Abingdon Press (May 1, 2010)
Akira MacKenzie’s joyous wedding is blemished by not only the absence of her intended husband but her own kidnapping at the hands of their enemy clan, the MacPhearsons. The middle brother carries her off to keep the oath he made to honor his late father’s wish of seeing the warring clans allied in peace. Despite Bryce’s attempts to see the peaceful alliance the clan chiefs have contracted on behalf of their offspring, his elder brother (now the clan chief following his father’s death) has already reneged on the marriage plans to join the tribes by releasing Akira and her father from the contract their fathers negotiated.
When the MacKenzies receive the letter withdrawing Evan’s commitment to wed Akira, she chooses to wed her childhood friend. However in the process of her abduction the clan rivalries are reignited by some of the younger generation without their laird’s blessing. Akira’s brother as well as her childhood friend mount a rescue party to retrieve her before it’s too late. The anger sparked is difficult to restrain especially for the man who considers Akira his. Unfortunately for both parties, the warring clans both lose Akira’s husband to be before any marriage occurs. However at risk Bryce may be, he still insists on seeing the alliance consumated as he promised his father. As the next eldest son of the clan Laird, Bryce is quickly installed to replace his brother but travels back to Akira’s home to request her father’s permission despite his position as her abductor. Though Bryce sees Akira as a MacPhearson, she is still deeply connected to her biological clan and many of the MacKenzies and MacPhearsons wish to fuel the ongoing conflict between their respective communities. She is not recognized as a MacPhearson by a number of Bryce’s subjects and as his intended bride is also no longer recognized as a MacKenzie by some of her father’s subjects. She has lost her family and although legally she has gained a new one, she is treated as if she belongs to neither by members of both.
In the end will Bryce and Akira not only find a common ground to build upon but grow to love and cherish one another as marriage was created to do? Can he take the trust he never earned and prove to a scared and lonely woman that she not only belongs in his life but to his clan as well? Though life was never easy in any era the clan rivalries and life in 15th Century Britain was harsher than modern minds can grasp conclusively yet Akira’s faith continued to grow and set a solid foundation for her to build from.
As a debut author from an imprint I was not familiar with, Hudson has proved to be well worth the taste of her talent and creativity this book provided. The narrative was intricately pieced together through characters and events that I could never claim familiarity with and leaves the reader feeling as if they’ve traveled to the locale and period of the events that unfold between these warring clans. I hope that Hudson will continue the stories of these clans who are trying to move forward from a distant and murky past of conflict and violence. Regardless of what she writes and where her books transport readers as she grows her bibliography, I look forward to more riveting, action packed volumes from this author. (ISBN#9781426702266, 352pp, $13.99)
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