Like, 4.5 rounded up for some original aspects.
This was one of my favorite reads this year so far. Stay with me...
My television at home frequents exactly two channels - The Disney Channel and Food Network. This means that 100% of my tube time is spent either humming along to some genius theme song that is meant to be stuck in your head all day, or watching people make and eat food. These are two brainless, happy, and breezy ways to pass the time, no? And you know what? I like it that way. No violence, no criticism or hatred, just a nice buzzing background noise of extremely blissful people.
So I wonder, if my tastes in television are so very unsophisticated, why do I pick apart my admittingly fluffy reading? Hunh.
Guy Fieri was swirling around in my brain the entire time I was reading this book (weird, I know). Every time I read something that was clearly out of place, or some little detail that seemed inaccurate (or usage of slang that far too modern), I would be reminded about how Guy doesn't walk into some dive and dis them for making something as mundane as meatloaf, even when they're using things like kitchen bouquet. If it tastes good, he says so.
I get that this book is no great work of literature, but I don't read James Joyce for a reason. Highlander Claimed is entertaining and it has good storytelling. The subtle humor made me smile. The first person POV was a refreshing change from the hundred or so other historicals I've read. I felt like I was reading Roses diary, straightforward but deeply passionate. It was nice that the really flowery prose was only during the coupling scenes, which were tasteful and the word choices weren't overly contrived.
And as for Roses character? While I generally look for heroines that are completely kick-ass and independent, I get that this is a very modern possibility only. Given the time frame of this book, it makes sense that Roses is submissive to Wilkie, which is somewhat against the grain in terms of characterization in other more recent historicals. But what sets this book apart from, say, those 70's submissive romances, is that there is no over-bearing, rapetastic Alpha. Wilkie is a good combination of fierce warrior and compassionate human being who doesn't act like a rutting primate (well, only in the really good ways).
So, while I'm not the most cultivated reader out there, I know what I like and I like to be charmed. I like to read about swoonworthy heroes and interesting heroines and exciting, fresh looks at plot devices. For me, Highlander Claimed made my palette sing for all those reasons.