So this was not what I expected it to be.  Marti Talbott’s Highlander Series Book 1 is actually a collection of three short stories focused on the lives of three different women tied together in different ways.

Anna is the abused daughter of an English nobleman who is married off against her will to a highlander lord who vows to protect her but must first get past the barriers she has erected to protect herself.

Rachael is Anna’s little sister, rescued from a house of horrors and now grown enough to begin her own search for a mate, although she is more interested in sneaking around and putting her life on the line to save her clan than she is in settling down.

Charlet is wanted by English and Highlander alike, famed across the land for her beauty.  As an adopted member of Anna and Rachael’s clan, it is up to them to keep her safe from those who would use thy mysterious circumstances of her birth to further their own ends.

Anna’s story I LOVED. I was so excited to read about Rachael and Charlet, but they really let me down.  For whatever reason I was not engaging with them as well as I did with Anna, and I would up skimming most of their tales.

I think part of the disconnect is the fact that they all followed the same formula.  Independent female, female abused and left helpless, male comes along to help, gets protective, they fight over it, she falls for him, he puffs his chest.

Like all three of them followed that exact pattern.  Maybe if the plots had varied a wee bit I might have been more interested, but as it was this is another one I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for as it was one of the free books I got off the Kobo site.

I’ll get to finish Maestro eventually, but before that I found a few Shannara short stories in ebook form so I want to get through those real quick.  Allanon’s Quest, first in the Paladin’s of Shannara series is next.

The history is thus: The once-Druid Brona, seduced by his pursuit of dark magic, was forever transformed into the Warlock Lord—whose evil would be the downfall of the Four Lands and the death of the Races. Against him, the Elven King Jerle Shannara wielded the fabled sword that bore his surname and triumphed. Or so it was believed. But though the Dark Lord was driven out . . . he was not destroyed.
The Druid Allanon knows only too well the prophecy passed down to him by his late master: that eventually the Warlock Lord will return. Now, after hundreds of years, that day seems imminent. And the time is at hand for the Sword of Shannara to once more be brought forth from its sanctuary to serve its ancient purpose. All that remains is for a blood descendent of the Elven house of Shannara to carry the blade into battle.
With ever more portents of doom on the horizon, Allanon must seek out the last remaining Shannara heir, who alone will bear the burden of defending the Four Lands’ destiny. But with agents of darkness closing in from behind, unexpected enemies lying in wait ahead, and treachery encroaching on every side, there can be no certainty of success. Nor any assurance that this desperate quest will not be the Druid’s last.