RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: Defiant by Pamela Clare

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Title: Defiant
Author: Pamela Clare
Publication Info: Berkley 2012
ISBN: 9780425246115
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Book Defiant This RITA® Reader Challenge 2013 review was written by jules. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Historical Romance category.

The summary:     

Major Connor MacKinnon despises his commander, Lord William Wentworth, beyond all other men. Ordered to rescue Wentworth's niece after the Shawnee take her captive, he expects Lady Sarah Woodville to be every bit as arrogant and contemptible as her uncle. Instead, he finds a brave and beautiful lass in desperate peril. But the only way to free Sarah is for Connor to defeat the Shawnee warrior who kidnapped her—and claim her himself.

Torn by tragedy from her sheltered life in London, Lady Sarah is unprepared for the harshness of the frontier—or for the attraction she feels toward Connor as he guides her first through the consummation of their forced union and then through the dangers of the wilderness. When they reach civilization, however, it is she who must protect him. For if her uncle knew all that Connor had done to save her, he would surely kill him. But the flames of passion, once kindled, are difficult to deny.

As desire transforms into love, Connor will have to defy an empire to keep Sarah at his side.

And here is jules' review:

This was the first Pamela Clare book I’ve read, so I was going into this third book in a series with a clean slate. That said I had no problems reading this. She interlaced what I needed to know about prior books as I needed to know them, but also not completely recapping them which really bothers me.

The story is gripping from the start moving from genuinely gruesome to heroic epic to the sexytimes within pages, but never in a jarring way. Everything moves along really naturally. I never had a problem with pacing or being overwhelmed by detail.

The story is my favorite part of the book. First, it’s in a location that I don’t normally get to read about in my romances (The Colonies during the French and Indian War). Second, she deftly weaves in historical details that made the story seem pretty historically authentic (not that I am a master of this time period in America. To out myself, I was wracking my brain trying to remember who won the war).

The second half of the novel has everything slowing down. I was already pretty engulfed in the world but ruminating on it I was getting a little bored based on the pace set early on. We moved away from the main characters spending time together and focused more on them separately or on our lead villain. I prefer romances that have the leads together more than not, especially in the latter parts of the book. It actually falls off the anticlimactic cliff quite brilliantly at the end, but maybe this is a side effect of this being the book that closes out the series.

Moving onto the characters, our leads, Connor and Sarah, are relatively well rounded and well written, but the plot and circumstances that are going on in their lives definitely are what drive the narrative. Connor is the wounded warrior; the “How can you love me after what I have done? I am surely to rot in hell!” sort of hero. Of course, all of that would be written in a Scottish brogue which took a bit to get used to while reading.

Sarah is the out of her element heroine who overcomes adversity after adversity with aplomb but still cannot leave all that she has been taught behind. I actually thought her actions and responses made sense for the characterization, but she still was a bit annoying. Maybe it was the fact that she was written to be a woman of the times, which is a good thing, and I am more used to other romance heroines who have that touch of anachronism that helps them relate better to a modern audience. Whichever the case, she was a great character, but I just didn’t connect.

The secondary characters suffer the same fate, and the villain is almost a caricature. I am not sure if more of his motivations are spelled out in earlier books, but in this he seemed irrational. The decisions he made had me raising a brow because he was supposed to be fighting a war… I did really like Joseph the Native American who is best friends with Connor, though.

I really liked the romance in this book. The scenes where Connor and Sarah were alone probably my favorite, though sadly few and far between. They had a rough start together that lead to a touching union. I felt the romantic element was kind of weak in the latter half of the novel since Sarah and Connor didn’t have as much alone time. Actually they didn’t even have a lot of time on the same page. But still I liked them as a couple. I just wish we got to see more of them!

Overall, Defiant is historically (as far as I can tell) accurate, well written, gripping, and page turning in the beginning. It slows down in the latter half, but I was still crazy enough involved with it to put off my day and keep reading. Despite some flaws, I highly enjoyed Defiant. It was a refreshing look into a different part of history with an engaging plot and interesting characters. I would recommend it for someone looking for something new in the historical genre.


This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks.

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  1. 1
    Cora J Ramos says:

    This was a good overall preview on this novel. I have not read it but will as all Ms. Clare’s novels I have read to date have been more than satisfying-way more.

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