Gunnolf was left for dead when he was young as he went on one of his kin’s raids, but finds his way to the Highlands and a home with the MacNeill Clan. The clan’s seer warns him he must rescue a woman in need, only he rescues the wrong woman. Yet, Brina is in need. Her father, wounded in battle by Gunnolf’s own kind, must oust the tyrant who has taken his place if he is to rule. Yet he needs Gunnolf’s help, but Gunnolf learns Brina’s father had killed Gunnolf’s brother. Brina is torn between hating the Viking who has rescued her, and knowing that his kin had killed her grandfather in an age old tale of fighting between their people, and loving the man who took her under his protection, and the wolf cub she insisted on rescuing. Now, Gunnolf must make a choice: wed the lass as her father has insisted and restore her father’s position as chief of his clan when he’s not sure her father is trustworthy, hoping he can obtain a peace between his people and hers, or leave well enough alone and stay with the MacNeill Clan, his family for the past ten years. The problem is one sweet Highland lass that makes him want a woman – this woman – to warm his bed and have his bairns and to protect and cherish, when having a wife was the furthest notion from his mind… until one prediction changed his whole life
Gunnolf’s story has been a long time coming. He’s been a favorite of mine just because for almost all of the series, all standalones, he’s been the loyal sidekick, the trusted friend and always had the makings of a hero. In The Viking’s Highland Lass he finally gets his chance, but he’s got to work for it. How? By resisting his urges and behave like a gentleman. I enjoyed his discomfort because Brina is a significant challenge to his composure.
I liked the fact that the seduction of Brina occurred by forced restraint. Gunnolf’s control, even though the heroine could tell it cost him, not only impressed her but it laid the foundation of trust. That’s important for any relationship, but because Brina is used to men controlling her, not taking into account her feelings or wishes, trust does not come easy. I enjoyed watching her flower under Gunnolf’s care.
The conflict is typical for the time period – father dictates who his daughter will marry and the daughter knows she’s going to be in a world of hurt if it comes to pass. Drastic measures needs be taken and Brina doesn’t waste any time in escaping. Cue the start of her adventure.
The villain is an easy spot. He’s just enough on the scene to make it rough and threatening to the heroine, and by association, Gunnolf. However, he’s not present enough to take away from the budding romance between the hero and heroine. He’s a great reason to throw them together and an incentive to propel the movement of the plot.
The paranormal aspect comes from Gunnolf’s grandmother and a secondary character named Wynne. And, although Wynne is a more significant character than Brina or anyone could have dreamed, her role in this novel didn’t wow me. Her talent certainly is formidable and key in plot movement, I’ll grant you that. However, at one point she gives specific advice about how the talent to foresee can’t be forced and it’s ambiguous at best, whereas her talent reads like a controlled remote viewing camera with sound. It’s too convenient and a little unbelievable.
What was really written well were the passionate moments between Brina and Gunnolf. I enjoyed how he seduced her and how she blossomed under his tutelage. I also liked how some of the characters from past books showed up to help out. Again, their inclusion does not mean that a new reader will get lost. Not at all. They support and assist the hero and heroine where it counts and behaved as perfect secondary characters should.
The Viking’s Highland Lass is everything I hoped for when it comes to an HEA for Gunnolf. He deserved a special lass to fall in love with and Brina is perfect for him. I really enjoyed myself and can easily recommend this book. It’s a wonderful romance and I’m a happy reader.