Title: Highland Conquest
Author: Heather McCollum
Series: Sons of Sinclair (Book 1)
Page Length: 384
Publication Date: April 28, 2020
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Synopsis: Cain Sinclair has a plan. In order to finally bring peace to his clan, he will wed the young female chief of their greatest enemy. Only problem: capturing her and forcing her back to Sinclair castle doesn’t exactly make her want to say yes. Ella Sutherland may be clever, passionate, and shockingly beautiful, but what she isn’t is willing.
Every attempt Cain makes to woo her seems to backfire on him. A gift? The kitten practically claws his eyes out. A competitive game of chess? Even when he wins, he loses. It seems the only time the two ever see eye to eye is when they’re heating up Cain’s bed. Still, the only thing Ella truly wants is the one thing he cannot offer her: freedom.
But when Cain discovers she’s been harboring a secret—one that could threaten both clans’ very existence—he’ll have to decide between peace for the Sinclairs or the woman who’s captured his heart.
Highland Conquest is the first book in the Sons of Sinclair series. Cain is the eldest of four brothers, who have been dubbed ‘The Four Horsemen’ by their deceased father, and the leader of his clan. When Cain first sets eyes on Ella, he is immediately drawn to her. It doesn’t matter that she ordered the death of his father, Cain wants her. Unfortunately for Cain, Ella doesn’t feel the same way.
Ella does not mourn the loss of her heartless and abusive father. In fact, now for the first time in her life, she is free. She is dismayed when she realizes Cain intends to marry her and take her lands, pushing her back under the thumb of a man. She determines that this will never happen. She will die or kill Cain first.
Ella doesn’t anticipate falling for Cain or his family, but that is what happens. Now Ella has to decide what is more important to her – Cain or her clan. Will she make the right choice? Will her long-held secret ruin everything?
This is an intense character-driven highland romance. Cain is a fascinating and enigmatic clan leader with a sharp tongue and fierce skills in battle. He is intent on marrying Ella and is not used to being rejected. I love his responses to Ella. It is clear from the beginning of the story that Cain is smitten and that this is a new experience for him. Ella rejects him over and over again, but he is determined to woo her. He tries everything he can think of, except offering her freedom.
Ella is as dynamically and intricately written as her love interest. She doesn’t just rush willingly into Cain’s arms. He is a warrior who has tormented her memories for years, and she will not easily succumb to his advances. I love her stubborn pride and her independent spirit. She has been maltreated and abused by her father for much of her life, she is forced into an unwanted engagement, and she is unwillingly taken by a neighboring clan. Through all of this, she shows a strength of character and resilience that is admirable. Additionally, she is intelligent. I think Cain’s respect and admiration of her intellect, her way with animals, and her fiery spirit is what sways Ella’s feelings.
Though the focus is on Cain and Ella, I found the minor characters to be just as interesting as the main couple. Cain’s brothers, his sister, and even his aunt are all dynamically developed, and I found myself wanting to learn more about them. As this is the first in the series, I assume we will learn more of their backstories (and their future) in subsequent books.
War, kidnapping, betrayal, and abuse are all prevalent in this novel, but so are messages of resilience, familial solidarity, female equality, and fighting for love. Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
- the slow-burning romance between Cain and Ella. It’s pretty sizzling!
- Cain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He’s a powerful alpha male with a heart.
- the character arcs
Readers who like steamy enemies-to-lovers historical romance will love this page-turner!