Since I started reading Pamela Clare's Kenleigh/Blakewell Family Trilogy with Sweet Release, I thought I'd read the next one in the series since the premise was too good to ignore.
Jamie, the young brother from Sweet Release is the hero in this tale. He is all grown up and has gone to England to arrange for military intervention to help fight the French American War. While there he stays with a university friend who recently became an Earl, but his friend has changed a lot since their young years and Jamie finds that Sheff's behavior is cruel and intolerable. When a mere look at a local Irish lass has her hauled to the manor and presented to him as gift, Jamie feels the need to rescue her.
Brighid has had her share of run ins with the English and after her father is taken from his home and sent to the colonies as an indentured servant, she holds no faith toward the English. When she has to give herself to the Earl's guest in order to save her brother's life, her hatred grows, but then Jamie spares her the act of consummation and she questions her feelings toward the handsome Sasanach.
At first Brighid doesn't believe that Jamie could be different from all the other Englishmen she has encountered but he keeps risking his neck for her and her kin and she finds her heart melting. The fact that their love can never be, since she's a catholic and he a protestant doesn't deter her in giving him her heart.
Clare weaves a tale that has a flow so smooth it has us grasping at every word. Sheff is a true villain and Jamie is a true hero. Maybe that is the single flaw in this book. Jamie is just too perfect. Brighid is not without flaw which makes her very real (and sometimes annoying) and the contrast is very sharp against Jamie. Don't get me wrong, Brighid has reason to be so distrustful and so adamant in staying with her brothers but we see the Jamie she can't believe is real.
Anyway, the book was excellent and it kept me up to the wee hours in the morning gobbling it up. Definitely would recommend this one.