Dear Ms. Banks:
Your historical series is really hit or miss for me. While Genevieve McInnes and Bowen Montgomery are perfectly nice characters with a perfectly nice romance, the tone and spirit of the romance was too similar to the last one for me to fully enjoy it.
Genevieve McInnes was stolen from her bridal party and forced to become the whore of Ian McHugh. She is now disfigured after one too many attempts to resist Ian’s advances. When McHugh is driven from the keep and killed by the Montgomery and Armstrong clans in retribution for his kidnapping of Emmaline Montgomery, Genevieve hopes that she will be sent to an abbey where she could seek refuge. She cannot return to her family, despoiled and ruined.
Within the walls of the Mchugh keep, Genevieve is viewed by almost everyone as a traitor and willing whore. When Ian and his sypmathizers are ousted, the people of the McHugh clan feel free to terrorize and mistreat Genevieve in ways that they feared doing while Ian was alive from calling her names to oversalting her food to outright shunning of her. Genevieve views the treatment as understandable. She has not small amount of self loathing. She offers herself to Bowen in exchange for an agreement that he’ll deliver her to an abbey.
Genevieve is an abused woman and I guess that is why she accepted the hate and vile treatment from the McHugh clan. But her championing of the McHughs against the new invaders (the hero and his new brother in law) seemed over the top. Genevieve doesn’t have a mean or harsh thought toward anyone. She wants to absorb all the hurt into her own body.
In some ways Genevieve is a classic romance heroine. She is beautiful but has a flaw. In this case is the long jagged scar on her face wrought by the knife of Ian McHugh so no other man would want her. She’s deadly with arrows and an accomplished healer. She recognizes the good in everyone. But she did do one thing that weighs heavily on her in order to try to escape from Ian McHugh and that Bowen may not forgive.
Bowen Montgomery takes up the defense of Genevieve, against the McHugh people and to some extent even against his own people. He’s not entirely sure why and despite my view as the omniscient reader, I too, wonder how he can be so compassionate and understanding. Given that Genevieve had already suffered so much pairing her with an asshole would have been hard to read but Bowen being so good and Genevieve being so longsuffering made both come off as rather cartoonish.
While it takes a few attempts by Bowen to bed her that is all that it takes. Given the long history of torment at the hands of a sadist who mistreated her constantly, Genevieve’s acceptance of Bowen in her bed seemed a bit too easy.
This entry into the Montgomery and Armstrong books is full of sudsy angst but I had a hard time connecting with Genevieve and Bowen was a typical Scottish warrior with a good heart. C