Sunday, November 30, 2008

Surrender by Pamela Clare ****

Wow! This was a true adventure story that takes place in America during the French and Indian wars, but stars a couple of Highland Scots, Iain MacKinnon and Annie (aka Lady Anne Burness Campbell).

Iain grew up in America, the son of an exiled Highlander after Culloden. Iain's the eldest of 3 sons, and they live on the family farm (I'm trying to recall - I guess both parents have passed on). They grew up with Mohican's as playmates, and are wise in the Mohican ways. OK, it's spelled differently but Mohican made more sense to me. They get conscripted into becoming Rangers for the British army with a threat of hanging for a murder they did not commit.

Annie was a gently bred virgin from Scotland, daughter of an Earl who died at Prestonpans, the battle before Culloden. Her family fought on the British side of the war, and she feels much fear and hatred for the dreaded MacKinnons who slaughtered her father and brothers. But she learns to fear her evil uncle even more when she realizes his fetish - strangling lovers and in some cases, killing them during sex. This is how her mother dies - which she observes. She runs away, with her mother's jewels sewn into her dress, but is caught, thrown in jail and even branded -by her uncle - as a thief. She is then sold into indenture in America.

Annie escapes her owners when they are slaughtered by Indian and French scouts - and manages to land, barefoot and battered, at the very feet of Iain and his Rangers. He has 2 choices: shoot the bastard that's getting ready to rape her and let their position be known, or skulk away, leaving her but keeping his men safe. Of course, honorable guy, he shoots the Indian and French scouts, then sends his men back to Fort Whichever while he and Annie take the scenic route. Ok, that's not exactly right, but he's doing it to keep both Annie and his men safe.

He manages to get her back to the fort relatively unharmed, never knowing she's lied to him about her name and position both as a lady and as indentured slave. She lets him believe she was living with a sister and brother-in-law as her only living relatives and her name is Annie Burns. She's afraid if he finds out, he'll take her back to Albany where her indenture papers are. She also doesn't want him to find her thief brand, placed high on the inner thigh so that no man will want her.

This is really a terrific adventure story, and the heat level is very, very high, along with some unusual scenes. Apparently the AAR reviewer found at least one of them not to her taste, but I wasn't put off. This same reviewer also felt Iain was a little too alpha, but I guess I missed that part. I felt it was more in the spirit of Marsha Canham's Robin Hood stories - so swashbuckling and fast-paced, old fashion adventure that his actions seemed to be appropriate to his character and the time and the spirit of the story. After all, maybe if he made some decisions for the heroine it was because he was older, a lot more experienced and had a better fix on the situation than an 18-year-old Earl's pampered but spirited and courageous daughter! He can make some decisions for me any day!

4 stars

1 comment:

Cindy W said...

I can't wait to read this one!