When Darkness Falls. . .
Cathal MacNachton and Connall MacAdie are cousins bound by far more than blood ties and the rugged Highland landscape their clan calls home. The ancient curse of their ancestry has fated them to live by night with an unquenchable thirst that neither can tame. The only thing that can save their souls is marriage to Outsiders–mortals whose untainted blood will weaken the curse in their children and break the chains of fear that have made their clan a breed apart.
Bridget Callan and Eva Caxton are the women who will shape the clan’s destiny. Marriage to these strange and mysterious men will rescue each of them from desperate circumstances–and draw them into a web of danger, desire, and intrigue. . .
This is probably the last book I expected to review, but I just have so many thoughts, I figured why not.
First off, this book is a paranormal Highlander romance which is… maybe the most absurb string of adjectives ever to grace a book in my opinion? It’s also the reason I picked up this book because, second thing, I went in this book expecting to laugh at it. I already figured I wouldn’t like any Highlander romance because it’s usually written by people who have no ideas about Scottish culture or language. If you’re a diehard Highlander romance fan, don’t come at me. I’m not saying you’re a bad person for liking them.
The second thing is that the “paranormal” part of this paranormal romance is just dumb. They’re vampires, but they’re not necessarily undead, because the traits pass on genetically
The third thing about this book is that this is actually two novellas bound up in one book. That took me by surprise, because this book is only just above 300 pages. So I’ll be reviewing both books separately.
Nightriders by Hannah Howell
This book is about Bridget Callan being functionally kidnapped by the MacNachton clan of vampires and being forced to marry their laird, Cathal. But it’s written as a romance. Because of that, I will not be holding back on my thoughts of this novella.
This is really the type of story I expected when I picked up this paranormal Highlander romance novel written in 2005.
Character development? Who needs it! These characters are brown paper bags anyway!
Romantic chemistry? Just skip over the “wooing” period and expect readers to be satisfied when they’re told the characters suddenly love each other! Also the wooing period was just described as the guy making out with the girl every chance he could so… whomp whomp whomp.
It’s supposed to be a marriage of convenience because the man needs a wife and she needs her reputation reestablished because while the MacNachton clan did save her from some robbers, by whisking her away to the castle with no chaperon (because the chaperon was presumed dead), it’s a scandal. But the men never explain that to her and just tell her straight up she’s marrying the guy.
There’s also an intensely stupid reveal with Eva which is technically a spoiler so I’ll say no more, but my god.
1.5 stars. I never wanted to read a book by this author before and this book has sealed the deal.
The Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands
Eva is arranged to marry the laird of the mysterious MacAdie clan the day she’s supposed to be sent to a nunnery. Can she find love with this mysterious man? Can Connall tell his wife his family secret? Can he stop these attempts on his life?
This actually, dare I say, had potential? It wasn’t good, don’t get me wrong, but it had the bare elements of being good.
Connall barely had a personality besides being protective of the clan and his wife. Eva was severely under developed, being painfully clumsy, and naive. Some aspects of her naivety were understandable, as she was treated poorly at her previous home and always tried to not make herself be a burden (an aspect of her that is never fully explored and is just brushed off as ‘her accepting her lot in life’). Other parts were just annoying,
The “antagonist” from the barely there B-plot was so under developed he had to monologue for so many pages to explain what actually happened behind the scenes.
Also, with the sex scenes, they call a penis a “boiled sausage” throughout the entire first sex scene and its supposed to be a funny callback to something mentioned before, but its not.
It may be a little generous to give this 2.25 stars, but I’m sticking with it. Had this idea been able to be fleshed out into a full-length novel, it would’ve had room for character development, chemistry, and a proper B-plot.
Overall, this book is getting two stars. It’s exactly what I expected; a bastardization of the Scots language, weak paranormal aspects, and one or two things that surprised me. I won’t be trying any more paranormal Highlander romances, but I might try a Highlander romance in the future, we’ll see.