Successful matchmaker Brianagh O'Rourke believes in happily ever afters...just not her own. She's convinced passion exists only in her dreams. When she reluctantly accepts a marriage proposal, Bri decides she needs a vacation - but she doesn't expect it to be in 15th-century Ireland.
Laird Nioclas MacWilliam just wants peace for his clan. The time for him to marry has come, and after waiting years for his ally to present their daughter, he's agreed to marry another. But on the eve of his nuptials, a daring rescue brings his missing betrothed right into his arms. And she does not want to be there.
Brianagh has to return to the future. Nioclas has to marry. He offers a solution for the both of them: She marries him and stays for three months, and they work together to convince his clan they are a love match. In return he vows to safely return her home. But as the days turn to weeks, they both begin to see what a happily ever after could be. And when the time comes, does Brianagh return to the life she's built, or does she remain in the past for a chance at true love?
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great debut offering and a wonderful start to a series
Toss together a prophecy, a matchmaker, a retreat to Ireland that soon tosses the heroine into the 15th century and a fiancé in the present time who just isn’t Mr. Right and you get The Winter Laird, the debut offering from Nancy Scanlon.
As a matchmaker, Brianagh is incredibly successful, and believes that her clients all deserve, and thus get, a Happy Ever After. She, however, isn’t convinced that more than a comfortable is good enough for now is in the cards for herself. Her long term relationship, Matthew is less than perfect, but pragmatism wins and when he proposes, she says yes. But she hasn’t really settled, or only settled about 75% because in her dreams she has found the perfect man, until she sees him killed and is convinced it is her fault.
Thinking she needs a break before her own wedding (and more of Matthew’s juvenile behavior) she heads to Ireland to commune with her roots. When the O’Rourke clan’s story of being passage keepers for time is revealed, she thinks it quaint – and then.
Thrust back into time, she meets the man from her dreams: only to find out they were promised as children. Nicolas has spent the past 20 years searching for this woman he knows to be his – but time is passing and he worries his chances for any marriage are decreasing. And then, there she is, exactly as he pictured her.
Far less focus on the romance, while the two do find a connection and work to overcome their own hesitations and curious circumstances to build to a possible happy ending. With a mix of past, present and future the story moves forward with a fast pace, and occasionally the frequent switches in time are dizzying, as Brianagh does NOT adjust her behavior after the time slip. This made for a few confusing passages until the present scene sorted itself out, but I was so engaged and intrigued that those moments didn’t matter overmuch. Nicolas is a far better man and match for Bri, and his honor and faith in her and her strange story fit perfectly with his being an Irishman from his time: fae and the impossible were often far easier to believe. Dialogue and situations blend nicely, feeling possible and plausible, and the few twists add intrigue and drama to the plot, as it all resolves neatly and satisfactorily, without feeling rushed or pushed.
A great debut offering and a wonderful start to a series that mixes time travel, history and a touch of romance in an era and a place (Ireland) that is not overly common in today’s fiction.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.