Review: The Highlander Who Protected Me by Vanessa Kelly

Reviewed by Jen

This new story from Vanessa Kelly is the first in her Clan Kendrick series, but it reads like it’s part of something bigger. I did a little bit of digging and discovered that the Kendrick family and the couple who led it were the main characters in The Highlander’s Princess Bride, the last in Kelly’s Improper Princesses trilogy. Obviously, I didn’t read that book and I enjoyed this one anyway. But it was very clear that there was a lot of story before this that came in another book, not just with the other couple but with the main hero and heroine here. So if that sort of thing bothers you, be warned. It niggled me a bit to have their past referenced, but the author does a good enough job of filling in the blanks so at least I wasn’t lost.

As the story begins, the hero is already half in love with Lady Ainsley. Royal was injured at Waterloo and has been kind of checked out on his life ever since. But with Ainsley, he feels alive again. Unfortunately, she is engaged to another man. Fast forward a year or so and you skip the course of events that transpired between them in the other book. Apparently, Royal had tried to kidnap Ainsley because he thought she would rather marry him. It did not go well. Now she is living with an aunt, too ruined by his kidnapping to get married. And he has no idea whether she considers him a friend or foe. But she wrote him a letter, so he takes a chance and goes to visit her.

It’s there he discovers she is hiding a major secret and he takes it upon himself to protect her from the fall out. Hence the title of the book.

I adored Royal. He was almost too good to be true. He is strong, stoic, and the kind of man who would defend a loved one to the death. I love a scarred hero. He wasn’t as tortured as I thought he would be. But he was still right in my lane. A working man. Calluses on his hands, but a soft tender heart. Ainsley was a bit of a tough nut to crack. There were times when I felt she was a bit too selfish and occasionally wondered what Royal saw in her. Yes, she has reasons for some of her behavior. She has been through something very difficult. But who she is as a person existed before that and frankly, she needed a bit of work.

I think that there were times the romance was more difficult than it needed to be. Ainsley ignored an obvious solution by prioritizing her reputation at a time where that should’ve just gone out of the window. I get the reasons she thought she had, but at the end of the day everyone ended up in a position really no different than if she would have just ripped the Band-Aid off at the beginning. I know I am being vague, but I don’t want to spoil too much.

I did like the writing. That first chapter was really good, in particular. It drew me right in to the story and made me excited to see what would happen between these two. It lost me a little, though, in skipping over the time I messed with them in the last book. And Ainsley, herself, took a little bit of the shine off of the rose. But it was still a pretty good read. Royal is responsible for that. And I would probably read more in this series to get to know his passel of brothers.

A quick, easy, and enjoyable story.

Rating: B

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Highlander Who Protected Me
by Vanessa Kelly
Release Date: October 30, 2018
Publisher: Zebra

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