Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Clan MacKinlay, #3
Release Date: November 16, 2021
Liam MacKinlay was taken and raised as family after he was found alone and wandering on MacKinlay land as a young child, and since that day he has tried to be worthy of the honor the MacKinlays did for him by taking him, and more than anything, he wants his own family. But after meeting Evelyn “Ev” Stewart when he was part of the rescue party that saved her from the McCurdys that abducted and held her captive, he added another wish to his list – Ev as his wife. Over the past few years, he has asked her father for her hand and been refused twice. Now he plans to ask a third time, but this time he comes as the War Chief of the MacKinlay clan and hopes the title will hold some sway with her father. Sadly, it doesn’t and Liam is rejected once more and sent on his way. As he is leaving, Ev confronts him in the stable and tells him that she will marry him – now.
Liam can’t believe his good fortune, he marries Ev, and just as they are setting out to return to his home at Dunardry, Ev runs to a cottage in the village and returns with a small girl, who she introduces as her daughter Gwendolyn. Liam takes this surprise in stride and accepts Gwennie as his own without question. Ev then makes it clear that after the abuse she endured at the hands of the McCurdys that she cannot abide a man’s touch and in doing so, shatters Liam’s dreams of children of his own, but he takes this in stride as well, happy to have Ev in his life any way he can have her. But things go from bad to worse when they arrive at Dunardry and Liam realizes that what he thought was love was just a fantasy, he couldn’t love Ev because he never really knew her and with the patience of a saint, Liam sets out to get to know his wife.
Slowly, Ev warms up to Liam and even begins to desire him, something she never thought would happen, they not only become intimate, but they also take in more children and form the family Liam always dreamed of having, but Ev is keeping secrets from him, secrets that could cause a multi-clan war. Even when her father demands Liam annul their marriage and Ev’s return, Ev doesn’t reveal the real reason – that her father has promised her hand in marriage to the heir of the Morgan Clan. Instead, she breaks Liam’s heart by agreeing to surrender to her father, rather than let the MacKinlays go to war. But Liam isn’t willing to let her go and after making some emotional realizations, rides out with his “brothers” to confront her father and gets the shock of his life in a twist that will change everything!
I am not sure how to rate this book because while the story was excellent, I had a really hard time liking Evelyn and I found Liam to be a bit too beta, but as the story progressed, they both began to grow on me and by the end of the story, I loved them both. This is not your run-of-the-mill historical romance, Liam is a beta hero with a huge heart of gold and Evelyn is a survivor of rape and captivity. In the beginning, Ev is very hard to like, she uses Liam and treats him very badly, but slowly, Liam’s innate goodness prevails and she learns to trust and love him. The book has a lot of emotion, some triggers, warm love scenes, surprising revelations, shocking twists, familial love, acceptance, and finally a very sweet HEA. This book is the third book in the series, but I didn’t read the previous stories and I was able to follow the backstory with no problems.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*