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The Recruit: A Highland Guard Novel by…

The Recruit: A Highland Guard Novel (edition 2012)

by Monica McCarty

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Title:The Recruit: A Highland Guard Novel
Authors:Monica McCarty
Info:Ballantine Books (2012), Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
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The Recruit by Monica McCarty



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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Good book. This is the first of this series I have read, and though reading the others would help with information about the other characters, it's not necessary. I really enjoyed the setting of the book as I haven't read many from this time period. The characters were well done and I liked learning more of this time in Scotland's history.

Mary has had a rough life so far and she's only twenty-six years old. She was married at fourteen to a man older than she was. She idolized him, as a warrior and a hero. But he was a terrible husband. He never stopped seeing her as his child bride, even as she got older. She tries everything she can think of to get him to fall in love with her. Her love for him is destroyed when she discovers that he's far more interested in other women than in her. Then he changes sides in the war, causing the king to take her infant son from her, and eventually ends up hanged for treason. Her sister comes to England to try to take her back to Scotland, with disastrous results, and Mary is stuck in England. She is determined to survive, and also that she will not marry again and put herself in the same position. She is also finally in the same place as her son, who is a squire, and getting to know him again. Then she is sent to Scotland with a delegation working on a truce, and asked to spy on the Bruce who was her brother-in-law. There she meets Kenneth Sutherland, who really shakes up her life. She discovers that he's being put forward as a husband for her. She's not interested, she finds him far too much like her late husband to want him for a husband.

Kenneth is a second son who is tired of coming in second to everyone and everything. He is determined to earn a place in the Highland Guard. He has an excellent chance at it, if he can just keep his temper and his attention on what he's doing. A chance encounter with Mary is a distraction he doesn't need, but he's determined to get her where he wants her. When he succeeds in his seduction, it leaves a greater impression than he expected, and a distraction at just the wrong time. He ends up losing the competition that would secure his place in the Guard. Not only that, he discovers that Mary isn't just some maid, she's the woman that the Bruce wants him to marry. He's not wild about the idea of being married at all.

From there, Kenneth and Mary part ways, never expecting to see each other again. Kenneth gets a second chance at the Guard, undergoing rigorous training, but not able to forget Mary. Meanwhile, she returns to England, with a secret she's not sure what she's going to do about, also unable to forget that incredible encounter with Kenneth. But Fate isn't done with them yet, and Kenneth's first mission for the Guard has him right back in Mary's life.

This is where it gets really interesting. The attraction between Mary and Kenneth is just as hot as ever. When Kenneth discovers the secret she's been keeping, he is determined to marry her. He's got a big secret of his own that he's keeping from her, and as time goes on it begins to weigh on him. He looks at their marriage as a way for him to gain her love and therefore make her willing to do what he needs her to do. He's not used to having to work for a woman's attentions and it was rather sweet to see the lengths that he went to in order to win her. But Mary still has the same trust issues regarding Kenneth's ability to be faithful and to protect her. As the weeks go on, they get closer. Mary tentatively starts to believe in Kenneth and finds that she has lost her heart in spite of all her efforts. Kenneth was only supposed to concentrate on his mission, not get sucked into marriage and love. His overprotectiveness and jealousy get him into some trouble both with Mary and with his team.

There was so much intrigue and secret keeping that I kept wondering what was going to happen next. The initial interactions between Kenneth and Mary, which only seemed to reinforce Mary's opinion of him, were hot enough to scorch the pages, but didn't look promising for a happy outcome. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the training that Kenneth went through and the grief that he got from the Guard members went a long way toward increasing his maturity. When he was in England he had to call on that maturity to stay on task, not an easy thing for him to do, especially as things really started to heat up. Mary also had some growing up to do, as she began to realize that maybe there was more to Kenneth than she had previously believed. She had to face her growing feelings for Kenneth and decide if she was going to trust him or not. And then there were the things that Kenneth was trying to discover for the Bruce while maintaining his cover. This became more difficult with his marriage, because he made an enemy of one of Mary's suitors. The final showdown was heartpounding in its intensity, and the happy ending for Mary and Kenneth perfect for them. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Oct 24, 2014 |
Kenneth didn't start out strong for me. He was kind of a dolt with a bad temper. But I really appreciated his efforts to join the Highland Guard and his wooing of Mary. Like most of the heroines in this series I liked Mary pretty much right away. She's doing her best in an impossible situation at a time when women really have no rights. These two definitely fell in sex before they fell in love and that doesn't always work for me in a historical setting, the consequences for the woman are too dire. But their relationship in the second half really grew on me and I think they ended up being one of my favorite couples of the series when they're together at the end. As always I'm looking forward to what's next in this series. ( )
  CCleveland | Oct 20, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Another great book from the Early Reviewers program, I couldn't put it down, of course I had to, to you know eat, sleep and work . Looking forward to the next one.
  mermaidjoy | Nov 8, 2013 |
Kenneth Sutherland is bold, fierce, strong, a great warrior but has a temper that always gets the best of him: he always comes in second, no matter what he do.
Determined to prove himself to Bruce in order to be part of the Guard, Kenneth, with some rules imposed by Magnus MacKay, needs to win every tournament of the Highland Games to become his partner. But they are enemies for a long time and it's hard not to provoke him.
Mary of Mar is a virtual prisoner in England, a stranger to her son and a widow of a traitor rebel. Since the time her sister, Janet of Mar, tried to rescue her and had disappear on the process that Mary sustains herself. But all changes when Bruce summons her to Scotland in order to marry Kenneth.
Mary goes to Scotland has a spy for Edward and tells Bruce that she has no intention to marry anyone but one look at Kenneth and lust and a night of 'freedom' becomes very appealing.
But the night of 'freedom' had come with a price and now they must do the best they can, for themselves and for Scotland and Bruce.

I liked this one. Kenneth turned out to be a 'better person' that I expected. Although in this book there isn't much action scenes or scenes about the Guard as an ensemble, we can understand the motif. There is a continuity since book one that is missed if we don't read it in order. Kenneth needs to prove himself to him and to the others, especially Mary. Even if this story is loosely based on real historical facts, it's a great one. ( )
  Lost_Lenore | Jul 25, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Well I jumped right in this and loved second of it - A rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs - McCarty has a way of writing that lets you feel it all right along with her characters and I often found myself wanting to strangle Mary & Kenneth =) I had missed the last couple of books in this series but was able to jump right back in without any problems - Great story - Highly enjoyable - I would recomend to everyone! ( )
  historicalbooklover | Nov 27, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Monica McCartyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferguson, AntonyReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koerten, AnkeÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345528417, Mass Market Paperback)

Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce is retaking his kingdom from the invading English. To win, he’ll need all the grit and courage of his elite band of warriors, the Highland Guard, men who fight without fear and love without limits.
Fiery, aggressive, and bold, Kenneth Sutherland is a true champion—skilled with any weapon and driven to win. Now Kenneth is ready for his greatest challenge: joining Robert the Bruce’s secret army to fight among the elite. Kenneth’s best chance to attain that honor is by winning the Highland Games. Focused and prepared for victory, he is caught off guard by a lovely wisp of a woman—and a stolen moment of wicked seduction. Her innocent arousal and her shameless hunger fire his blood. He will win his place in the guard—and in Mary of Mar’s bed.
The ruggedly handsome hero-in-the-making stirs a heart that should know better. Mary vows that her surrender will be sport only—no promises, no heartbreak, just one night of incredible passion. Nothing, she swears, will persuade her to give up her hard-wrought independence and put her fate in the hands of another powerful man. But with every gentle touch and heart-pounding kiss, Kenneth makes her want more. Now Mary wants his heart. But is this determined champion willing to surrender everything for love?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:16 -0400)

Kenneth Sutherland is determined to prove himself worthy of a place in Robert the Bruce's Highland Guard, but his unexpected strong attraction to Mary of Mar makes him vow to win both admission into the Guard and Mary's heart.

(summary from another edition)

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