The Witch of Clan Sinclair

The Witch of Clan Sinclair - Karen Ranney

My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...

The Witch of Clan Sinclair was such an amazing read, a total turnaround from the pain that was book 1. It had a strong and stubborn heroine with an equally stubborn hero, some superb banters, not to mention their chemistry was off the charts... meaning me positively vibrating with glee!

We were introduced to Mairi, Marcrath’s elder sister in The Devil of Clan Sinclair, which is also Macrath and Virginia’s story. She was not a prominent character but was featured in and out, alongside their orphaned cousin, Fenella, now a part of their family too. Macrath, a Scottish inventor, has made much money with his brilliance, determination and skills, hence the word ‘poverty’ has been erased from their dictionary. Macrath has bought his own home, a castle-like structure away from the noisy city, called Drumvagen. He has been living there permanently for a while, and after much trials and tribulations, now with his own family. Macrath is nothing if not caring and has made sure that Mairi and Fenella have their own place in Edinburgh since the head-office of ‘The Edinburgh Gazette’ is there. Fenella has taken to act as Mairi’s housekeeper because she’s so good at managing household staff and expenditures. But she has never been treated poorly by either Mairi, Macrath or their younger sister, Ceana. Additionally, Ceana is now married and living with her husband and hasn’t made an appearance in this one.

The daughter of a poor pressman, Mairi grew up watching her father work in their press. The press, at one point, became Mairi’s responsibility when Macrath made is certain that he had no interest in it. He was happy to let Mairi work, which is how it became her life and living in the intervening years of growing up, ultimately becoming the centerfold of her life. Mairi never thought herself to be the marrying kind, so she never really bothered about male attentions that much. Even then, when one of Macrath’s friends showed interest in her, Mairi thought herself to be in love. But the relationship went nowhere as the guy ditched her soon afterwards, citing that she’s not ‘womanly enough for him and his parents don’t approve’. Whatta douche! But this also hurt Mairi too much. She has hidden her heart away from all kinds of future heartaches ever since, becoming more and more engrossed in ‘The Edinburgh Gazette’ and all the broadsides that her press publishes.

Mairi has a pressman, Allan, who helps her out but she’s been everything to her paper; the reporter, the editor, the typesetter, the publisher; you name it, she has done it for her newspaper. Yet, she does everything hiding behind Macrath’s name as her subscribers or the sources won’t co-operate because she’s a woman. And this annoys our heroine to no end. Ironically, this is also how she meets our hero, Logan, on the eve of a lecture in one of the Edinburgh Men’s clubs. Mairi went there with Fenella, prepared to have some materials for publication. Yet, she was not allowed an entry. Not even when the Lord Provost of Edinburgh stops by. She pleads her case to the tall and imposing man, who remains unmoved, citing that women are not allowed. She’s ticked in all wrong ways, promising retribution. But something about Logan Harrison keeps tickling her naughty imaginations because of his huge body, sexy green eyes. She keeps comparing him to the Highlanders of the Old; all rough and warrior-like. And in a kilt. Oh boy, Mairi was deep into it even before she knew what she’s getting into! LOL

Fun, for me, was the fact that Logan felt the same since the first moment. They didn’t know each-other but the spark was undeniable. The usually stoic and calm Lord Provost is feeling things he doesn’t generally feel. Well, he feels but the years of training as a politician has its usefulness. Logan is very apt at hiding his true feelings. Yet where Mairi Sinclair is concerned, it seems like all his practiced aloofness washes away in the stormy waves of her personality, melts with the heat in her dazzling blue eyes. Darn but Logan loves irritating her cause he feels bewitched by way she looks all angry. And He. Just. Can’t. Stop! On that note, he asks his secretary to find all he could about this mysterious (and stubborn) young woman. The Lord Provost would like to stay one step ahead of the game. *wink*

When Logan is busy doing this, Mairi is planning his downfall. Ah, not precisely but she’s busy writing a funny poem mocking the Lord Provost. She’s irritated for sure and doesn’t really think twice about using the power of the written words. I was surprised that she didn’t do her research well enough to figure out this’ll affect her newspaper as we find later, that Logan is extremely popular among the folks of Edinburgh because of his personality and good deeds. It was a bit of a gamble on Mairi’s part, one that almost causes her to lose a big number in her subscription. Mairi is annoyed; she still can’t believe that someone who doesn’t voice his concerns about the women’s rights can be that popular! Trouble was, majority of the city didn’t bother about the women’s rights either. Moreover, her sources were also beginning to ignore her as if some secret strings are being pulled, and this obviously leads Mairi to believe that Logan is behind it all.

Now, what she doesn’t know that though Logan is... somewhat concerned, he’s not really angry at her. Moreover, he stops by at her press to tell her never to do this again. Though Mairi is transfixed by his appearance, just as she always is (and annoyed at herself for being so), she doesn’t promise anything. Yet, after the Gazette begins losing valuable subscription and earnings, Mairi is forced to meet Logan at his house to request him to stop pulling strings against her. Of course, Logan has done nothing, so he assures her that he’d take care of whoever is going behind his back and causing Mairi trouble. I seem to remember that one scene when a bold Mairi acts impulsively, touching Logan’s kilt-clan thighs, transfixed (oh yah, she always is around him) by his... er, everything. You gotta read Logan’s reply when she encounters... that thing under his kilt (and no, not what you’re thinking LOL). I was laughing so hard cause Logan’s reply takes Mairi by surprise, so much so that she blurts out that she’s not a virgin! Lord it was a crazy mess, yet Logan is equally intrigued by this fiery woman; someone who makes him want to reach inside himself to confront the myriads of emotions he has been feeling ever since he met her. And he was still having so much fun irritating Mairi!

On and off, Logan and Mairi keep meeting due to different reasons, but the fact was, they both probably were, subconsciously, looking for each-other wherever they went. Logan was pretty impressed with Mairi’s accomplishment as the editor. Mairi, on the other hand, was fighting her inner-battles to jump Logan’s bone whenever she saw him around. She definitely thought Logan doesn’t feel the same. Then, due to her past experience, Mairi was scared that she’d fall in love and the history will repeat itself. How sad that both want the same thing, yet completely missing out on the most important point.

I’ve noticed that we don’t get to know a lot about Logan’s past. Only that he probably doesn’t have a family anymore. He started out as a bookseller in Edinburgh but his goodwill to do something for the people and an ambition to better his life took him where he is today. He has done everything successfully so far, even down to the bookstore, Blakewell, which he owns. This bookstore has been a triumph for Logan, branching out throughout Edinburgh in the past years. Logan has other plans about his life and the immediate would be getting married and settling down. His peers have been telling him that this would be the right path to advance his political career. He has even been looking through the perfect candidates, until Mairi Sinclair’s sudden appearance in his life. Now Logan can only think of one thing; why not her, even if she’s not ‘perfect’? But Mairi is anything but easy. Could he, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, convince her of this fact?

What happens next is Mairi deciding to lecture for a women’s association in support of women’s right movement that has been slowing voicing its way up. While giving her speech, a chaos breaks out and Mairi is attacked by the fanatics who are in oppose to the whole idea. Logan was there too and he’s the one who saves her. This incident kinda shows Logan how vulnerable Mairi is. He realizes just how much he wants to protect her from all the harm. Mairi has already done her part about trying to keep this thing between them at bay, scowling and glaring at Logan whenever he dropped by to see her recuperating. She has tried telling herself it’ll end in another heartbreak. But oh, when the pull is so strong, especially when he smiles at her that way, Mairi is helpless. One thing leads to another and they can only act on their mutual attractions. I loved how Mairi was the one to take the step and invite Logan to help her in her ‘downfall’... oh but it was glorious!

In between, we see a secondary romance between Fenella and Allan. They fell in love and have been waiting to tell Mairi about their decisions of getting married soon, now that they’ve also been intimate. Fenella tries to get Mairi’s attention but that’s not really easy when Mairi is overwhelmed by her own little problems, namely her insane ‘affair’ with the Lord Provost. Oh boy, what has she done? She knows this can’t go on, and though she’s unhappy about it, Mairi is also stubborn enough to ignore her feelings, so much so that she even runs to Drumvagen with an excuse to visit Macrath’s family so that she doesn’t have to face Logan for a while.

This, Logan doesn’t take well. He comes to visit Mairi only to learn that she has escaped him. He returns everyday but neither Allan nor Fenella, who is seen in the press more often these days, can give him any direct answer. But being in love, they instantly understand what’s going on between Logan and Mairi, so they take pity on the poor man. When Logan finds out Mairi’s whereabouts, he runs to Drumvagen. Mairi has been having a good time among the people of Drumvagen and Macrath’s family, though she’s been missing Logan something fierce. She never expected to see him again, let alone for him to come see her. But now that he’s here, she’s more than a little surprised and exilerated. While she’s here, Mairi has also let Macrath know of an important matter; a threatening letter she has gotten from some unknown person. This worries Macrath, who promises to look into it.

The scenes at the Drumvagen were really enjoyable. Loved the interactions between all the characters, but most especially, to find Macrath well on his way in building the clan he always wanted. :p Apart from Alistair, he now has a daughter called Fiona. Though I didn’t believe in anything the author did to make Virginia look like a saint, I was still happy because having her is what makes Macrath happy. In addition, Enid, Virginia’s ex-MIL from her first marriage is present. This woman and the grumpy housekeeper of Drumvagen, Brianag, have been ‘at war’ since the day Enid stepped inside the house. It seems that no day passes by without anyone hearing them snipping or yelling at each-other for the most ludicrous reasons. Enid’s daughter, Ellice, is rather reserved and doesn’t say much. She wasn’t an important character in book 1, I didn’t feel that way in here either. It seemed to me that the girl likes to keep to herself and an all around disappointment for her ever critical mother who can’t seem to say one good thing about her. She is always comparing Ellice to her deceased elder sister, Eudora. I didn’t like Enid in the first book, my dislike for her went up a notch in this one. She’s still that pompous, self-centered b!tch she was in book 1, her treatment of her own daughter showed as much.

Aside from this hullabaloo that is Drumvagen, there’s no solution for Mairi and Logan’s dilemma. They find it hard to resist each-other, yet dancing around their true feelings to avoid confusion and the heartache. Logan makes it somewhat known that he’d not take ‘advantage’ of her here, even when Mairi invites him in her room. She must return to Edinburgh to resolve their situation. As I said, both of them were equally stubborn, equally in love and equally unhappy because they couldn’t be together.

It takes a fire to the press to bring matters up front for Mairi after she returns to Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Gazette perishes in that fire. Mairi is lost and completely broken. Yet she realizes that those moments when Logan was helping Allan and James, her coachman, extinguishing the fire were the most excruciating for her. Because she worried for them all, but because it was Logan who worried her the most. She couldn’t imagine facing a day without him there anymore. When the fire is taken care of, Logan takes Mairi to his own house. They spend the night together, brushing aside reality for the time being. Yet the next day they are forced to face the music. It seems not only Mairi’s whole household knows what’s going on but also, Macrath is here. And they had just drop in to Logan’s to pay an early morning visit!

Mairi knows that after this incident her affair with Logan will be out. Macrath, being reasonable, broaches marriage and Logan immediately agrees. But Mairi wouldn’t have it. She thinks Logan is just doing this to save her reputation. Frustratingly, what she doesn’t realize or decides to willfully ignore, is the fact that Logan has been in love with her for a long time now. Marriage was just one of those steps he’s been seriously considering. His plan for a politically-oriented marriage was discarded the moment he met Mairi. Logan doesn’t even care for his pristine reputation any longer; neither does he care to stay in politics if that’s what it comes down to. He supports Mairi’s causes and ideas. He’ll help her rebuilding the Gazette, especially now that she has the plan to transform to a newspaper completely dedicated to the women’s cause, to become a voice for them. All Logan cares is for Mairi’s well-being and her happiness. So it’s no wonder that he’s bitterly disappointed when Mairi refuses his suit for silly reasons. I was wondering where this will end when Logan answers my question by telling Mairi this:

“No, I fall under the category of fool,” he said, still speaking in an even tone. “For falling in love with a woman too stupid to recognize that fact.”

When he leaves Mairi is the one stunned speechless. She’s in remorse, not knowing how she can ask for his forgiveness. I was a bit frustrated that she’d decide to ‘learn to move on’ rather than trying to win Logan back but that’s what she does. Learning of Fenella and Allan’s relationship doesn’t help her situation a bit. Virginia asks Macrath not to interfere, which was, I think, the wisest thing she said throughout the course of the two books that I’ve known her for. But Mairi didn’t have to wait for long, for in the meantime, Logan remains supremely unhappy too. He can’t really stay away from his Mairi, can he? If she’s not amenable to marriage, he’d only have to work harder to convince her of his suit. True to his thoughts, Logan begins planning with a new vigor, including him taking care of the douche who was behind the fire... Yep, that’s Logan for you!

Then it all comes down to one of those conferences of women’s rights movement, where Mairi was present by invitation. Instead she finds Logan in love and wholly in support of her, on his knees, begging for her hand in front of a whole bunch of people no less! There was no escape for Mairi this time. She’s blown away, her mind at peace with the fact that a lifetime with the soon-to-be-ex Lord Provost of Edinburgh would suit her just fine. This did leave me with a grin from ear-to-ear.

These two led me in a merry chase, both being too stubborn to acknowledge what everyone else could see so clearly. Yet when they did, it was awesome in one word. Leaving those few frustrating misunderstandings, I had not one boring moment in it. Highly recommended! 4.25 stars.