Go to Homepage   Laurin Wittig: The Devil of Kilmartin


Crescent Blues Book ViewsJove Books (Paperback), ISBN 0-515-13421-X
Elena, the Lamont healer, runs. She runs from Dougal of Dunmore, the evil warrior who will stop at nothing in his quest to become clan chieftain -- including forcing Elena to wed and bed him, not necessarily in that order. She runs from love, and she runs from her gift. But she cannot escape her fears. Dougal tracks her relentlessly. By day he battles her protectors in the field. By night he sneaks into their castle to sow pain and discord.

Book: laurin wittig, the devil of kilmartinSymon, the chief of Clan MacLachlan, stands fast when Elena runs into him seeking protection from Dougal. Although bedeviled by bouts of what appear to be madness, Symon defends her against physical attack and innuendo. But he stands just as firm in defense of his clan and the honor of his younger brother Ranald, although Ranald has more than a few motives to supplant Symon.

Symon sees Elena as the key to a prophecy of better days for Clan MacLachlan. If only he could persuade her to stay the distance with him. But Elena sees a different, darker future for their love. So, again, she runs.

This first novel mines an interesting premise in its heroine's gift. The plot moves swiftly. The narrative pay-offs land at all the right places, and for the most part, the language avoids the complementary sins of anachronism and pedantry. Delightfully offhand observations of the male animal at his grungiest suggest a hard to repress sense of the absurd. All these things augur well for Wittig's future novels.

However, The Devil of Kilmartin reads too much like a primer for a historical romance. The conflict comes across as one-dimensional, as does the heroine. Lapses in continuity undercut Dougal's menace, and the book's crowning revelation does not make sense in the light of Dougal's early confrontation with Symon. On the other hand, the conventions of series romance can be brutal, and one should be careful of asking more from a romantic Highland adventure than the publishers allow their writers to deliver.

Jean Marie Ward

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