This anthology revisits Michelle Willingham’s world of the MacEagan family, with three short stories from the second generation of sons and daughters.
In the Bleak Midwinter – This is a story about moving through grief to find new happiness. It’s been a year since Brianna’s husband was killed by a Norseman, but her heart is still broken. When a handsome Spaniard named Arturo ventures to her village for his sister’s wedding, she is shocked by his interest in her. But he understands her loss. His wife died three years ago and he wants to help soothe her hurt. The question is, can she let him inside?
I really felt poor Brianna’s heartache here and as a result, this story was pretty heavy. But I liked Arturo and enjoyed watching him break down her walls. Their romance was really fast –crazy super fast– but it was bittersweet and emotionally resonant.
The Holly and the Viking - I really, really enjoyed this one. It’s my favorite in the anthology. I am such a sucker for broken heroes. And I was pleasantly surprised to find the hero and heroine of this story were familiar faces from the first one. Kaal is the Viking who killed Brianna’s husband. But all was not as it seemed when he pulled his spear. It turns out, Kaal is blind. And that day he defended himself, he lost everything he held dear.. including his young daughter.
Rhiannon never thought she would find love, but a terrible storm drove her to Kaal’s cave and she quickly fell for the man’s quiet strength and sensual touch. Kaal believed he would be alone the rest of his life, so it was so satisfying to watch the romance develop between these two. Yes, it was really fast (again,) but it hit all of my favorite romance buttons, so I barely noticed. I wish there was more of this one!
A Season to Forgive – Here we revisit Adriana and Liam, a couple first featured in the previously released short story “Lionheart’s Bride.” And this story was a tough read. Adriana is set to marry Liam, but she is hiding a terrible secret. She bartered her virginity to the king in order to save Liam’s life… and he has no idea. She spends most of the story holding in her heartbreak. But when Liam learns the truth, things only get worse.
I was very disappointed in how Liam handled the news. I felt like he blamed her and ultimately she had to convince him to forgive her for an act where she was the victim. This made it very difficult to like Liam, even when he finally comes around.
I enjoyed the book as a whole. I liked the way all three stories were intertwined. Though it’s listed as book 7 in the MacEgan Brothers series, I had no trouble following along. In fact, it made me want to check out the backlist (especially Kaal & Brianna’s story!)
Rating: B- (We lost points on Liam.)
*ARC provided by author for review
Warriors in Winterby Michelle WillinghamRelease Date: November 13, 2012Publisher: Harlequin