Review – The Making of a Highlander by Elisa Braden

About the Book:

In Elisa Braden’s enchanting new Midnight in Scotland series, the unlikeliest matches generate the greatest heat. All it takes is a spark of Highland magic.

“Make me a lady, and I’ll make ye a Highlander.” –Mad Annie Tulloch, Scottish lass

“Challenge accepted.” –John Huxley, English gentleman

No lady can tempt him more than the next shore
Everyone wants handsome adventurer John Huxley to settle down—family, friends, London society. Everyone except John. He’s evaded too many scheming title huntresses to trust in happily-ever-after. Now, a vow made to a dying friend has him locked in a land dispute with a stubborn Scot who offers one way out: Win the Highland Games. John likes a challenge, but this one’s impossible. Still, with training from the Scot’s stepdaughter, victory might be within reach. He only has to teach the fiery, foul-mouthed, breeches-wearing lass how to land a lord. It seems “impossible” is just getting started.

She’s no lady—she’s Mad Annie Tulloch
Everyone calls her Mad Annie. True, her best friend is a ghost. And yes, her greatest talents involve cooking for giants and taunting ridiculously handsome Englishmen. But she’s not mad—she’s desperate. To save her friend, Annie must marry a lord. The trouble is, no lord will look twice at a hoyden like her. This calls for “Lady Lessons,” and she knows just the uptight Englishman to provide them.

When did a simple bargain become a battle of desire?
Amidst cursed castles, caber tossing, and questionable chaperones, John and Annie’s wildfire attraction threatens to send their plans up in flames. And when Annie’s family is targeted by a dangerous enemy, John is tempted to stay, to fight, and to win the greatest prize of all: A fiery lass’s tender, loyal heart.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                             The Making of a Highlander (Midnight in Scotland Book 1)

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Annie Tulloch is not your typical heroine.  She’s a brazen, trousers wearing young lady with a penchant for swearing.  Oh, and she has a young boy as her companion – one who is, shall we say, different?  It seems not everyone can see Finlay, who has been her friend since her mother died when she was only six years old.  Annie is now twenty four, and Finlay has begun to fade.  Desperate to do anything to keep her only friend in her life, “Mad” Annie misinterprets Finlay’s final advice, which is to marry a lord and fulfill her destiny.  Thinking that this means she’ll be able to keep Finlay, Annie seeks out the only man she knows who has the knowledge to turn her into a lady suitable to marry a lord.

Englishman John Huxley has been forced to stay in Scotland until a land dispute is settled regarding property he inherited from his deceased business partner and friend.  He promised to never sell the land to Angus, who happens to be Annie’s stepfather.  Annie enjoys watching the animosity between the two men, and also loves to needle John every chance she gets.  When John is approached by Annie with a proposition, he accepts.  He’ll teach her how to become a lady, and she’ll train him to compete in the upcoming games, where he hopes to best Angus and his sons.

Though they continue their bantering and insults while training, Annie and John have a strange attraction for each other.  Gradually they form a friendship.  When John learns how most of the people in the village ridicule Annie, his protectiveness kicks into gear, and his actions are swoonworthy.  Though Annie is longing for, at the very least, a kiss from the man she dubs “English,” John remains the gentleman.  Mostly.  When one of Annie’s stepbrothers is targeted by an unknown enemy, and almost killed, John steps in again, saving his life.  This action ends the antagonism between John and Angus, leaving John free to court Annie, which is something he’s found he desperately wants to do.

John and Annie have taken a decidedly steamy direction in their relationship.  I love their passion, their witty banter, and their humor.  But John is still harboring a secret that Annie doesn’t know.  Past lessons have wounded him enough that he needs to be sure he’s loved for himself as a person, not his wealth or connections or family.  He is also harboring doubts about Annie’s insistence on marrying a lord.  Thus, they have some obstacles to overcome before they can have a future together.

THE MAKING OF A HIGHLANDER is a truly wonderful story with characters I came to love so much.  John has such a big heart and so much affection to give to the right woman hidden beneath his proper English exterior.  Annie is vulnerable underneath her bravado, as well as being intelligent and determined.  Their story is heartwarming, moving, steamy, and so romantic. THE MAKING OF A HIGHLANDER is one of those books I couldn’t read quickly enough, yet hated to see end.  If this first book is any indication, I have a feeling this new series is going to be great!    ~Rose

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