Thursday, February 22

The Magificent Rogue by Iris Johansen

She was a beautiful pawn in a game of love and death

When Princess Kathryn Kentyre is snatched from a life of captivity by the mysterious Black Robert of Craighdhu, she is torn between absolute terror and soaring hope. He had been chosen to protect her from the dangers surrounding her, yet the moment he swept her away she knew this rogue of a Scottish laird would prove a greater threat than she faced from her enemies.

He was a warrior-chief torn between duty and desire

Sensuous as sin itself and wild as his native Scottish Highlands, Robert McDarren had no intention of settling down with one woman. Yet the agreement he'd struck to keep the peace required he marry the orphaned beauty and bring her back to his castle at Craighdhu for safekeeping. It was to be a marriage in name only--and only for a year. He never suspected that the meek hostage he had been promised would prove to be this firebrand of a woman, arouse his passion and lay siege to his heart.

This book was my first IJ read. And of the few that I've read of hers so far, this is my most favorite. Why wouldn't it be when it oozes intrigue and oh, boy, do I love intrigues. Not to mention that the insert art is one heck of a picture. Mmm-hmm-hmm.

Kathryn Kentyre was believed by some to be the daughter of Mary, Queen of Scots; said to have been born while Mary was imprisoned in one of Queen Elizabeth's trusted earl's estate. Although it was never public knowledge, Kate, nevertheless, grew up knowing that as fact. She also knew that she was hidden from the public and from her brother James by Queen Elizabeth. And so it was the Queen who found Robert McDarren to safely take Kate away from England and Scotland to prevent her being used as pawn in laying claim on the throne of Scotland. Black Robert was chosen by Her Majesty not only because she believed that he had the strength and character to keep her safe, but also because of his isolated home of Craighdhu. Robert only fought under its banner and no one else's. Craighdhu, an island fortress with no weakness in sight.

But Robert only agreed to the Queen's edict at the threat on the life of a kinsman. He was marrying the girl and taking her to Craighdhu. But he didn't tell the Queen that he was only keeping his 'wife' for a year because all he would allow was marriage by handfast.

Robert, however, was unprepared for the feelings he would have for Kate. He told himself that sleeping with her was just something he was taking for being forced into marriage with her by Elizabeth. But his innocent bride slipped through his defenses. And for the first time in his life, he was protecting something other than Craighdhu or his people.

Kate had found her home in Craighdhu. She might have already accepted that her marriage to Robert was a temporary one but she'd be damned if she left this one place where she was never felt like an outsider. But just when heaven was within reach, everything changed. She was being used to claim an even bigger prize--the throne of England. She turned out to be the daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Her Majesty's close friend Robert Dudley. And when opportunity came for her to claim the throne, she refused.

Kate realized she had everything she could ever want in a kingdom in Craighdhu and she was willing to give up England for that. Just like Robert's willingness to give up his precious Craighdhu to spare it from bloodshed and trouble if Kate remained there and the truth about her birth became known. But they both managed to remain safe in their island home with Elizabeth's protection. Because she left it in her official will that she left the throne to Kate and that if ever James attacked Craighdhu to remove any threat of claimants to the throne of England, she, Kate, could use the will to stop James. Or to claim what was her in the first place.

The possibility of Elizabeth I having a daughter sent my brain into overdrive. What if, what if. LOL! What did historians say on the matter when this book first came out?! (I have to research on that. Really.) It certainly has a The Da Vinci code feel to it. Not to mention that I loved both the hero and the heroine. Black Robert might have been dubbed such but he was fair and loved his people. And Kate might have been innocent but she was fierce and never backed down from anything.

So, yeah, saying that I love this book is an understatement. Obviously it warranted a reread and I still have the book after all these years. And that insert art helped a bit, too.

Final verdict: 8.5/10. Must read, must have.


Holly said...

I really love IJ's historicals. I've read a couple and just can't put them down once I start. She's amazing at keeping me drawn in.

Her contemps are pretty good, too. Well, some of them are. lol

Kookie said...

I agree. Her historical plotlines were always intriguing. But I have to admit though that I haven't spent a dime on her contemps--I've borrowed some and they were good. But not good enough for me to look look for them.

Holly said...

Hmm, I'm in the middle of reading her Eve Duncan series right now. The first book is Face of Deception and it was great. So were the following 2. I'm getting ready to order the 4th now. You should check them out during lent. :)

Kookie said...

I know I've read one of the books in her Eve Duncan series--I forgot the title though since I did it a few years back--and I think it was done very well. But it just didn't do it (enough) for me.

But thanks for the advice--I am pretty much running out of something to read these days. :o)

Zeek said...

I LOVED her historicals- I think I've read about all of them- even some of her old old silohettes!

Boy it's been awhile since I've read this one. Might have to do a reread!

Kookie said...

Her old Loveswept books were kinda good but it was a series and I didn't get to read every book. :-(

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