Book Review: The Viper by Monica McCarty

The Viper is the fourth book in the Highland Guard series by Monica McCarty. Each book can be read as part of the series or as a stand alone. Lachlan “Viper” MacRuairi is a warrior known for his stealth and deadly strikes. His only loyalty is to his purse, his indifference sealed by past betrayals. All that changes when Lachlan is tasked to protect and deliver Bella MacDuff to the king’s coronation.  Bella has defied Britain’s king and her own husband to place the crown on Bruce’s head, and for this she pays a terrible price: Losing her daughter and her freedom to her husband’s vengeance. Together Bella and Lachlan embark on a rogue mission with sinister twists and turns that threatens not only Bella’s gamble to save her daughter, but also their hearts.

The Viper holds everything that I expect from a Highland Guard novel. Strong characters, solid research, and beautiful main characters. Bella is strong and has faced humiliation, mistrust, and abuse from her husband and misconceptions based on her appearance from just about everyone. Lachlan blames himself for the death of soldiers under his leadership and has been betrayed by his clan and his wife. Neither trusts easily, nor do they want to be attracted to each other. The twists and turns the pair face are well done, but I think I really need to take a break from McCarty before I read any more of this series. I started expecting the gushing about how everyone looked, the obvious perils of being female, and the action before it even happened. I am not saying that it was poorly done, but that I think I am burned out on the series. I found myself skimming through the last couple chapters so that I could find out how everything came together, and to see if any further set up for a book I expect coming later in the series occurred, but I ran out of steam for getting the details. I plan on taking a break and focusing on other genres for a week or three before diving back into the historicals.

I recommend The Viper to readers that enjoy McCarty's writing, and heroes in kilts. this was not my favorite book in the series, but again that could have just been because I have read too many of the series too close together and out of order in the last month.
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