by Lecia Cornwall
Series: A Highland Fairy Tale #1
Published on June 21, 2016 by Swerve
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
Powerful and dangerous highlander Dair Sinclair was once the favored son of his clan, The Sinclairs of Carraig Brigh. With Dair at the helm, Sinclair ships circled the globe bringing home incredible fortune. Until one deadly mission when Dair is captured, tortured and is unable to save his young cousin. He returns home breaking under the weight of his guilt and becomes known as the Madman of Carraig Brigh.
When a pagan healer predicts that only a virgin bride can heal his son’s body and mind, Dair’s father sets off to find the perfect wife for his son. At the castle of the fearsome McLeods, he meets lovely and kind Fia MacLeod.
Although Dair does his best to frighten Fia, she sees the man underneath the damage and uses her charm and special gifts to heal his mind and heart. Will Dair let Fia love him or is he cursed with madness forever?
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I’ll be honest. I read this book mostly for the cat, Beelzebub.
A play on Beauty and the Beast, this book set in the Scottish highlands keeps with the thread of light romances. The beauty, Fia, is sweet and innocent, very sheltered and with a healer’s touch. Her beast, Dair, has suffered from an accident that killed his cousin and left him a shell of the man he once was. Both also must deal with physical disabilities in the form of a limp, which I mention because it’s odd to see that in a romance so kudos to Cornwall for including it.
This book just really didn’t do much for me in terms of the romance, which was kind of why I was reading it. My sympathies fell with Dair’s character who must suffer the label of “mad” when it’s not the case, only how the people of the time period in this story know how to make sense of it. The same with Fia’s healing skills and “witchcraft.” But despite the sympathy, I didn’t feel the swoon I usually do for the male lead. Nor did I care much whether Fia and him managed to get together. Though the stakes were high at times.
But even then, they weren’t, because this book was too predictable. The villain too easily figured out. It took out the fun when I pinned the dastardly person near the beginning of the book and just had to wait until they decided to reveal themself in a dramatic manner (because that was definitely going to happen).
Not to mention that several elements of this story were just flat-out unrealistic. They didn’t make sense that the characters would do this or think that except for the purpose of the story, but it ultimately detracted from it.
I did enjoy the overall story idea. I love Beauty and the Beast re-tellings and if you look at this book from the big picture, it’s a decent story. The characters seemed to flip-flop a bit as she tried to fit them into whatever role the scene required, but they weren’t terrible. And the writing was alright. Not anything great but I’d say pretty average.
Honestly, I think this book had it in there to be something great but when it came to executing the idea something didn’t go quite right. I just couldn’t get into the romance. The chemistry felt forced because the author seemed conflicted about what she wanted from her characters. Which made me, as the reader, conflicted about how I should feel about them.
I desperately wanted a Beauty and the Beast re-telling from this, with the magic and romance that comes with it, but Beauty and the Highland Beast fell flat for me. I was missing the romance in a romance novel.