Genevieve McInnis is a Lowland Laird’s daughter on her way to meet her betrothed. Her traveling party is intercepted and massacred. She is taken prisoner by Ian McHugh, who repeatedly rapes her, which leaves her emotionally and physically scarred.
Bowen Montogomery is a second son to a Highland Laird. His brother is the heir to this title and Bowen is his second-in-command. Bowen leads a war party to the McHugh Keep to take out Patrick McHugh, Ian’s father and Laird to that clan. Ian was killed by Bowen’s brother in the previous book because he kidnapped his wife and terrorized her.
That’s the backdrop to this story. Bowen meets Genevieve and is awestruck by her beauty, until she turns her head and he sees the puckered scar on her cheek. He learns she got this scar from Ian McHugh so no one would want to look at his prize possession that he treated worse than an animal.
He made her his whore and passed her around to his cohorts. This was her existence for a year until Ian’s death and Patrick’s desertion of his clan.
Bowen admires Genevieve’s spirit which seems unbroken most of the time. As they get to know one another, he comes to view her , even with the scar, as the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Through clan uprisings, attacks against the Keep, injuries from said attacks and idiocy from the McHugh clan, we see a beautiful love story emerge. The chemistry between the two main characters is sweet and combustible.
There were a few confusing situations for me, such as: Ian slashing Genevieve’s face so no one would look at her but he passed her around to his cronies? Doesn’t make sense to me. And her demand that her family not know she was alive due to her shame being projected on to them but her family welcomed her back with open arms. I like the idea of the later but I don’t know if I buy into it, not in a time period where image was everything.
All-in-all, this was a five star or A+ read for me. Maya Banks is fast becoming one of my favorite historical authors. I love the heroine! She was an innocent who had that innocence shattered but still managed to never truly lose hope, even as she was terrorized by clans people for things that she never asked for and never should’ve experienced. She was pitiable but never pitiful. I can’t wait for Teague’s book! In a word, this book was precious. My best read of 2013 so far.