Saturday, November 05, 2005

Review: Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning

Miss Adrienne Doe, assumed name Adrienne de Simone, is whisked back in time to 1513 by one mischevous fairy court fool in order that the fae king's plot against his wife's supposed lover- one Sidheach Douglas,aka Hawk, Earl of Dalkieth.

Hawk, a man whose name lives in legend, has a mythical capacity to please women sexually & whose insatiability, arrogance & cynicism are revealed right at the start.

Adrienne, meanwhile, is an orphaned naif whose first & biggest mistake was to fall in love with a socially prominant New Orleans drug dealer who used her as a drug mule while pretending to groom her as his bride. She overhears the truth & then kills him. Thus she adopts a new name & runs to Seattle where she lives in fear & dread that the police or the drug mafia will find her & kill her. Adrienne decides that she hates all beautiful men- not manipulative men or drug dealers or native New Orleanean men. All beautiful men.

As I mentioned at the start, fairy court fool Amadan Dubh, kidnaps Adrienne & whisks her back to 1513 Scotland. There she is forced to assume the identity of Janet Comyn & is immediately wed to Hawk by proxy marriage. Once ensconced in Hawk's castle, Adrienne slowly adjusts to the 16th century, becomes close to Hawk's mother & enrages two of Hawk's former lovers by marrying him. There are murder attempts & fae interference, as well as gypsies & falling stars.

Mainly though, Adrienne & Hawk's relationship evolves very slowly as the two of them are forced into signifigant personal & marital growth due to behind the scenes plotting by the fae, the mysterious enemies trying to commit murder & King James' hatred of Hawk. I found Adrienne to be irritatingly stupid in her inability to differentiate between Hawk & the drug dealer. I also found the author's repetitive description of Hawk as 'perfect' & 'hung well enough to make a stallion blush' to be uninspired & tiresome. Not to mention painful. I certainly wouldn't have sex with such an overly endowed man.

Anyhow. Other than these minor quibbles, I find Beyond the Highland Mist to be an intense page turner, good until the last page (to paraphrase a coffee commercial). For those to whom it makes a difference, the book is written in standard American English as opposed to a God Awful fake Scottish brogue. Only a few uses of wee or lass. I did find Hawk's repeated references to 'taming' or 'gentling' Adrienne as if she were a falcon troubling, seemingly manipulative & condescending although Ms. Moning explains Hawk's point of view. As a 21st century woman it seemed a bit much to take, even if Adrienne did get her HEA.

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