13 September 2011

REVIEW: In Bed with A Highlander by Maya Banks

in bed with a highlander
Maya Banks
Ballantine Books
August 2011
Historical Romance
368 Pages


Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.


Cover looks way to modern for a historical novel and a tartan (or whatever it's called) doesn't help.

Mairin Stuart knelt on the stone floor beside her pallet and bowed her head in her evening prayer.

Followers of my blog should know by now how I feel about Maya Banks writing, it is like crack. There is something about Ms. Banks style that makes me pick up her books and no matter what she writes, even when I find some of the material questionable. Her writing style is so engaging that I cannot help indulging myself.

I've also mentioned that I've been a die-hard romance fan since I was eleven years old and one of my favorite authors was Julie Garwood. Back in '91 when she started her Highlander series, I brought all the books and I still have them down in my basement in boxes because when we moved into our new house two years ago, the hubster promised to build me bookshelves. Two years later, no bookshelves.

I'm drifting. Anyhoo.

The Bride, The Secret, The Wedding, and my favorite Ransom were devoured by me and while it's been awhile since I read them, I still remember them fondly and they are my all-time favorites.

Right now you are probably wondering why I'm talking about Julie Garwood for a Maya Banks review. I have a point, I promise.

But first I would like to apologize for doubting another reviewer who had said Maya Banks KGI series was a little too similar to her favorite romantic suspense novel. When this reviewer cited the similarities I thought, yeah that was a little too close for comfort, but there are only so many plots and it could just be a coincidence.

Now that the same experience has happened to me with one of Ms. Banks novels, I understand this reviewer's point better.

As always with Ms. Banks novels, I enjoyed IN BED WITH A HIGHLANDER, I really did, but this story hit a little too close to home for my personal tastes.

No, I am not saying that it was an exact copy of Garwood's novels. It's not. Ms. Banks has such an unique writing voice that makes it hard for her to be other than herself, but the plot was a little too similar to Garwood's Highlander series. IN BED WITH A HIGHLANDER seemed like a mash up of Julie Garwood's Highlander series including plot and character personality traits.

In Ransom, the heroine is held captive in a castle with a young boy. The boy is there by mistake. The heroine protects and becomes fiercely protective of this young boy, even taking a severe beating by her captors in order to protect him. They manage to escape and meet up with the boy's godfather who returns them to the boy's home. The next morning the hero finds the heroine and the boy sleeping in the same chambers.

IN BED WITH THE HIGHLANDER the heroine is held captive with a young boy. The boy is there by mistake. The heroine protects and becomes fiercely protective of this young boy, even taking a severe beating by her captors in order to protect him. They manage to escape and meet up with the boy's uncle who returns them to the boy's home. The next morning the hero find the heroine and the boy sleeping in the same chambers.

It is not only that that gives me pause. The heroine Mairin seems to me like a mash up of the heroines in Ms. Garwood's Highlander novels. It's hard to cite specifics because it's been awhile since I read Garwood's novels. I apologize for not being to articulate my feelings in a better manner, but while reading IN BED WITH THE HIGHLANDER all I could think of is Julie Garwood. It's from the ways Mairin tries to integrate inside the clan, from the way she gains the respect of the soldiers and the women, from the way the hero and the heroine's relationship progresses.

Yet, despite my qualms, IN BED WITH A HIGHLANDER is an engaging story but because of the similiarities I just don't have the interest to keep reading the series, I'd rather re-read Julie Garwood. It didn't work for me. You may be different.

Purchased with my own money.


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11 people posted their 2 cents:

Kati said...

Darn! I was really hoping this one would pull out for you. I know you were doubting it as you read it. I felt that overwhelming sense of comfort reading it, like Garwood, but different, so it worked for me. But I'm sorry to see that overall it just didn't do it for you.

Lynette said...


My thing if I wanted comfort of feeling like I wanted that Garwood feeling, I would re-read Garwood. It just wasn't different or original enough for my tastes.

Mama Kitty said...

O_o Ransom was my first (and most favorite!) Garwood novel. I've been wanting to pick this book up, since I love Maya and I've been getting back into HRs, but I don't know if I want to read a book that's so close to another book that I loved so much as a younger person (I don't want to say "kid", even though I pretty much was...)

Lynette said...

Wasn't Ransom awesome! I'm going to have to go down to the basement and dig it out for a re-read. In Bed With A Highlander reminded me how much I used to love Julie Garwood's historicals so there is nothing wrong with that.

Have you read For the Roses? That was pretty awesome as well.

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I enjoy Julie Garwood which makes me think that I wouldn't like this. I agree about the cover.

Elaine said...

I had the completely opposite response to this book. I have been recommending it to people because it reads so much like an early Garwood.

With Banks' last book, I had decided to stop buying her. I gave this book a try simply because it was a Highlander.

I loved it! Yes, it makes me think of early Garwood. That is a plus for me. I don't really care for Garwood's newer books, so I now have another series to read.

BTW, The Bride will always be one of my favorite books by any author.

Lynette said...

If you go in realizing it's a Garwood mash up maybe you won't mind. Others didn't, I just did.

I did like the story. I do like Ms. Banks writing, but when I read a book, I don't want to be reminded of another author so strongly when I'm reading. But that's just me.

I liked the Bride, but Ransom was always my favorite of Garwoods, which is probably why I had such a strong reaction to In Bed With the Highlander. It doesn't compare.

Blodeuedd said...

Oh I do not know. SUre I would read it but not go out and buy it

Lynette said...

That's what I think I'm going to do if my library happens to order the next one. But my library is wishy washy about ordering romance lately.

Kaetrin said...

I have this one on my TBR. I haven't read the Garwood, so I won't notice any similarities - is it safe to confess that I haven't read ANY Garwood (although I do have a couple in my TBR)?

I'm curious about the KGI book though - which one was that compared to?

Lynette said...


I love Garwood's old school historicals. I've been reading them since forever. With the exception of the ones I've mentioned here, I also loved For the Roses.

I haven't read any of her newer stuff (let's say in the last 10 years) so I wouldn't know about them, but her older stuff is great.

The KGI book I remember others having a problem with was the first one with Ethan. A reviewer was upset because the plot was very similiar to her favorite Cindy Gerald (I believe that's the author's name) romantic suspense novel. Her review pointed out the similarities even down the the heroe's name being Ethan Garrett, Ethan being the hero in Ms. Banks novel and Garrett being the hero's brother. The other reviewer liked Ms. Banks KGI novel but found it hard to seperate her love for Cindy Gerald while reading Ms. Banks because of the plot similarities.

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