Powerful and dangerous highlander Dair Sinclair was once the favored son of his clan, The Sinclairs of Carraig Brigh. With Dair at the helm, Sinclair ships circled the globe bringing home incredible fortune. Until one deadly mission when Dair is captured, tortured and is unable to save his young cousin. He returns home breaking under the weight of his guilt and becomes known as the Madman of Carraig Brigh.
When a pagan healer predicts that only a virgin bride can heal his son’s body and mind, Dair’s father sets off to find the perfect wife for his son. At the castle of the fearsome MacLeods, he meets lovely and kind Fia MacLeod.
Although Dair does his best to frighten Fia, she sees the man underneath the damage and uses her charm and special gifts to heal his mind and heart. Will Dair let Fia love him or is he cursed with madness forever?
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There are some wonderful elements in the mix here
The first in a new series that channels a fairy tale, Cornwall starts the story with an introduction to Dair. Sharing his struggles and the plots and rumors behind his new-found reputation as the Madman of Carraig Brigh. It was a long getting-to-know-you process, as Dair’s father is using a touch of mystical to bring him ‘the cure’, in finding him a virgin to cure what ails. So, right off, the story is building with superstition and magic, and a quest. So far, so good.
Then we meet Fia, a young woman from a rival clan. Perhaps the woman the fey midwife spoke of to Dair’s father. Scarred and lame, she’s spent much of her time sheltered by her family because of the injuries. Fia believes she can help Dair after hearing of his struggles with captivity and guilt from his cousin’s death. While she won’t be the choice for his bride, she is willing and eager to help.
The two have plenty of obstacles to overcome. Dair’s guilt and fear won’t allow him to risk caring, lest he not be able to protect a new love. Fia is less concerned for her own self even as she felt the sting of not being ‘enough’. Soon after, deceptions and manipulations start to influence the progression of their time together. When you mix in a terroristic cat named Beelzebub, with his ability to overrule and threaten braw Highland warriors, there is imagery to delight and entertain.
The setting is described with care, and easy to visualize in this lengthy story. Dair and Fia were well described, and their characters developed naturally if a bit too slowly for my liking. It was easy to see the connection to the fairy tale, and the elements of magic and superstition did add in some elements of mystery and left questions yet unanswered. Where I found the story intriguing and interesting, it felt more English than Scottish in tone. Nothing to do with speech or dialect, I missed the sense of the Highlands. There are some wonderful elements in the mix here, and I am curious to see whether or not the tale of Carraig Brigh will continue.
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.
1/3 the way in and can't open the book. Formatted incorrectly. Can't re download.
Loved this sooo much
So much fun! This was such a great, light-hearted, historical romance with just a enough of a hit of classic fairy tale. Dair is a wonder beast - haunted by tragedies in his past that he blames on himself, he haunts Carraig Brigh with his nightmares and terrors. When it is foretold that only a virgin can save him, everyone loses hope (apparently there aren't many in the area). But when Dair's father visits the lands of the Fearsome McLeods, he finds a couple that just might work.
Fia was a breath of fresh air. She was a helper and a healer. Satisfied with her place in life and the knowledge that she would be there for the rest of her days - until Dair. Once she meets Dair her dreams change, and she finds that her presence and voice offer a comfort to him that none have been able to provide. She may really be able to magically vanquish his crazed side.
But there are rumors of a witch, and Fia will find herself caught up in the superstition. Her life will be at risk, and along with it, the very sanity that allows Dair to be laird of the land. A great mix of suspense and daring, love, and a bit of fairy tale magic (but no actual magic) brings this story together in a way that I just loved.