Review: Beyond the Highland Mist

Review: Beyond the Highland MistBeyond the Highland Mist (Highlander, #1) by Karen Marie Moning
Series: Highlander #1
Published by Dell on May 29th 2007
Genres: Historical, Paranormal, Time Travel
Pages: 375

This cannot be happening.  This is not possible.  This cannot be happening.  Yet in the forefront of her mind, realist that she was, she understood that the words can’t and impossible had not bearing when the impossible was indeed happening.

Unless she woke up soon from a nightmarish and vivid dream, she was in Scotland, the year 1513, and she was indeed getting married.”

FINAL DECISION:  An enjoyable and interesting mix of genres, I thoroughly enjoyed the story but felt that the mixture was clunky at times.  I was both compelled by the story and also felt that this book needed more in the way of world-building to make this a great book.  I would definitely read more based on the romance alone.

THE STORY:  Adrienne de Simone has been cured of the attraction to handsome men.  After the horrible experience, Adrienne knows that she will never trust a handsome man again.  For this reason, Adrienne is chosen by a vengeful fey to bring her back in time almost 500 years in order to torment the fey’s enemy.

Highlander Sidheach James Lyon Douglas, third earl of Dalkeith, known as The Hawk, has been a womanizer and has become a great lover.  When the queen of the fey praises him too much, the Fae king and fool seek revenge by saddling him with a wife who will never love him and might even be persuaded to betray him.  As a result of their intervention, Adrienne ends up taking the place of the Hawk’s betrothed.  Adrienne and The Hawk begin an contentious relationship.  While the Hawk begins to fall for his wife, Adrienne remains committed to not being foolish again.

The two have to confront Adrienne’s distrust, Hawk’s painful past and lovers, and the enmity of the Fae.

OPINION:  I thought this book was an intriguing mix of genres.  That was one of its great strengths because it felt intriguing and fresh.  It was also its greatest weakness because the mix didn’t always mesh well.  In the years since this book was written, many authors have taken to the mixing of genres and this early innovator suffers a bit in comparison.  That being said, I enjoyed the romance and the interaction between the characters and I am willing to read more of the series to see how Moning developed the mixture of genres in future books.

The interaction between Adrienne and Hawk was a highlight of the book for me.  Hawk was not what I expected in the book.  It was especially nice to see such a strong, sexy, handsome historical character who really just wanted peace and a family.  I liked how Hawk is a little clueless about how to have a relationship with Adrienne and continues to make mistakes that complicate his courtship.  The book contains an interesting twist about his reputation with women that gives him a sympathetic past.  At the same time, his painful past was written in a lighter fashion than I generally prefer.  Despite his history (and that of Adrienne as well) the emphasis in the book is on the present story.  While the characters have a history, it is quickly subsumed in the drama of the present.

Adrienne is a modern woman who is swept into the past.  One of the problems I had with the book was that she didn’t seem to have any trouble with adapting to the past.  There was little time paid to the disorientation that would have to result.  (I thought that the similar A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR by Jude Deveraux did a better job with dealing with that complication).  But this book seems to be more of a paranormal fantasy book in that regard than a true time-travel.

As for the romance, I loved it and really connected with the characters.  If this had been written as a historical or time-travel book, I might have given it a higher rating.  At the same time, the paranormal elements are what make this book unique and memorable.  I just felt that this book reads as a historical/time-travel in which the paranormal elements were not integrated as well.  The Fae seem a bit disjointed from the rest of the book because they remain without a true history or world.  There is some of the feel of Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM where the fairies interfere with the mortal world, but the Fae here feel less developed than I need to truly love this book.

While I didn’t love this book, I was intrigued and fascinated by it and the possibilities as the author developed her craft further. This was my first book by Moning, but I definitely will continue reading the series.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book mixes paranormal, historical and time-travel.  It definitely pushes the boundaries of what can be expected in one romance book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  BEYOND THE HIGHLAND MIST is the first book in the Highlander series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.