I thought it was going to be Duncan's story that won my heart in this series, but it turns out that it's Connor's book that is my favorite. Aye, the chieftain of the MacDonald clan finally gets his turn at love, and it comes in the form of the woman who has been right in front of him the whole time.
Ilysa has been in love with Connor for as long as she can remember. She has healed him when he was hurt. She manages his keep. But in his eyes, she was always just his friend's younger sister. He never saw the woman beneath the frumpy dresses and quiet demeanor.
Now, Connor is making a home in a new castle and trying to find a wife that can unite his clan with another. Ilysa comes along, but once again, he doesn't recognize the contribution she makes. It isn't until a vision from her seer's gift warns her that he is facing danger does she take an action that changes everything. Ilysa locks him in his own dungeon to keep him from a deadly meeting... which sets in motion a chain of events that allows Connor feelings for her to change.
But it's not a clear path to happiness. Connor still thinks he must marry for the good of the clan, not for his heart. Add to that, ongoing battles between the MacDonalds and their longtime enemies the MacLeods... Connor's scheming uncle Hugh... and a traitor in the keep... and the embattled chieftain can barely find a moment's peace.
I loved Ilysa. I was afraid she was going to be a mousy pushover from what I have seen of her in previous books. But I was wrong. She has a quiet strength and resolve... and an unwavering love for Connor that is just so lovely. Connor is a little bit of an idiot in that it takes him so long to realize her worth. He's an honorable man, though. He tries to do what he thinks is right, even when it breaks his own heart. Yes, I wanted to shake him once or twice, but in the end, it was impossible for me not to root for these two to get together.
I thought this book did a great job not only with the romance, but in tying up the ongoing story arc for the MacDonald clan that was woven throughout the series. The conclusion made sense and it satisfied. (And if you are a new reader, I think it could still work as a standalone.)
I enjoyed all four books in this series, but this one was the best.
Rating: B+*ARC Provided by Forever