REVIEW: Defiant by Pamela ClareMonday, August 6, 2012 1:00
After waiting so long for this series to continue – and not really knowing if it would or not! – after the first book, Surrender, was published five or six years ago, I was ecstatic when Untamed hit the shelves back in 2008 and I received a copy to review. However, again it was a long wait to see if the last MacKinnon brother would see his story told. That time has come, and it has been a moving journey to see him find love and to know the siblings no longer have blackmail hanging over them. While reading Defiant, I kept thinking that after so many years of loving these characters, living their lives with them, and now it’s all going to be over with this book. Or is it?
I’m very happy to say that the series is not yet finished. Ms. Clare will be writing Joseph’s and Lord William’s stories. The MacKinnons won’t be featured any longer, but at least we’ll get glimpses, hopefully, into their current lives to see how they’re faring as the series moves along. I’m especially curious as to what she’ll do with Lord William. The man has been a thorn in the Rangers’ sides from the beginning, and in this book it seems he loses all perspective because it’s his niece who is kidnapped and then involved with a MacKinnon. That’s all it takes for his wires to short out. But because of a later epiphany, he makes the ultimate sacrifice to see her safe and happy.
Connor is now in charge of the MacKinnon Rangers, both his older brothers having been discharged from service. This life fits him, so he’s had no regrets agreeing to take over, even having to continue working with Lord William. After English soldiers botch rescuing William’s niece and her traveling companions, he calls on Connor and Joseph, who is for all intents and purposes Connor’s brother, to find Sarah and bring her home, no matter what it takes. Having learned Indian ways from Joseph, there’s no one better equipped for this job than these two.
Knowing her life will be forfeit if she slows this Shawnee party down, Sarah surreptitiously discards buttons and bows and leaves other signs for anyone looking for her. Uncle William will surely have sent someone to rescue her. When they reach their destination, Sarah’s fear is doubled when she’s forced to run the gauntlet, but with her head held high and her strength flowing through every fiber of her being, she makes it through with little trouble. That’s when she sees him. A white man. Someone who can help her. Though she discovers that’s exactly why he’s there, everything that happens to her – to them – this night is beyond her wildest imagination.
Even though Connor and Joseph arrive before the war party, the tribe’s chief doesn’t take kindly to being outmaneuvered, and when Connor defeats the brave who abducted Sarah, they’re forced to marry immediately – and consummate the union. Otherwise, Sarah would be given back to her captor and Connor wouldn’t live to see it happen. With the deed done and an awkwardness now between them, they make their way toward Sarah’s uncle – going the long way around. Neither man doubts retaliation is waiting for them sometime during their journey.
Amid the danger all around them, Connor and Sarah also have to fight their attraction, their doubts, and their respective vulnerabilities. It’s Joseph who pushes them both to act, to find common ground and respect for each other. It’s wonderful to watch their true coming together, knowing they’re doomed once they reach civilization again. With that civilization comes William Wentworth. Though Sarah is the one person who holds a special place in his heart, when he learns who has ruined his niece, the man hits rock bottom and seizes the moment to get his final revenge against a MacKinnon. What a horrible time this is, for both Sarah and the reader. When the rest of the MacKinnons arrive, you hope all will be well. But don’t get your hopes too high.
Wentworth does everything possible to keep Connor and Sarah apart and to keep Connor a prisoner, even going so far as to take them both along when his final decision is made to set up the perfect ending to everything these characters have come to know. Even Lord Williams goes against the grain and shows some backbone for once. Those scenes are action-packed, and you don’t know until the last minute who’s survived.
Taking Sarah home, Connor now has the life he never envisioned for himself. It’s nice to see all three brothers settled and happy. There’s children everywhere and family life is good. There’s not one thing about this book I didn’t like. I really enjoyed having Scotsmen on the American frontier. The research Ms. Clare has done is phenomenal, and you could swear at times you’re right in the thick of all the goings-on. I know I heard a delicious Scottish brogue a time or two.
Here’s hoping this series has found a home and it won’t take nearly as long for the upcoming books to hit the shelves. I’m hoping in that shorter period of time I can find it in my heart to read about Lord William. He needs more of a comeuppance before he finds a happily ever after. Yes, that’s the mean side of me talking. Seems Pamela Clare is good at pulling it out of me!
Major Connor MacKinnon despises his commander, Lord William Wentworth, beyond all other men. Ordered to rescue Wentworth’s niece after the Shawnee take her captive, he expects Lady Sarah Woodville to be every bit as contemptible as her uncle. Instead, he finds a brave and beautiful lass in desperate peril. But the only way to free Sarah is for Connor to defeat the Shawnee warrior who kidnapped her—and claim her himself.
Torn by tragedy from her sheltered life in London, Lady Sarah is unprepared for the harshness of the frontier-or for the attraction she feels toward Connor. When they reach civilization, however, it is she who must protect him. For if her uncle knew all that Connor had done to save her, he would surely kill him.
But the flames of passion, once kindled, are difficult to deny. As desire transforms into love, Connor will have to defy an empire to keep Sarah at his side.
Read an excerpt.