By Margaret Mallory
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Source: PublisherSummary: Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.
A Warrior's Heart
Connor, chieftain of the MacDonalds of Sleat, holds the fate of his people in his hands. Rival clans are plotting to take over his lands, and duty determines whom he will fight, trust . . . even marry. Seeking guidance, Connor turns to Ilysa, a young lass with the gift of foresight, who reveals an approaching danger-and a passion that burns only for him. But the warrior must make a powerful marriage alliance, and Ilysa's bloodline is far too humble.
With her powers to heal and see evil where others cannot, beautiful Ilysa dresses plainly, speaks softly, and loves her chieftain from afar. Yet when Connor finally stokes the embers of desire that have so long burned within her, Ilysa feels bliss unlike any she's ever known. Now as he is forced to place duty before happiness, Ilysa senses Connor is in grave peril. Can she find a way to prove she is the woman he needs by his side?
Connor was never meant to be the chieftain of his clan, but when his father and older brother are killed, he must step up and take their place. Other clans are planning to take over his lands with a brute force that Connor must stay on his toes to fight off. Not knowing who he can trust, Connor sees that his marriage must be one out of political necessity to calm tension between his enemy clans. Little does he know, Ilysa, the little sister of his best friend Duncan, is madly in love with him. As Ilysa starts to dress more as a woman and less as a drab, shapeless girl, Connor finds himself thinking of her more and more. Not to mention he can't seem to take his eyes off her when she's in the room. But with enemies around every corner, is there even a chance for Ilysa to finally snatch the man of her dreams?
I have no idea how Ilysa does it, but she's the absolute perfect herione for this novel. She may seem quiet, young, and naive, but she sure knows how to hold her own with men and the world around her. Ilysa's character was so cool with how she was a healer and finally let her inner women show to the men around her. I was getting tired of how she wore shapeless gowns and never showed her hair, so it was a relief when she let go and allowed men to see her for the beautiful women she is. And when I mean men, I'm obviously referring to Connor! He is such a strong, determined man and it's so adorable how he's determined to be honest to whoever he decides to marry, meaning he won't hold any mistresses like every cheiftain seems to do. Why can't all men be as perfect as him?
While the characters and the romance of this story were great, I found myself getting a bit lost in the battle talk. It seemed like all of the clans had such similar names and I kind of got confused with who was attacking who and which clans were on Connor's side. Also, I think some battle scenes/talk went on a little too long for a romance novel. Other than that, though, the chemistry between Ilysa and Connor was so sweet and I loved watching their relationship grow as Connor opened up his eyes to the beautiful woman who had been in his life for as long as he could remember.
Overall, The Cheiftain was a great historical romance that portrayed a great relationship, but relied a little too heavily on the historical highlander side of the story. You still get a fantastic romance, though, which is definitely enough to make me happy. I can't wait for the chance to check out some more of Margaret Mallory's romance novels because she sure knows how to write them!