I was very happy when I saw Maya Banks was writing another highlander historical romance series. I really enjoyed her McCabe trilogy. She wrote such great characters, and she continues that trend at the start of this series.
Eveline Armstrong has not been able to hear ever since an accident falling off her horse. People, including her family, now assume she is simple rather than deaf and Eveline, instead of coming clean, uses their misconception to get out of marrying a sadistic neighbor. Her family has a huge rivalry with the Montgomery clan. The king decides the only way to stop their fighting is to marry Eveline to the head of the Montgomery clan, Graeme. Eveline sees it as an opportunity at a new life. She thought she would never have a chance to marry while using the charade to stay unmarried to the sadistic neighbor.
Graeme is furious when he hears he is to marry Eveline. He has heard rumors of her simpleness and assumes he will never be able to have children with her. She hasn't spoken since her accident, but has taught herself to read lips. Though she can speak and wants to, she is afraid she will sound stupid and is not really sure how to start, so at first stays silent around Graeme and his clan. She also has to deal with extreme animosity from many of the Montgomery clan. They do not trust her loyalty and make things very difficult for her. The sadistic neighbor also makes an appearance and complicates things even more.
Banks did a great job with a deaf heroine. Eveline doesn't speak for half the book, and Banks was able to still present a complex character. She's innocent, but tough. She's willing to make the best out of a new, hostile situation. I really felt for her, and grew just as frustrated as Eveline with her new clan. Graeme is very patient with her, and at first almost treats her like a little kid. But he starts to realize there is more to her and she is definitely not simple. Graeme fights his lustful feelings for her, thinking them at first depraved, but his resolve gets tested as Eveline expresses her interests. He can also be a bit gruff, but really, he is very good to her.
So glad Banks wrote this book.
ARC provided through NetGalley