Well, Nicole insisted I read this series, as it is one of her all-time favorites. Scottish historicals have never been on my all-time favorites or even close. Not sure why, but there it is. Well, Nicole, I thank you. This was a wonderful series. Now, I'm not terribly eloquent, so here's just a quick synopsis of each one of the books about the MacRae's...
Book 1: One Man's Love - This is the story of Alec and Leitis. They are childhood friends in Scotland and meet again when Alec returns as a British soldier to fight the Scottish. Beautifully written, and beautiful characters. You really feel for Alec and his torn loyalties (being half Scottish and half English). This one got me hooked into the series. The rest of the books are all about their 5 sons. Read the synopsis here.
Book 2: When the Laird Returns - this one focuses on Alisdair, the oldest son of Alec and Leitis. It deals with old clan rivalries and power struggles. Read the synopsis here.
Book 3: The Irrisistable MacRae - this is James' story. The storytelling here is remarkable. I loved watching James and Riona fall in love - every feeling was so well written that I felt like I was falling in love right along with them. Read the synopsis.
Book 4: To Love a Scottish Lord - this is a majorly powerful story about Hamish, the middle son. This is a passionate and compassionate book about learning to accept and heal. The fourth son, Brendan, also falls in love in this one, though his story is the secondary one. Read the synopsis.
Book 5: So in Love - this is the youngest son, Douglas' story. Like his father's story, this is about finding lost loves and forgiveness. It brings the entire series full circle, both in that theme, and including scenes with the entire family - all the brothers and their wives and children. Read the synopsis.
I would have to say that the 4th book was my favorite. Hamish's story is so powerful, and written so beautifully that you can feel his anguish and agony in every page. Mary is the perfect match for him. I love how Ranney brings all the characters back in each book with an update on how they are doing. It wouldn't make sense for the brothers not to appear in each other's books, since the family is so close. It's good to see old faces from the previous books (with the exception of the last book - I was a tad disappointed in one of the outcomes - won't say which as I don't want to spoil it). You truly get the feeling over the course of the 5 books that this is a family that loves one another and would do anything for each other. Ranney's description of the family's ancestral home (especially in book 1) makes you see it clearly, and her characterizations of the brothers remain consistent and complete throughout all the books. And the villain that reappears completely unexpectedly in book 5 caught me by surprise. But it made perfect sense.
Although not a sub-genre of historical that I would pick up on my own, I'm so glad that this series was recommended to me. Thanks Nicole!