Title: Lana and the Highlander
Series: Untamed Highlanders #3
Author: Sabrina York
Format: Paperback & eBook, 384pgs
Published: May 31, 2016 by St. Martin’s
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 2 out of 5 Wine Glasses
LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD
Lachlan Sinclair cannot escape his accursed heritage in his Highlands homeland. Somewhat resigned to the fate that destroyed his ancestors, he is prepared to live his life without an heir, without a wife―without love. But when he meets the woman of his dreams in the flesh, the bewitching lass makes him want to throw away his cursed, restrained existence…and unleash the highlander within…
Lana Dounreay has only seen the Duke of Caithness in her dreams as a wild, rugged man, while in reality, his life has been cramped by curses and cravats. He may have forgone his kilt and lost his brogue, but Lana knows that the heart of a true Scotsman beats within his broad, muscular chest. But what plans does the mysterious, passionate Lachlan have in mind for her―and can she convince him that love is stronger than all else?
Ever since Lana almost died as a child, she has had the ability to see ghosts and learn things about people and future events. It's a blessing and a curse as it keeps her isolated from others because of their fear of her. Lachlan grew up without his parents because of an ancient curse that claims all men of the Sinclair line will die before their thirtieth birthday, unless an old family heirloom necklace broken apart can be found and brought back together. His curse has kept him isolated from others as they don't want to be attached to the "Doomed Duke". When Lana and Lachlan meet, they recognize each other from their dreams and begin to wonder if they don't have to be so alone anymore.
The third book in the Untamed Highlanders series, I had no big problems reading this as a standalone. There were obvious characters and couples from the previous books but other than missing out on the nostalgia feel of seeing them again, I didn't feel I was missing anything. I don't know about those stories but the title of this one felt a wee bit like a misnomer; our highlander was born in Scotland and is a Scottish Duke but he was raised and grew up in London and through speech and actions, acts very much like a London lord. He tries to find his warrior soul through saying "verra" and wearing a kilt later on, however.
I wasn't expecting it because the synopsis didn't give a hint to it, but this had a paranormal bent to it. Our heroine sees ghosts and can communicate with them through visions and thoughts. This was initially an interesting aspect but after it is introduced, Lana walking through the castle seeing ghosts everywhere, for the rest of the majority of the story, it is ignored. She sees the hero's dead mother and learns just enough about her story to throw a wrench into the hero's previous beliefs but of course not quite enough to solve the mystery of who the bad guy is. Her abilities are then revisited in the end when they come in handy again to save the day. The convenience and ignoring of this side of the heroine made it lack credibility and stemmed the interestingness of it and made it more tagged on.
I was not the biggest fan of the hero, he seemed almost simple. I understand he was taught and grew up with a certain narrative spoon fed to him but at twenty-nine years old, he still couldn't see the writing on the wall. I would have been ok with it for the most part but when Lana explains how ghosts don't need to open and close doors and other pertinent facts (I seriously thought she was going to have to draw him a picture), which then unravel a lot of issues and bring certain facts to light, he still blindly believes the bad guy narrative. A narrative that as it gets fully explained how it came about, to the reader, ends up with a lot of holes to it. His family has been cursed for decades, his parent's killed themselves, all men of his line die by thirty, and only finding a necklace will help but apparently the bad guy(s) made it all up? I wasn't quite sure as the ending became very convoluted as to who all the participants were in his family's demise.
Our couple had a bit of insta-lust/love going on, they dreamed about each other so they automatically thought they were each other’s "one". Lana had many contemporary views; thought having sex and having a baby out of wedlock would be no problem and an overly plucky attitude. This seemed to be a common personality trait as all the women characters were overly full of gumption. Together they interacted well but there seemed to be some depth missing. This story had the innocent tone of a Garwood but lacked the strength of story and characters.
Overall, I felt the hero needed to mature (holy cow was his belief in his family's curse, even after all was revealed, at the end annoying), the heroine's sight mentioned only when needed after the beginning introduction, and the general tangled and splotchy storyline made this an ok read.