Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Review: Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall

Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall
Series: Highland Fairy Tale, Book 1
Publisher: Swerve
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781250111616
Release Date: June 21, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Powerful and dangerous highlander Dair Sinclair was once the favored son of his clan, The Sinclairs of Carraig Brigh. With Dair at the helm, Sinclair ships circled the globe bringing home incredible fortune. Until one deadly mission when Dair is captured, tortured and is unable to save his young cousin. He returns home breaking under the weight of his guilt and becomes known as the Madman of Carraig Brigh.

When a pagan healer predicts that only a virgin bride can heal his son’s body and mind, Dair’s father sets off to find the perfect wife for his son. At the castle of the fearsome McLeods, he meets lovely and kind Fia MacLeod.

Although Dair does his best to frighten Fia, she sees the man underneath the damage and uses her charm and special gifts to heal his mind and heart. Will Dair let Fia love him or is he cursed with madness forever?

Dair Sinclair was once a sailor, brave and bold, until he and his cousin were taken captive, his men were killed, and he was forced to watch his cousin be raped, tortured, and murdered. Dair barely survived his imprisonment, but his physical wounds are the least of his problems. People believe him to be mad, and he doesn’t think they’re wrong. His father is determined to heal him, so determined he takes the advice of a healer who says that only a virgin can cure his son.

Fia is the overlooked daughter of the McLeod brood. A childhood accident left her with scars and a limp, and she’s mostly forgotten about, left to tend wounded animals. When she’s offered the chance of an adventure, she takes it, hoping she can help. The attraction she feels for Dair is surprising, as is the fact that, for once, someone truly seems to see her. But Dair’s demons aren’t the only obstacles the two must overcome if they hope to have a fairytale happily ever after.

The classic tale of a beauty who saves her beast is given an eighteenth century Scottish twist in Beauty and the Highland Beast. Lecia Cornwall mixes fairytale romance with darker elements in this fast-paced first installment of her Highland Fairy Tale series.

Fia is a charming heroine with a kind heart and a gift for healing. She’s so sweet, it’s not surprising animals and people flock to her, but I liked that Ms. Cornwall never entered saccharine territory with Fia. She’s got a backbone that goes with the giving heart, making her a heroine you can root for. Dair is a man who isn’t cursed, but rather coping with psychological trauma in a time when no one understood such things. He’s drowning in the past until Fia gives him a reason to look to the future. I liked Dair, was intrigued by the glimpses of his character that we were given, but I never felt I truly got to know who he was as a man. This made it slightly difficult to become invested in the romance; with only one character feeling truly formed, the love story is enjoyable, but never felt like it reached its true potential.

Beauty and the Highland Beast has both lighthearted humor (mostly in the form of Fia’s beast of a cat) and incredibly dark elements, and the two don’t blend together as well as they could or should. Rather than blending the light and the dark, the story went back and forth between the two. Without giving spoilers, I can only say that individually, the brighter moments were charming and fun, and the darker elements were ominous and left me with a vague feeling of disquiet even after all was said and done. In other words, all the right pieces of an engaging tale were there – they simply could have fit together smoother. Still, as it stands, Ms. Cornwall has delivered an enjoyable twist on a fairytale with a likeable hero and heroine and a story where love conquers all. Even though the story was a bit uneven, I liked Beauty and the Highland Beast well enough that I’m looking forward to reading the next Highland Fairy Tale book.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.