, there was grandda, but I do have to say I liked him better in this book than the last one. He was an old curmudgeon who loved his grandson but constantly interfered to keep Royal and Ainsley apart – even after they were married.

Another thing I didn’t like was the ending. It cost Royal yet again – at that point, I thought he had surely paid enough – but no. It also didn’t feel complete – we were just left hanging with some things still unsolved. I assume (maybe) we’ll get the wrap-up in the next book – which will probably be Logan’s because he was a main feature in this book.

Add in some very modern conversation styles and the use of words such as Spoilsport, Corker, and Fussbudget which all seem to stem from the late 1800’s and not the early 1800’s. I didn’t look up all of the words that struck me as anachronistic. There were some ‘old sayings’ that I didn’t think came from the Regency period – but they might have – “shake a stick at” or “she’s a corker”.

All-in-all, I enjoyed the book, but I had a really hard time caring for Ainsley or understanding how Royal could be so besotted with her. I hope you will enjoy it too!

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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