Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Iain Munro and Tavish MacIntyre have been in love for years. Even though they only get to see one another for short periods a few times a year, the young men have formed a strong bond of love and commitment to one another. But a future between them is next to impossible. Relationships between men during this time in Scotland are illegal, not to mention that Tavish will soon be the laird of Creachann-Dubh with responsibilities to have a wife and heir.
While Tavish is more impulsive and reckless, Iain has accepted that there can not be a future between the men, and broke things off with Tavish the last time they met. But Tavish is determined not to let his love slip away, and once again Iain can not resist this man he has grown to love and to need desperately. Things are even further complicated as Tavish’s mother begins plans to see him wed, and Tavish’s sister seems to know what is going on between them. These men have been in love since childhood and now must find a way to fulfill their responsibilities and their duties while at the same time reaching for their own happiness and figuring out a way to be together.
Oh, this is such a wonderful story, I fell in love with Iain and Tavish right away. This one pushes all my buttons. Virgin heroes. Young love. Historic Scotland (and kilts!). We first meet Iain and Tavish as they are reunited after Iain has broken things off. He is determined to do what he thinks is right, but at the same time he can not resist Tavish, the man he loves deeply. Interspersed with the scenes from present day, we get “interludes” that flash back to the early stages of their relationship, beginning when Iain was 16 and they first kiss in the stables. Sigh. Gormley does such a fabulous job with these young love scenes, as we watch these two guys fumble their way along, so sweet and earnest. (Although I did get quite a giggle the first time they try anal sex as neither of them has a clue what to do.) Gormley really captures that wonder of the first kiss, that thrill of being with someone who excites you so much, the terror of discovery, and the longing and intensity that often comes with young lovers.
Iain and Tavish are such a great contrast. Light and dark. Impulsive and practical. Reckless and steady. They make such a good match for one another. Iain grounds the wilder Tavish, reigning in some of his more crazy behavior. Tavish knows he has no head for being laird, and no interest either. He knows only with Iain at this side could he manage his responsibilities. And Iain is so practical, working for his father’s farm, taking care of his brothers. Honor and integrity are essential to Iain, but he also sometimes needs someone to push a little, to get him to open up to chances in life and seize the good things in front of him. These guys are such a great match together, and so loving and adorable. They are so sweet and mushy and lovey (I just loved how Tavish calls him “wee Iain”). Seriously, your heart will melt for these guys.
I think Gormley does a nice job with the pacing here, interspersing the flashbacks with the present day in a way that really works well. The flashback chapters are all labeled “Interlude” which makes it really clear when you are in the past versus present and I had no trouble keeping up with the time jumps. My only complaint though is that I felt the ending was a bit abrupt. Not everyone might love the resolution these guys come to, but I felt that it worked well given the time period and their circumstances (don’t worry, definitely an HEA). But I feel like both the characters and the reader needed a little more time to adjust to the new situation before the book ends and things seemed to come to a close very quickly. One or two more scenes between these guys after the conflict resolves would have gone a long way to making me feel more settled and ending the book on a warmer tone.
So I definitely recommend this one and think it was just fabulous. I just adored Iain and Tavish and thought The Laird’s Forbidden Lover was such a warm, romantic story with engaging heroes and a lot of sweetness. For my young love and virgin hero fans, you are not going to want to miss this. And for my kilt fans, you won’t want to miss this either. Great story, super sexy and romantic, and highly recommended.
Cover Review: I am not sure these guys look quite of the right time period, nor do they look young enough for their ages during the scene this recreates. But I loved that it shows redheaded Iain and dark haired Tavish. Plus, the stable setting is perfect as it is the scene of two pivotal moments in the story.