The second book in the Highland Alliances trilogy is a wonderfully romantic read!
Book: The Highlander’s Tactical Marriage by Jenni Fletcher
Publication date: 17th February 2022
Ownership: E-ARC sent free of charge by the author. All opinions my own.
Content warnings: death of a parent (in backstory); violence and death; attempted sexual assault; spousal abuse (in backstory but discussed).
A strategic marriage…
…with his runaway bride!
Coira Barron is the last woman Fergus MacMillan would choose to marry—he’s never forgiven her for running away with another man on the eve of their wedding six years ago. Now an alliance with widowed Coira is crucial, and Fergus is shocked to discover his new wife is nowhere near as disloyal as he believed. Protecting her and his clan are his priority, but can he protect his own heart?
As with the first book in this series (see my review of The Highlander’s Substitute Wife ), this is a much more action-packed story than I generally see in historical romance. I thought this did a great job of balancing the standalone arc of Coira and Fergus’s romance, which is very satisfying, with the need to move the main trilogy plot along – there’s plenty of intrigue here and it added a lot to the overarching story, leaving me intrigued as to how the final book will wrap things up for the MacMillans! I don’t want to say too much about the non-romance plot in this review, because there’s a great series of twists as everything unfolds, but I found myself racing through this to find out what would happen next.
I really loved the dynamic between Coira and Fergus – it’s simultaneously a second-chance romance, an enemies-to-lovers story, and a marriage of convenience, and if that sounds complicated it doesn’t even begin to cover what these two have to overcome! Their shared history is woven really well into the story, and you can really feel how their pasts have shaped them, particularly Coira, whose story was so heartbreaking. I loved how strong she was, after years of sadness; she’s a wonderful mother and so resilient, to still have so much love for the people around her after what she’s been through. At times I wanted to shake Fergus for not realising there was something more to her running away from him, but he gets there eventually, and it was really rewarding to see the shadows of both their younger selves in the people they are today. There are strong themes of there being two sides to every story, and learning to forgive people; as always with Jenni’s books, healthy communication is as important as attraction in a relationship growing, and I adore that. It makes me so happy when romance leads discuss their problems like adults!
There’s so much to pack into this book, but every thread works together to create a story that feels much larger than its page count. It’s a fast read, but it feels like a much longer book somehow! If you’re looking for something to scratch an Outlander itch, this might just be ideal – and even if you aren’t, this is a lovely romance with lots of extra plot to sink your teeth into. Five out of five cats!