Pros: Good emotional development in the heroine
Cons: Historical context isn’t explained, characters can be unsympathetic
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Scottish laird Alan has just been married to the beautiful Sorcha. After the couple retire to the cottage where they are to spend the wedding night, they are taken by surprise when Alan’s friend, the Earl of Camdonn, breaks in and kidnaps Sorcha. Cam had been her lover before she married Alan, and has hopes of rekindling their relationship. Alan chases after her, but what will happen once he finds out that she wasn’t an innocent? And what will become of the once-strong friendship between Alan and Cam?
Dawn Halliday’s Highland Obsession was actually a little difficult for me to finish; there were several elements that made it rough reading for me. One of the things that initially stood out was the fact that no historical context is provided for the names and terms being used in the novel. It made the book frustrating to read because it felt like I didn’t always understand why things were happening. I wound up having to do some online research after I’d finished the book just to get an idea of what was going on.
I also had some trouble finding the male characters sympathetic. Cam, after he has kidnapped Sorcha, takes her back to his castle and carries her up to his bedroom despite her protests. He wants her so badly that he has trouble taking no for an answer, and doesn’t even think about the fact that he’s ruining her in the eyes of her husband. It takes her breaking down in tears for him to realize that she’s going to be faithful to Alan. His interest in her seems to border on obsession. Granted, he gets better as the book goes on, but there are times when there’s an element of creepy stalker guy.
Alan can also be less than spectacular; when he finds out that Sorcha wasn’t the innocent she acted on her wedding night he treats her with contempt and disdain. Which is understandable, given that she was less than honest with him, but he lets it drag out over a substantial portion of the book. He justifies this by repeatedly citing his pride, which won’t seem to let him forgive or forget, despite the fact that Sorcha is trying to patch things up with him. This awkward state of affairs went on for so long that I reached the point that I thought I could expedite a reconciliation by dragging the two onto Dr. Phil and forcing them to sit down and talk it out.
After a while it started to feel like hurt feelings and misunderstandings were the only thing moving the plot forward. At one point towards the end of the book, Alan and Sorcha have finally begun to reconcile, when an encounter between Alan, Sorcha and Cam creates another misunderstanding and hurt feelings. I felt that Halliday could have left that incident out entirely and ended the book a little sooner. I can understand a misunderstanding driving the plot, but when it’s one after the other the reading just gets tedious.
The author does, however, have a good grasp of Sorcha’s feelings throughout the book. The conflicting feelings of being attracted to Cam while wanting to keep her marriage vows are well-detailed, and her desire to please her new husband leaves the reader with a great deal of sympathy, especially since as cold as Alan is to her, she still wants to make things better.
This book could have been a lot stronger if the conflict had not revolved around a series of misunderstandings. The male characters can be less than sympathetic, but Sorcha’s feelings were well thought out and presented. It had the feel of a three-person soap opera, but without the addicting storyline.