As readers, we all have authors who are auto-buys, you know the ones that if they wrote the back of a cereal box you would be first in line to buy it. Well Hannah Howell is one of those authors for me. I have enjoyed all her books (with the exception of her vampires) with the Murray Clan. Her heroines usually possess a unique gift that either the hero has to endure or embraces, much to the surprise of the heroine. Unfortunately, the heroine's gift in HIGHLAND WOLF wasn't very well developed. Ms Howell tells us about it rather than having the heroine show us through her actions and in the dark moment-the rescue of the hero, she doesn't use it. It seems an after thought at best.
Also her hero, Sir John Drummond is a letdown. His wife has died in a fire that he is framed for, making him an outlaw of the crown, so he leaves his two year old daughter behind (lives in a cave for three years) in the care of the man who is responsible for his exhile (the reader knows this upfront/not a spoiler). He has an epiphany (not sure what caused this) and decides to go back to his keep in disguise (not very convincing--changes hair color and adds a eye patch) to find out who really did his wife in. Big Martha (the cook) figures out who he is but no one else does, makes you wonder how well his clan really knew him. His marriage was one not a love match resulting in a less than satisfying sexual relationship, but he states (in the beginning of the book) his wife was a good mother. But as the story unfolds he is quick too admit she wasn't a good mother, leaving the reader to wonder at the inconsistency.
The heroine, a bastard by birth has been passed form one clan member to another never calling anyplace home, has but only a few moments of indecision (she doesn't want to be like her mum) before she falls for the charm and into the bed of the hero. Yet after the dark moment, she can't marry the hero, because she isn't good enough. What!!! She was too self-effacing for me to really care about her. This coupled with the hero constantly claiming her as "mine" (this is really getting to bug me with medievals) when another character has designs on her, he treats her like his property even when he isn't sure he is ready for such a long term relationship and the heroine lets him get a way with it. NO WAY!! This is atypical for Howell heroine. I can't imagine a Murray heroine putting up with that. An ok read but not her best, if you haven't read her before find ELFKING'S LADY, UNCONQUERED or any of the Murray clan titles first.