The Reiver - Jackie Barbosa

So this was a free short story (emphasis on short - about 22 pages of story give or take) that I downloaded because I wanted to try out the author. I am not a big fan of Scottish/Highlander stuff, but I like this world setting in the story (border lands). Please Note: This story was originally published in the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance. I picked it up as a freebie for my NOOK.

 

Summary:

Duncan Maxwell, laird of Lochmorton Castle, gets the shock of his life when he discovers the reiver captured in a raid on his lands is not a boy, but a young woman. Although she flatly refuses to tell him her name or how she came to be riding with a raiding party, Duncan cannot countenance imprisoning a woman in his dungeon but neither can he release her without compensation. Unable to ransom her back to her family, he treats her as an honored—though exceptionally well-supervised—guest. He takes to calling her Reva and determines to seduce the truth of her identity from her. There’s just one problem—the reiver may steal his heart before he can reveal her secrets.

 

Review:

Overall impression - while I like the author's writing and hope to read more of her work in the future, I don't think this was a great introduction to the author or even a cohesive story. The story takes place over several months, but the writing fast forwards with every chapter - chapter one starts when they first meet, chapter two starts a couple of months after that, chapter three starts a couple of months after chapter two, etc. There are no scenes or little moments that make the reader see the developing relationship - it is all tell and no show and made it feel like insta-love. The dialogue works (the author doesn't go overboard with the Scottish accent or random Gaelic words thrown in) and the outline of a story is there. But the ending was far too neat after barely seeing a relationship develop.

 

I am going to try more of her work, but I think I will look to paying a small price or taking out of the library for a longer, more developed story. Maybe I would have liked it more if I was a bigger fan of Scottish/Highlander type of stories.