Book Review: The Highlander’s Substitute Wife by Terri Brisbin

About the Book:

Title: The Highlander’s Substitute Wife

Author: Terri Brisbin

Series: Highland Alliances #1

Page Length: 288

Publication Date: Jan. 25, 2021

Publisher: Harlequin Historical

Synopsis: She’s the best wife…

…he never wanted!

Ross MacMillan lifts his bride’s veil…and discovers it’s not the woman he’d agreed to marry but her beautiful younger sister, Ilysa MacDonnell! The new MacMillan chieftain must accept Ilysa as his wife, for retaining his clan’s lands depends on her father’s support. But why is she there? Are her aims to help him or her father? Drawing out Ilysa’s secrets will kindle an alliance more powerful—and passionate!—than Ross ever imagined…

My Review:

The Highlander’s Substitute Wife is a wonderful historical romance that follows Ross MacMillan and Ilysa MacDonnell. Ross is shocked when he lifts his bride’s veil and realizes she is not the woman he agreed to marry. Instead, it is Ilysa, the younger sister of his intended. Ross needs this union to protect his lands and people, and he knows he must accept Ilysa as his wife. However, he can’t help question the switch. What is Ilysa’s father up to? And does Ilysa have a part in her father’s twisted games? Ross determines to find out, but the more he gets to know his beautiful new bride, the more he realizes there is more at stake than his land and people – his heart is at risk too.

For three years, Ilysa lived in peace and away from her father’s manipulations. She thought she was free, only to be unwillingly pulled back in and ordered to marry a man she doesn’t know. Ilysa hates that she has become a pawn in her father’s game. However, things are not as horrific as she feared, and Ross is nothing like the domineering and manipulative father (and sister) she grew up with.

Ross and Ilysa are both interesting and layered characters, and their stories, both as individuals and as a couple, are compelling. I love that Ross sees Ilysa for the strong leader that she is and admires Ilysa’s intellect, generosity, wit, and kindness. He sees all she has done for his people, caring for them and helping to keep them safer and happier. And I love the little ways Ross shows Ilysa that he cares about her. It’s super sweet and shows a tender, more vulnerable side to the warrior. Though they both make mistakes and let fear, lies, doubt, and more influence them, I so rooted for them to follow their hearts and find happiness with each other.

Ross and Ilysa have a fantastic enemies-to-lovers romance. Though they have a strong connection, their road to happiness is rocky, especially since their relationship began with a wedding switch-up. Both Ilysa and Ross are slow to trust each other, but their chemistry is high right from the start. You can tell they’re fighting their feelings, especially Ross, but the more time they spend together, the stronger their affections become.

This is a wonderful start to what promises to be a fantastic historical romance series! The constant threat of attack, potential spies in their midst, war preparations, and more add a bit of suspense to the story, the characters are richly developed and compelling, and the romance is swoon-tastic.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance!
  • The characters.

Favorite Line:

She would never underestimate the danger of a man’s insulted pride.

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