The Recruit (The Highland Guard Series) by Monica McCarty

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This story is about Helen Sutherland (or rather McKay)’s brother Kenneth Sutherland. He had a goal— to get a place in the Highland Guards, since Gordan was killed in the last book, and Bruce needed a replacement. The main female character was Mary of Mar, who was sister-in-law to Bruce. She had been previously married to a man who was killed by Edward, as he was fighting for Bruce. However, it’s not just the killing of him that hurt her, it was the way he treated her when he was alive, his arrogance, his need to have an adoring audience…similar to Kenneth. Kenneth was known by his hot temper (which he could not control), and to earn his way a place into Bruce’s Highland Guards, he needed to be able to defeat his ill- discipline first, and succeeded at a task Bruce presented him.

From ‘the Saint’, Kenneth was known as a very hot-tempered person…not my idea of a romantic and brooding hero (The Rock comes into mind)…thus I wasn’t holding my breath with anticipation before starting to read it. But it surprised me. To me, this book is more about Kenneth’s fight into a place in the Highland Guards (and about his fight his entire life to prove himself) than about his wooing of Mary of Mar. The feelings evoked are less intense than the previous books, but there were so many funny moments! The bantering between MacKay and him provided a constant source of laughter (I think my roommate must have thought I’m crazy!) And I loved that so many of the previous heroes and their wives were mentioned.

 I may not rate it as highly as other books because I did not think the plot concentrated too much on the romance, nonetheless, the determination of Kenneth throughout the book, how he earned the respect (albeit reluctantly) of the other Guards and Bruce, and the constant humour! Oh the humour!—made it a very good book.  When I’m too emotionally drained to read the previous struggles in the previous books, I will turn to this one.

 On a side note, I can’t wait to read every book in this series! Especially ‘The Arrow’! Apparently it just got released though, and I’m so excited! I’ve finished 6 books of the series in less than 2 weeks (although I was trying to read them slowly…as I don’t want to read them when I’m tired…and with my 11-hour work days you can just imagine how little sleep I’ve got.) But I’m so excited! And I know I’m gonna be soo Highland Guards-deprived when I finally finish ‘The Arrow’!

Rating: 3.5/5

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