The 5th book in the series. I’ve just finished reading this in one sitting and I’m not sure what my thoughts were. I’ve anticipated reading this book, and had waited 4 days before reading it, because I know this was the only time in the week I could spare to read the whole story without taking breaks, and from the reviews I’ve seen on Goodreads, I know that this story would be absolutely heartbreaking, and I would need the energy for that!!
Maybe I had expected too much from this one. Afterall, it’s about McKay ‘The Saint’ who’s the quiet and calm-tempered one, who didn’t talk about women with his comrades around the campfire. And I’ve read that he’s been in love with Helen— his family’s greatest enemy’s daughter since he was young (eighteen), waited a few years for her, and endured being battered by her clansman (Munro) in the Highland Games, before he won and deemed himself worthy to ask for her hand in marriage. She was young back then, and with only five minutes to consider his proposal of running away with him, she was persuaded by her brother not to agree. And so she turned down his proposal. McKay was hurt and then left to fight for Bruce. However, when he just joined the Highland Guard, he learnt that his best friend William Gordan (Templar) was just betrothed to Helen, whose brother didn’t want to waste time marrying her to another man. Very hurt, but still believing he could control his love for her and eventually forgot about her, he didn’t tell Gordon he was in love with the latter’s betrothed until he attended (very reluctantly) the wedding.
First off, I love Gordon! He’s such a good-natured person! Why did he have to die? Why couldn’t all the Highland Guards have good and happy endings? OK, I’m not the author, so I couldn’t foresee how the situation between McKay and Helen would have been rectified if he didn’t die but he’s such a sweet man! So handsome! And he even gave Helen the choice of an annulment when he knew that Helen only loves his best friend!
The story revolved around McKay ‘s guilt. He loves Helen but he’s torn with guilt over loving his best friend’s wife, and on the night of the wedding all the Guards were called up on a mission when Gordon was seriously injured. To prevent him from being recognized , McKay had to kill and deface him (Why why why?Why does this have to happen to a sweet man?). All these guilt made him appear unmoving to Helen’s ‘advances’. I supposed from the coldness from him, then realizing he loved her and didn’t want to lose her, then ignored her again because of the guilt, then realized he wanted her again made me sort of….lose my intense emotions. But I’m happy to see the tender, boyish, sweet and possessive side of the Saint.
Helen from the start was confusing. She refused to accept McKay’s proposal (which I couldn’t blame as she was so young), and then ended up marrying Gordon when she thought that McKay didn’t love her, though she knew that she didn’t love Gordon (Why did she have to marry Gordon and hurt him?!) Oh well, she’s a confusing character— at first I felt irritated with her, then very impressed with her strength and the determination she had to try to get McKay back.
I love the backdrop of the story… Helen’s oldest brother Will and Muriel. And I absolutely love Donald, although he couldn’t replace Gordon in my heart.
All in all, this story didn’t give me the emotional rollercoaster which I expected (which is a good thing as my heart may not be able to take it), but it did keep me interested to the very end. At least I know how the Saint got his happiness. After reading it a few times though, I realised if Helen was to agree to Magnus’ proposal from the start (Alright! There’ll be no plot to read!), they wouldn’t have loved each other that deeply as they didn’t understand each other that well in the beginning. After all they’ve been through though, it’s so touching to learn now they overcame each’s own difficulties.