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Highland Thief (The Sons of Gregor MacLeod Book 5)

by Alyson McLayne

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Barbara’s Rating: 3.75 of 5 Stars
Series: The Sons of Gregor Macleod #5
Publication Date: 8/24/21
Period: Medieval Scottish Highlands - 1453
Number of Pages: 384

I thoroughly enjoyed Kerr and the excitement of the chases and battles in this book. The descriptions of the crags, crevices, and forests made you feel as if you were right there on Diabhla’s back with him as they dashed away from their foes. I absolutely loved Eirik and Siv and would have loved to see more of them in the story rather than the small bit of page time they were allowed. I loved that we finally have a resolution to who was behind all of the attacks and threats throughout the series. What I absolutely did not love was Isobel. She was spoiled, self-centered, immature, and one of the most childish ‘heroines’ I’ve ever read. I had to slog through her childishness for 72% of the book before she finally had the epiphany that her tricks and traps were hurtful and dangerous – and that only happened after one of her tricks and subsequent temper tantrums almost got her and Kerr killed. I have absolutely no idea why Kerr would love her so much and pursue her so hard. Frankly, I was rooting for him to throw her into the manure trench she’d dug and tried to trick him into falling in it. The author only left a scant 28% of the book to manage to redeem Isobel – and frankly, that just wasn’t enough time. She was getting there, but it was too little, too late in my book.

“Isobel was not married, did not have children, and enjoyed devising elaborate plots and traps to put deserving people in their place. She was judge and jury for bad behavior, and when it wasn’t a crime that warranted her brother’s intervention, or when the offender was her brother, beloved or not, she took it upon herself to call the person out. Publicly. Nobody wanted to get on her bad side – except maybe Kerr MacAlister.”

Through each of the books of the series, we have born witness to the brother’s clans being attacked – one by one. Through their strong alliance, each attack has been thwarted. What none of them have been able to figure out is who is the mastermind behind the attacks. This book starts off with the brothers and their armies returning to MacKinnon Castle after their last battle. They are taking some rest time before the brothers leave for their own clans and keeps. Kerr MacAlister is the last unmarried brother and he hopes to remedy that before he leaves. He has long loved Isobel MacKinnon and wants desperately to make her his bride. While he doesn’t think she’s ready for marriage, he’d like to get things settled between them. But she has a bee-in-her-bonnet about something to do with him and he doesn’t know what it is or how to fix it. He loves Isobel and takes great delight in figuring out her traps and then thwarting them. Yet, then she devises one elaborate trap, and he’s sure it is a trap – but what if it isn’t? He’ll figure it out, thwart it, and then turn it to his advantage.

That trap, and what happens after, nearly gets both of them killed – but it uncovers an army massing to attack Kerr’s clan. As they are greatly outnumbered and Kerr is fearlessly fighting to save them, Isobel finally realizes her little trick could be the cause of Kerr’s death. They have to escape – Kerr can’t die – and they have to manage to save his clan.

“Pain thudded through her arm and chin, but it was dulled, muffled through heartache and sorrow, through fear that this mighty Highlander was going to die because of her. If she hadn’t left the castle, if she hadn’t insisted on staying once they were here, if she had married him two years ago, when she knew he wanted her to …”

I could easily give this story a 5-star rating if it weren’t for Isobel. If I were rating just her character, I’d give it maybe a 2-star rating. This is the last book in the series, but it doesn’t seem like a complete wrap-up. Yes, we know who the villain is – and he got his punishment, but it still seemed as if we were left hanging with the Campbell angle. Maybe we’ll get another book that features Gregor and his deceased wife’s cousin. At any rate, it was an exciting read with some wonderful characters – and one dud of a character. I would, however, read it again just to be able to spend time with Kerr, his brothers, Eirik and Siv.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. ( )
  BarbaraRogers | Aug 15, 2021 |
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