Highlander Unchained (MacLeods of Skye Trilogy #3)

Highlander Unchained - Monica McCarty 3-3.5 stars (maybe)The 3rd book in this trilogy is much like the other two books... different Hero and Heroine, of course, but similar story. That's not all bad, but perhaps because I read them back-to-back-to-back, this book didn't quite seem as original as the first, IMO.Lachlan needs to marry Flora MacLeod, but he needs to woo her into getting her permission to marry. Lachlan's brother is in King James' dungeon, and only the Earl of Argyll can get him released; and Argyll wants to marry off his difficult cousin, Flora, before she causes any more scandals. Lachlan also needs Argyll's backing against Flora's half-brother Hector; Hector took Lachlan's favorite castle, imprisoning the people who lived there and taking all the spoils and riches of the castle, people, and lands for himself. Lachlan is the chieftan and laird of his people, and he's been fighting since the age of 10 against Hector (who killed his father) to keep his family, his clan, and his lands. He's in a no-win situation, except Lachlan does have a friendship with Flora's other half-brother, Rory MacLeod. But Lachlan knows that Rory wouldn't allow Flora to be forced into marriage. And as badly as he needs the alliance and the man-power, Lachlan also needs the money and lands from Flora's tocher (dowry) to sustain his people.Flora encounters Lachlan when she is trying to run elope with a court dandy. Lachlan and his men capture the carriage and kidnap Flora, taking her to Lachlan's only remaining run-down castle. In the process, the dandy runs off, leaving Flora to the mercy of Lachlan, and Flora manages to stab Lachlan in the side with a knife.Flora is a complex woman. Her mother was married four times to four different men - her lands, her wealth, her connections all made her a bargaining chip. None of her husbands truly loved her or treated her with compassion... perhaps the only one who came close was murdered on her wedding night. Flora's mother raised her to be independent - to not make the same mistakes that she made... to not be a bargaining chip, but to hold out to make her own choice as to the man she marries. This in a day where marriages are arranged between those of title, wealth, and land - they were mostly political marriages. And women were definitely bargaining chips for peace between feuding clans, especially the dowry (tochers) they brought to the table.So I *get* why Flora wants a choice. But I got tired of her whining and arguing and petulant behavior about it all... the same discussion endless times about she wants to CHOSE. OK, we get it! Perhaps Lachlan didn't get it right away, but even after he did, Flora had to make a big deal about it. And I understand her anger and feeling that he betrayed her, except that Lachlan was right about her response. So I don't know how anything could have happened differently. Flora needed to see that there was another side and a whole different world out there, where people like her brother Hector gave NO CHOICE to anyone, ever.BUT, the same conversations over and over again... the sameness of the storyline (in many respects) to the other 2 books in this series... well, I didn't enjoy the story quite as much as I could have. I felt that there was some "dialing it in" on this one, even though McCarty's "dialing it in" is way better than most (because she's such a great writer). That's why only 3 stars. The .5 star is for the legend/myth about the curse (no Maclean chief will prosper without a Campbell by his side) and the amulet from Flora's mother made a charming addition to the story, which brought that sense of wonder and originality, brief as it was. (And predictable as we knew the outcome would be; but that didn't make it less enjoyable.)