Book Review: The Chieftain by Margaret Mallory

The Chieftain is the fourth book in the Return of the Highlanders series by Margaret Mallory. While reading the entire series does give a better feel for the secondary characters, you do not need to read the whole series to enjoy any of the individual books.

In this installment, Connor is the new chieftain of the MacDonalds of Sleat. He spends his energy trying to protect his people, and to stay alive. Rival clans and his treacherous uncle are plotting to take over his lands. He is aware that duty and circumstances not of his making will determine whom he will fight, who he can trust, and who he should marry. Connor depends on Ilysa, a young lass who has always been a good friend and just happens to be his best friend's sister. Ilysa runs a household so smoothly that she tends to fade into the background, and she likes it that way. However, her gift of foresight, show danger at every turn for Connor, and she can not let the man she has loved for years fall into dangerous traps even if that means losing him forever by way of his marriage to another.

The Chieftain is a well done, and well researched, historical romance. Connor is a strong man, with a sense of honor and duty that drives his very survival. I like that he seems aware of everything, and yet fails to see past the less than attractive clothes Ilysa wear to see the real woman. So typical and realistic, because people rarely look past the surface or what they expect to see. Ilysa is a woman that knows her own mind, and the power she has inside her. She might dress plainly and speak softly, but she makes things happen.I really like that Ilysa holds on to her values, even when it might be easy to follow one path, she knows what she is capable of and does what is right for herself, and Connor, even when it promises to hurt. Their happy ever after is hard won, and the journey holds a few surprises, one of which I admit to having seen coming, and is well worth the read. I liked that Mallory, as usual, includes further information on the historical facts that have an impact on the story in the back of the book. She includes the reality of the day, as where as where she took some liberties.

I recommend The Chieftain to fans of historical romance, particularly those that seek out the highland heroes. Readers that have enjoyed other books by Margaret Mallory will certainly enjoy her latest as well. Readers that have never read anything by Mallory, might want to get started soon, because the combination of historical research and powerful characters makes for a great read.
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