I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Hero in the Highlands (No Ordinary Hero, #1) by Suzanne Enoch
Series: No Ordinary Hero #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on October 4th 2016
“Adam looked liked he’s swallowed a bug. Gabriel, though, didn’t feel nearly as annoyed as his aide looked; she’d called him by his given name in front of someone else. It shouldn’t have mattered in the slightest, but it did. Covering his abrupt urge to smile by turning his back to collect Jack, he couldn’t explain even to himself what seemed to be happening, except that in the midst of this chaos and fristration at the stubborn nonsense keeping him from his duties, he felt…easier. Not quite relaxed, because God knew he’s stepped from one battle direction into another, but lighter. Because of her, and her relentless pushing at his well-established sensibilities. It would never serve him in Spain, but here humor seemed to be an essential part of dealing with Highalnders and the Highlands. And it felt like it had been a very long time since he’d laughed.”
FINAL DECISION: The is an enjoyable read that is focused a lot on the plot. The romance between Gabriel and Fiona is not that complex. Definitely external problems that keep these two apart.
THE STORY: Major Gabriel Forrester has dedicated his life to military service when he learns that he has inherited a dukedom he had no knowledge of. Traveling to Scotland, Gabriel intends to investigate his holdings, put things in order and return to the war on the Continent. When he arrives at his property, he find a curse, Highlanders unhappy with the arrival of the English Duke, sheep theft, and a woman acting as steward. Fiona Blackstock wants nothing more than for the new duke to leave but she doesn’t know what to do with the man who doesn’t act like any duke Fiona expects.
OPINION: This was the first Suzanne Enoch book I’ve read. I don’t know how it compares with her other books, but I certainly will be reading more.
The story has a slow building romance without much emotional drama between Gabriel and Fiona. This is a book that is grounded more in the plot with the drama centered there. Gabriel and Fiona have a little conflict in the beginning, but as they recognize that they can have common goals, the conflict recedes and the plot drama increases.
I really, really liked Gabriel. He is an honorable man who is trying to do the right thing. Despite the anger and dismissal that he experiences in coming to the Highlands, he always considers the feelings of others. He can understand and empathize. And when he decides that Fiona is for him, he jumps in with all his heart and mind and talents. He is willing to change everything for Fiona.
I liked the development of their relationship as partnership. When Gabriel commits himself to Fiona, he shows his willingness to listen, to learn, to take her counsel. Sometimes a hero who has not obvious flaws is boring, but not Gabriel. He struggles with finding his place in the world. He works on learning how to take what he has learned as a soldier and adopt that to a civilian world.
Fiona was a bit more of a cypher and I while I liked her character, I never felt that I understood her as well as Gabriel in this book. I suspect that there is more to learn about some of the events that formed her (especially the disappearance of her brother), but for me, there was just too much I don’t yet know.
WORTH MENTIONING: There are lot of books featuring a Scottish hero and an English heroine. I liked the switch of having an English hero and Scottish heroine, a twist I haven’t read a lot of before.
CONNECTED BOOKS: HERO IN THE HIGHLANDS is the first book in the No Ordinary Hero series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.