Diving back into The Chieftain’s Curse in order to refresh my memory for this review, I’d barely read a few sentences before I found myself ensnared deep within Cragenlaw Castle’s walls and in serious danger of curling up on the sofa to read the book a second time instead of getting down to work.
When I finally tore myself away, achieved only by switching off the E-reader completely, the residue of Cragenlaw and its inhabitants, were still suspended in my consciousness like a spell cast by the witch responsible for the curse itself.
And despite my E-reader being switched to the white screen, I could still feel the frigid rain pelting, Morag, the heroine’s face, hear the storm lashing Cragenlaw’s thick stone walls, and see the lightening flashes lighting up the sky, as Morag, arrived at the hero’s castle:
“…another flash exposed the tree’s earth-clogged roots. Black fingers reached skyward in a defiant gesture, much like the one that brought her here.”
The Chieftain’s Curse demonstrates Frances Housden’s enormous talent for description and scene setting, which coupled with her natural Scottish voice, breathes authenticity into the novel until it condenses leaving each page fairly dripping with atmosphere.
Couple that with an interesting plot, likeable characters, and a good dose of intrigue, and Housden expertly weaves the necessary ingredients together for an absorbing read, and that’s without even getting to the romance that lies at the heart of the novel.
Throughout the novel, the sexual tension between chieftain Euan – ‘The McArthur’ and Morag is palpable:
“…the man had a glow about his skin that appeared to mould the shape of the muscles underneath, as if he wore a suit of golden armour, expertly beaten into shape and formed to fit his magnificent physique.”
And be warned, the sex scenes – satisfying in quality and quantity, are also hot enough to fry an E-reader’s circuits.
At two hundred and seventy four pages this is a delicious, lengthy book that one could happily dip in and out of at will, but greedy readers won’t be able to put it down.