Tuesday night I started reading Michelle Willingham‘s Tempted by the Highland Warrior (coming from Harlequin Historical, June 19th for paperback, July 1st for e-book; now available for pre-order). I finished it Wednesday night. For me, a homeschooling mom who has only so many minutes to steal from a day for reading (never mind my writing), this is a rare thing! But I could not put this book down. Ladies and gentlemen, read this book and observe how a short historical romance should be written. Never once while reading this book did I wonder “Well, why can’t the heroine just…?” Never once did I say, “Come on people, it’s not that hard!” Willingham did a spectacular job at raising the stakes, and just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, she raised them again. There were none of the ludicrous situations you see so often, no silly misunderstandings. There was believable and original conflict around every turn, and the characters were sympathetic with genuine plights. I fell in love with the hero, and I wanted to be the heroine. This hasn’t happened to me in a while. Yes, I love historical romance. I really enjoy reading the genre. But this book made me feel like I was experiencing life in 1300s Scotland. The setting was convincing; I liked seeing the political backdrop playing so subtly into the story.
This is not the first of Michelle Willingham’s books I’ve read, and while I have enjoyed the others (one of which, Her Warrior Slave, actually brought tears to my eyes. Her heroine’s experience of losing a child is very convincing and the emotions are genuine), this one deserves 5 star placement on my shelf. I certainly hope this book gets RITA attention.