Title: My One True Highlander
Author: Suzanne Enoch
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Release Date: April 2017
Length: 320 pages
Series?: No Ordinary Hero #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Rugged highlander Graeme has one thing on his mind—take a stand against the horrible Englishman Lattimer and he will be rewarded with enough money to be set for life. But when his reckless younger brothers take it one step too far and kidnaps a young woman on her way to see Lattimer, Graeme has to intervene. He cannot send the lady back without his kin getting in trouble. And when a damsel this beautiful is dropped into your lap, it’s hard to let her go…
Marjorie should be terrified she’s been captured by Highland scoundrels, but it’s hard to live in terror when your captor is a devilishly handsome and sinfully tempting as Graeme is. She cannot stay by his side forever—no matter how her heart may pound at the thought—but Graeme seems to have other plans. This wicked Highlander is out to seduce her and doesn’t plan to stop until she’s in his arms…forever…
No one is more surprised than Marjorie Forrester when her older brother Gabriel, a soldier in the Royal military, is bequeathed a dukedom. Suddenly their whole lives change. Marjorie moves from the life of a servicewoman to the life of a lady in the London ton. Despite her new stature, she is not readily accepted – and if truth be told, not to be accepted at all. It takes it toll on Marjorie, who is also now suffering under the strict and nagging direction of her new lady’s companion, Mrs. Giswell. Hortensia has to set things right and clear her name; her previous charge suffered serious scandal that was irrecoverable. Stained by her failure, she is now determined that nothing shall go slightly astray with Lady Marjorie. When Marjorie receives word that her brother plans to marry soon, Marjorie resolutely decides to leave immediately for Scotland to surprise her brother for his nuptials.
What Marjorie didn’t know when Gabriel became a Duke and she set out on her journey is that she is traipsing around the Highlands right in the midst of a clan war – and her brother is embroiled in it to the hilt. When Lattimer came into the MacKitrrick property (a Maxwell chieftan), all of the tenants sided with the English Lattimer – and against the Maxwell, Duke of Dunncraigh. Thus they lost their presence in the Maxwell clan and claimed Lattimer as Laird MacKittrick, pledging allegiance to him.
When The Maxwell visits Graeme Maxwell, a viscount, it is not a pleasant visit. It is an ultimatum. Fix the Lattimer situation, or be fixed. Graeme is already working toward acquiring funds to build up his own clan, keep things running and keep himself out of Maxwell’s war with Lattimer. Graeme’s younger brothers overhear the threatening conversation and aim to save Garaidh nan Leomhann and their brother. When they discover Lady Marjorie Forrester, the Duke of Lattimer’s sister, traveling nearby, they kidnap her and bring her home to the Lion’s Den. Now Graeme has hell of a mess on his hands, and he only sees one solution to solve all of the potentially life-threatening problems surrounding Lady Marjorie’s presence in his home. Appearances are not as they would appear though. The rugged and rough Highlander has a lot more tenderness and compassion than meets the eye. Not long after being held captive, Marjorie finds
Not long after being held captive, Marjorie finds way to escape…right into the arms of Sir Hamish Paulk, the Maxwell’s lapdog. Explaining her way out of this unpredictable meeting earns Graeme’s trust and respect, but their acquaintance doesn’t end there. Soon Marjorie is also seeing things in a new light under the tenderness of her Highland captor. She must ultimately decide if she wants to spend her life returning to her miserable life in London, or remaining with the loving family in the Highlands.
Soon Marjorie is also seeing things in a new light under the tenderness of her Highland captor. She must ultimately decide if she wants to spend her life returning to her miserable life in London, or remaining with the loving family in the Highlands.
Lady Marjorie Forrester – a ladies companion whose brother recently became a duke, skyrocketing her from servicewoman to nobility; now the Duke of Lattimer’s sister; she craves to be accepted by the harsh London society
Gabriel Forrester – Duke of Lattimer; Marjorie’s older brother; he is English (or Sassenach) and a former soldier
Mrs. Hortensia Giswell – Marjorie’s lady’s companion; she’s already had ruin with a previous charge; determined to redeem herself by keeping Marjorie in line
Graeme Maxton- Viscount Maxton; landowner of Garaidh nan Leomhann, also known as the Lion’s Den
Brendan – Graeme’s 16 year old brother; he is very hotheaded and intent on doing things his way
Dughlas – Graeme’s 14 year old brother; he is much more level-headed
Connell – Graeme’s 8 year old brother; often called duckling; sweet and kind
Raibeart Maxton – Graeme’s uncle
Artur Maxwell – aka the Maxwell; Duke of Dunncraigh and clan chief; he is displeased with losing tithes and tenants to the English Duke of Lattimer
Sir Hamish Paulk – The Maxwell’s henchman; a hateful and vengeful man
Marjorie didn’t feel at all triumphant or vindicated, though. She made a show of gathering the sheets around her and standing, anything to avoid his gaze. It didn’t matter a whit if she’d hurt his feelings; she wasn’t the villain of this piece. But it felt like it mattered, liked she’d…cheated or something.
He simply wanted her, and that had nothing to do with what an alliance with her could do for his corner of clan Maxwell. He wanted to know that a lovely duke’s sister desired a near destitute Scottish clan chieftan who mended fences and sheared sheep and delivered calves with his own two damned hands.
The Highs and Lows
- Pacing. It took a long while for me to become invested in the storyline due to the pacing and some confusion about who was who and relationships in the very beginning with all the clan business. I had to go back and restart this book. For the first quarter or so of the book, it was slow going and I wanted to set it aside, but quickly picked up once Marjorie is kidnapped.
- Marjorie’s Struggles. Marjorie has been elevated from the capacity of a servicewoman all of a sudden into not only the nobility but the cream of the crop of nobility. Now she’s the sister of a duke. However, her sudden change and elevation in stature do not open doors to the gentry or the London ton. No matter how hard Marjorie tries to be kind and make friends, it is made very clear to hear that she is not wanted. Short of buying friends, Marjorie won’t be accepted in London society. She is miserable, downtrodden, and depressed. Which is why when she learns of her brother’s sudden impending marriage, she immediately makes arrangements to travel to the Highlands.
- High Stakes Hierarchy. The contention among the Maxton clan is increasing. Tempers are high and time is short. As chieftan, Graeme has more responsibilities on his plate than just his brothers. Graeme is trying to do the upright and honorable thing in two aspects: not killing Lattimer, but also supporting and providing safety for the families residing on his land. By not killing Lattimer, Graeme risks his people starving – and the angry, terroristic wrath of the Maxwell and have a lot more issues to handle and overcome. Or he could be generously rewarded if Lattimer meets an untimely death. The root of The Maxwell’s anger is over the English Gabriel Forrester becoming the Duke of Lattimer and now possessing the clan’s ancestral land. The Maxwell had high hopes of retaining Lattimer’s tenants and also receiving tithes from them for providing protection. It is a significant loss of loyalty and money when Gabriel inherits the duchy.
- Graeme. He is loyal to a fault and works hard to support his family. He has been the sole caretaker for his brothers since Connell was two days old. For a young man who should have just been going out to start his life, it was unfortunate timing. And unfortunate circumstances followed. Soon he became the Viscount and was responsible for more than just caring, educating and raising three young boys; he now had near a hundred cotters to provide for and protect, as well as the Garaidh nan Leomhann land known as the Lion’s Den.
- The Plan. Graeme’s brothers overhear the Maxwell and Sir Hamish’s threats, the boys take matters into their own hands. After going into town, they discover the Duke of Lattimer’s sister is traveling. They hatch a plan using Connell to lure her to kidnap her. If Brendan cannot kill the Duke of Lattimer as Graeme specifically outlined, they can hand her off to the Maxwell to use in bringing the Sassenach Lattimer to his knees. They’ll save the day and save the clan! There are just a few problems with their plan, which Graeme points out after they’ve brought Marjorie to their home: she knows their names and the Maxwell could make Graeme ransom Marjorie to her brother, causing either a prison or death sentence for Graeme. Not to mention the fact that Marjorie – an innocent in all of this – would be ruined. Who would marry a woman who had been kidnapped and held hostage in a male-dominated Highlander home? She would be forever ruined and never accepted in Society again. No matter what, Marjorie’s trail would lead back to them and the ramifications could be costly.
- Graeme’s Idea. As Marjorie points out to Graeme, he has to do something with her. When she dares ask his grand plan, Graeme has been debating with himself over his idea. His plan is simple and it resolves all of the possible ramifications of her kidnapping. He is terrified Marjorie will come to a fatal end in the care of the Maxwell, and he is worried he will meet the same fate at the hands of Lattimer in the vendetta. Graeme is the only person to have interactions with Marjorie, who he locks in a bedroom with boarded windows. After an attempt to call attention to her captivity, Graeme shackles her to the bed. It is during all of their brief and biting meetings that Marjorie discovers a sense of consideration and tenderness from Graeme. It is through their interactions that each begins to feel a measure of compassion – and guilt. Their relationship starts to bloom. When an unfortunate meeting with Raibeart and Sir Hamish occur following Marjorie’s escape, she pretends to be Marjorie Giswell, there to tutor Connell. While a quick cover – someone is not believing it.
- Connell. At only eight years old, he is indeed a little duckling. I found the endearment cute and fitting. Connell is a curious little kid with a big heart. He is characterized by taking in stray animals, especially orphaned animals because he is also an orphan. The more the merrier. He even tries to hide some from Graeme in his room, and Graeme pretends like he doesn’t know the little zoo exists. His character brought charm and innocence to the story and helped soften some of big brother’s hard edges. He also becomes allies, friends rather, with Marjorie in secret.
- Marjorie’s Growth. Throughout her stay in Graeme’s household, Marjorie slowly undergoes a transformation. Everything she found harsh and unrefined about her Highland captors she begins to see in a new light. Her journey of self-discovery and realization of her true wants in life were made possible with Graeme’s help. She maintained she wanted to return to London where no one wanted her – and where no one knew even knew she had disappeared. Graeme tries to make his case for his solution by showing that she’s cared for in the Highlands. While it may not be everything she’d dreamed of and what she envisioned for her life, there was happiness in the Highlands.
What set this Highland story apart was the depth and complexity of the plot. The concept of captive falling for captor is nothing new, but the way in which the Graeme and the boys are characterized and treat Marjorie during her stay in the Lion’s Den made this “prisoner of war” story so sweet and lent authenticity to the Highland home and setting. I found Graeme to be an interesting mix of a man, so rough and rugged on the exterior but very logical, loyal, compassionate and kind. Not all qualities one would associate with a Scottish Highlander, so it made his roaring and gentle character that much more delightful. Connell’s sweetness and innocence and Brendan’s flaring temper only add to the element of fear and danger over the current situation between Lattimer and the Maxwell. I enjoyed this well-crafted story and look forward to future books from Enoch.
Suzanne was born in Southern California sometime in the latter half of the 20th century. In the way that some people are born knowing they want to be astronauts or cellists, Suzanne always knew she wanted to be a writer. Early dreams of becoming a zoologist and writing true stories about her adventures in Africa were crushed, however, after she viewed a television special about the world’s most poisonous snakes; she did NOT want to write about how she’d been bitten and lost a limb to a cobra. Thankfully at the same time the movie “Star Wars” premiered, and she realized that she could make up adventures and write about them, and not be eaten by deadly predators while doing research.
She dabbled in romantic fantasy writing for a year or two after graduating with a degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, until her affection for traditional Regency romances led her to write one for fun. After several encouraging rejections from publishers, she snared the interest of the world’s best and most patient literary agent, who advised her to revise the manuscript. This ultimately led to the publication of her first book, The Black Duke’s Prize, from Avon Books in the Spring of 1995.
Suzanne is known for her humorous characters, sexy bad boys, and whip-sharp, witty dialogue. She currently resides in Placentia, California with several hundred guppies and various other tropical fish, and handful of very loud, spinach-loving finches. And her collection of action figures and statues from “Star Wars”, “Lord of the Rings”, “X-Men”, and “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Everybody needs some inspiration, after all.