Cover of the novel Surrender and the text "A review fo Pamela Clare's Surrender" with five gold stars beneath the title.

A Review of Surrender, by Pamela Clare

Surrender is the first book in Pamela Clare’s MacKinnon’s Rangers series. This novel is both a rollicking adventure set during the Seven Years War in North America and a steamy Scottish Highlander romance all in one!

Setting

New York Colony, along the Hudson River – Lake Champlain corridor, 1758.

Main Characters

Ian MacKinnon is the oldest of the three MacKinnon brothers. Their family was one of the highland clans who fought with the Jacobites and lost everything at Culloden, and then set out to make a new start in the North American colonies. Accused of a murder his accuser knows full well he did not commit, he is forced to fight for the hated British in their war against the French or else he and his brothers will hang.

Lady Anne Burness Campbell’s father and brothers died at Culloden fighting for the British against the Jacobite uprising. She became the ward of her powerful and sadistic uncle, and when she would not take her mother’s unwilling place in his bed, her uncle had her branded a thief and sold as convict labor in North America.

Romance

The frontier farm where Annie’s master and mistress live is attacked by a raiding party of the French and their Abenaki allies, and Annie flees into the woods, where her pursuers have her cornered. Ian, after years of war, defies orders and endangers his men to rescue her. He has no idea who she is, only that if he lets this brave woman be murdered, he will have let the war destroy a key part of his humanity.

Annie, afraid of losing her newfound freedom, lies about her name. A decision she doubles down on, despite her growing attraction to Ian, when she realizes he is a MacKinnon and would likely turn her in – at best – if he discovered she was an Argyll Campbell.

When she finds out his commander is a powerful friend of her uncle’s, she accepts Ian’s protection, which forces them into close proximity, as she takes refuge in his tiny cabin in the rangers’ camp at the fort. And with forced proximity comes lowered barriers and a losing battle against temptation.

Plot

Lord William Wentworth, grandson of the British king, loathes Ian MacKinnon, but recognizes his critical skills in fighting a battle in the North American wilderness against the French. He has Ian flogged for disobeying orders, and is is puzzled by the young woman Ian risked himself for – she seems intriguingly familiar, despite her peasant’s clothing.

He has a running battle of wills with Ian, and will not let go of the mystery Annie “Burns” presents. All the while, he is prosecuting a war against the French in which any of them could be killed.

Historical Worldbuilding

Pamela Clare did fabulous job of researching the rangers in the Seven Years War, which was the war in which the rangers became celebrities and the British recognized how indispensable they were, despite their unsavory behavior and independent-minded form of wilderness warfare.

Many of the story’s events and almost all of the settings are drawn from real events and locations in the history of Roger’s Rangers. Clare does a superb job of dropping you down right in the middle of one of the most consequential wars in world history.

Lake Champlain

Tropes

This is a classic protector romance, with our military hero and his deadly skills protecting our heroine from almost perpetual physical harm. It is also a forbidden love story with the hero and heroine from warring families that fought on opposite sides at Culloden. Finally, it is an opposite sides of the tracks romance, since Ian was raised in poverty on the frontier, and Annie was raised in luxury, and if she can prove her innocence, she is due to inherit at least some of her late father’s wealth.

Secondary Characters

Lord Wentworth is a worthy, three-dimensional villain who can carry his role through the rest of the series. And there are two more books after Surrender, as both Morgan and Connor MacKinnon not only serve under their brother in this story, but are teased as intriguing heroes in the coming stories.

Point of View

This novel is in third person, and in any given scene we might get Ian’s, Annie’s, or Lord Wentworth’s perspective. Often we get all three within the same scene.

In Summary

  • This book is both a fraught, steamy romance and a rollicking adventure story based in real history. Two thumbs up! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘
  • It is a historical romance set in eastern and northern New York Colony during the Seven Years War (also known as the French and Indian War) in 1758.
  • The main characters are vivid, flawed, and irresistible, and ultimately make deep sacrifices to be with each other.
  • The history is excellent, and true to US and Scottish history, both of which are juicy beyond words in this period.
  • The tropes are protector, forbidden love, and opposite sides of the tracks.
  • The heat level is about a three out of five and is both steamy and central to the development of their relationship.
  • The novel takes place during a violent frontier war, in a time when army life was brutal for soldiers even when they were not in battle, and that is accurately, but not gratuitously, depicted.

We need more like these, please!

This is the first romance novel I have found that takes place during the war my next book set in. There must be more that I haven’t found yet. Please let me know if you know of any! I keep having to default to the Daniel Day Lewis version of Last of the Mohicans to explain when and where my next book takes place. There are a number of romances set during the Revolution, two decades later, but the Seven Years War is scandalously under-represented.

Even colonial New England, where Devil in Our Hearts is set, doesn’t get as much representation as it deserves. Please help me find the ones that are out there, so I can, in turn, help others find them!

And always remember that the greatest kindness you can do an author and fellow readers is to leave reviews on Amazon and other retailers’ sites. This costs you no money and is the most powerful tool to help people find the books they will love!

Image of Lake Champlain by Don Johnoghue from Pixabay

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