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  • lots of intrigue and politics and eventual romance

    We begin with a very unhappy wedding between an actively screaming bride, Sina, and Adam, a stoic highlander who's just trying to do what's best for his clan even though he's none too happy about it either. I could not stand Sina. Even the fact that she'd had everything taken away from her and had been forced to marry a stranger wasn't enough for me to tolerate her behavior. Adam and his entire family try to make the best out of a bad situation and be nice to her and make her feel welcome, but she responds by being just nasty to them and hitting Adam and throwing things at him. She has already prejudged the highlanders to be savage barbarians because she listens to and wholeheartedly believes the court gossip she has heard in London. She just behaves like a spoiled brat angry at not getting her way, oblivious and uncaring of the fact that Adam has also had his future decisions taken from him. Despite her hatefulness and determination to escape, Sina does find herself inexorably drawn to Adam. She's determined to hold herself aloof from him and maintain her loyalty to her betrothed, William, a childhood friend she fancies herself in love with, though she has not seen him in three years. Just when she finally realizes how great Adam is and that she loves him, her father, now the king, calls her back to the palace. Adam lovers her too, but lets her go because he finds a letter she wrote to William but never sent, denoting how she could never love Adam, and also because he doesn't want to start a war and risk his clan's safety. Heartbroken, Sina returns to the palace and promptly becomes re-betrothed to William and sets about forgetting Adam. Even when he shows up to fight for her and try to befriend her father, she won't reveal her feelings for him and insists that she belongs with William. I was very disappointed in her not being honest with herself or with her father. The constant waffling between them both, but especially on Sina's part got very old and I really began losing my patience with them. Her naivete when it came to William, even after she acknowledged that she really didn't know him anymore was ridiculous. There's so much intrigue, lies, politics and agendas in this one, as is indicative of a turbulent time in history. I did appreciate that, but Sina's weakness and lack of acknowledgement of her feelings for Adam was irritating. I understand she was trying to protect him and his clan, but her constant concern for and defense of William got really old. Apart from his questionable behavior, William is a grown man and not Sina's responsibility, although she refuses to acknowledge that. I finally started to really enjoy this one in the last few chapters, although the ending was rather abrupt and I think the final chapter could have been fleshed out a bit more for a more satisfying conclusion. Overall, however, I did enjoy the story and would recommend it. I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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