Frances Housden really outdid herself in the fourth book in her best selling Chieftain series with "Chieftain in the Making" with so many elements that I was never certain what was going to happen next. It was both captivating and magical which I enjoyed very much. I also enjoy when character's from previous books in the series make an appearance. Another exceptional read in the Chieftain series.
In this story Rob is the 21 year old McArthur heir , is caught on the wrong side of the Border and held for ransom where he meets the beautiful Sixteen year old Half Norman and hard Scottish beauty Melinda La Mont. She is the daughter of the Norman Baron Henry La Mont that is holding Rob for ransom. One thing leads to another and Rob and Melinda fall in love. The secret is the Wolfsdale Manor where Rob is being held is none other the place where Rob was born and had been his Grandfather's home for his first eleven years. Woldfsdale had been granted to Melinda's father plus a Barony from King William for his services to the Crown. This piece of information Rob does not share with his beloved Melinda or anyone else for he knows his life would be forfeit if her father ever found out.
Promises were made claiming Rob will send Melinda when they find out the ransom was paid and he is to return home to Scotland to his home at Cragenlaw. Of course Rob has twisted emotions not want to leave his beloved whom he had made a woman during his captivity plus her father had been gone an entire month. Melinda promised to wait for Rob. He had gone to look for her about nine months later not realizing she would be giving birth, Rob hoping to get a glimpse of Melinda not knowing if she was alive or dead. He follows a white stag and meets a group of Gypsies camping on the woods and meets a young female dwarf Rowena who can read fortunes as one might call a seer. Two years have passed and Rob finds out finds out Melinda had given birth to his two twin son's, yet never even sent word to him that he was a father. So Rob decides with some help from some gypsy friends and his best friend also a dwarf named Nhaimeth he has been friends since a young lad, to abduct and marry his beloved Melinda plus he never wants his sons to be called bastards. A title he has had to endure his entire life.
Melinda has never held her second born twin son named Ralf, the one that looks like the father that abandoned her. As Melinda is not the same happy, free spirited girl, she had been two years ago, when her sons were conceived. Melinda can't even look at Ralf, blaming him being so huge for nearly killing her during the birth. Even at two years of age she has never held him and only will nurse her first born son named Harry and her wet-nursemaid nurses Ralf. He is the reason Melinda blame she nearly died in childbirth, Ralf being so large nearly coming out feet first. Luckily they were able to turn him while in the womb or she most likely would of died.
After being abducted by some gypsies things don't go exactly as planned as Melinda fears being murdered and once she finds out Rob is behind these shenanigans she does not exactly give him the warm loving reception he was expecting . Melinda calling him a bastard saying she hates him and then he see's her rejection of Ralf one of his sons, the one that most resembles Rob! Well he no longer has her on that high pedestal plus after the forced marriage. Melinda saying she will never make love to him again definitely breaking Rob's heart and spirit.
There is so much misunderstanding and mistrust plus her father wants her only so he can have an his heir the real reason he left her alone with with a captive in the manor for a month! Plus he has hand picked a Norman Knight for her to wed. Then her father wants the heir, the first born child as he doesn't care about the second twin or his own daughter. As he was always disappointed her not being a male a true heir, but to him her first born son will do nicely. As long as they have royal bloodlines is all that matters. Plus his wicked leman is an enemy of Rob's family as well and never sure what she is planning, as she and Melinda dislike each other right from the being. Yet her father, Henry La Mont so worried of appearances lies to everyone else calling his leman Brodwyn, Melinda's campanion. So many lies, deceit, racism treachery with much mystery and suspense, betrayal, unrequited love, enchantment, magic, folklore, and at long last love.
I really loved the dwarf story in this book but you will have to read this wonderful book to find out the details. Plus I love the mention of true history in a fictional historical is always wonderful with the mention of actual of actual famous people in Scottish, Saxon, and Norman history.
I highly recommend this wonderful captivating page turner Chieftain in the Making" and those of you like me who love history and romance will love Rob and Melinda's story. I also recommend you read all Frances Housden books in the Chieftain Series as they are all reads that you won't be able to put down! A riveting soul catching series you won't be able to forget!
The Chieftain Series
1. The Chieftain's Curse - Book 1 2. Chieftain By Command - Book 2 3. The Chieftain's Feud - Book 3 4. Chieftain in the Making - Book 4 5. The Chieftain's Daughter - Book 5 ( Release date TBA later this year) 6. Chieftain's Rebel - Book 6 ( Release date TBA later this year)