The Devil Of Kilmartin
by Laurin Wittig, historical (2002)
Jove (Highland Fling), $5.99, ISBN 0-515-13421-X

Never let it be said that Laurin Wittig's debut isn't lacking in clichés. It brims with them, it is stuffed with them, in fact, this book may as well be the biggest clichéd-stuff turkey in the land if the author doesn't spoil it all by writing well. Despite the clichés, The Devil Of Kilmartin is a pleasant read.

Our heroine Elena of Lamont can heal with her hands. Fancy that! Despite being blessed with such power, she loses her daddy, her brothers, her home, and she flees as she escapes the attention of the obligatory megalomaniac villain all stories like this one must have. She should have touched her own forehead first, maybe then she can do some kickass kungfu on the villain's butt.

Of course, her "gifts" are nothing more than an excuse for her to be either healing or be vulnerable. While running, she still has time to heal a wounded man who turns out to be Symon MacLachlan, laird of the neighboring clan, infamously called the Devil of Kilmartin. Devil, Demon, Dark, Butcher - these Scots sure are imaginative when it comes to bestowing nicknames on themselves.

So she seeks his protection, but can she trust him? Can he trust her? Will there be a marriage of convenience? (What do you think?) Will she be healing his wounds yet again? Will there be lots of bedside healin' and lovin'? Will there be the usual passel of secondary characters (cackling wise old crone, the distrustful brother, et cetera) in Symon's keep? Will the bad guy show up for the obligatory showdown towards the end?

Really, what do you think?

The heroine's growing grand love seems to parallel her increased healing activity. This is a macabre ghoulish caregiving virgin heroine at her finest - you can all do what you want with her, just let her tend to the sick and the dying and she'll have an orgasm on the spot. It doesn't take much for the hero to get her naked - just show her his wound and ta-da!

Despite everything, the story unfolds very nicely. The author has an engaging style that draws me into her story pretty well. The clichés in their abundance amuse me perversely in a "Spot That Cliché!" manner rather than annoy. I may not remember a thing about The Devil Of Kilmartin a few hours after closing it, but I will remember that I enjoyed the book while it lasted. Maybe that's all I can ask for sometimes.

Rating: 80

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