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Reiver's Bride: The Secret Clan    by Amanda Scott order for
Reiver's Bride
by Amanda Scott
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

This fourth book in the Secret Clan series is the exciting tale of Sir Christopher (Kit) Chisholm. As readers know from the third book, Highland Bride, Kit was not dead as he was believed to be, but was wrongly accused of murder and incarcerated on board a ship. Now Kit escapes along with his two steadfast comrades and fellow convicts, Willie and Tam. And upon his return, Kit is amazed to find that his evil uncle Eustace has not only usurped his properties and his title with considerable alacrity, but is also all set to marry Kit's fianc9e. Instead of immediately confronting his uncle, Kit decides to adopt a wait and watch policy.

One moonlit night, Lady Anne Ellyson has the misfortune to encounter enterprising reivers (bandits) and is amazed to find that their leader is none other than her cousin Fiona's betrothed, Kit Chisholm. Anne begs Kit to come to Fiona's rescue and stop the marriage to Eustace, but is disheartened by Kit's lukewarm response. She tries her best to forget the fiery response which Kit's kiss elicited from her, not knowing that Kit himself was equally affected. Meanwhile everything is in turmoil in the magical world. Maggie Malloch is furious with, and afraid for, her beloved but somewhat dumb son Claud, who has vanished. She hopes that shape-shifting villain Jonah Bonewits has banished Claud to the mortal world instead of killing him. Now Maggie's got to juggle negotiating the fragile peace between the Merry Folk and the Helping Hands, while looking for her hidden son and her mortal charges.

Amanda Scott effortlessly spins a tale which is a mix of romance, history and magic. Its twist is that while Anne and Kit are attracted to each other, Kit is betrothed to Anne's cousin. There are many mysterious characters, and at times it seems as if no one is as they claim to be. Aliases abound and there are imposters galore in Mute Hill House where most of the story takes place. There is not a great deal of mystery to the story of the mortals, but the otherworldly Maggie and Catriona's search for Claud is suspenseful. The magical creatures no longer merely act as benevolent fairy godmothers, but are instead mired in their own conflicts. This is an interesting development as the two story levels occasionally entangle, with entertaining results from magic loose among unsuspecting mortals.

Characters are well detailed and realistic, authentic historical details pepper the script, and unpredictable plot developments make Reiver's Bride a worthwhile read. Kudos to Amanda Scott for once again capturing readers' hearts and giving new wings to their imaginations.

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