Review: Highland Wolf by Hannah Howell

Reviewed by Jen

I cannot remember the last time I struggled so hard to finish a book. My problems with Highland Wolf kicked off at the very beginning and then only intensified as the story continued. I did a little research after reading a review copy and discovered this is book 15 in a long running series and it is a reissue from 10 years ago. Interesting, but neither was the real root of my problem.

The simplest explanation is that I thought this book was boring. I liked the setup well enough. James was the laird of Dunncraig Keep but was framed for the death of his wife three years ago. Now he is posing as a woodcarver to get close to his enemy, reclaim his land, and rescue his young daughter. Meanwhile, Annora is the bastard cousin of that enemy. She takes care of the little girl to earn her keep and she has grown to love her. She hates her cousin and his awful men, but she wants to protect the little girl and will not leave her.

I like a little bit of Scottish brogue in my highlander books, but it was out of control here. Every bit of dialogue was seeped with it and I don’t just mean “doonae” or “och” now and then. People “ken” everything or they “suspicion” it. It got very old very fast.

My next issue is how it obliterated my suspension of disbelief that the laird of the keep can just walk back in the door and be unrecognizable by everyone except one person simply by dying his hair and putting on an eyepatch. This is ridiculous. Oh yeah, and he pretends to speak with a French accent. Eyes are rolling all the way to Scotland. His biggest concern is whether someone will see him naked and recognize that the carpet does not match the drapes.

The love is totally insta. And the heroine, who is a virgin, jumps in the sack with James with virtually no hesitation because she “has a sense about people.” I’ll come back to that in a second. These two are getting horizontal in what feels like every single chapter. And you know the book is boring when you have to start skimming through the love scenes. As for Annora’s Second Sight, it served very little purpose. It was just some random little supernatural element. In what was not a supernatural book.

The character of the dead wife was twisted and turned to suit the story. I thought it was a bit of a stretch to see her through her husband’s eyes and then be torqued so dramatically. The villains were completely one note. Almost all the women were whores (The book’s word, not mine.)

It was a real struggle. Surprisingly, to me anyway, this book was beloved by other readers, at least back in 2008. It has almost 2000 ratings on Goodreads with an average of more than four stars. So maybe your mileage may vary. But I would not recommend this one.

Rating: C-/D+

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Highland Wolf
by Hannah Howell
Release Date: January 1, 2007
Publisher: Zebra

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