Get to know the MacGregors with historical ‘Rebellion’

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“Rebellion,” by Nora Roberts; Silhouette Books; $7.99.

If you haven’t read the series of books by Nora Roberts about the MacGregors, here’s some of the best advice you’ll ever receive as a romance reader: Read them now.

And if you’re just starting on what is guaranteed to be one of the most beloved series you’ll ever read, you might as well start with “Rebellion,” despite the fact it was actually written three years after the first four MacGregor stories.

“Rebellion” is a historical prequel to the later contemporary MacGregor books. “Rebellion” was followed by another historical “prequel” in 1990, “In From the Cold.” In “Rebellion,” Serena MacGregor lives in Scotland’s Highlands and has very good reasons for despising the English. So when she falls in love with an English earl, she’s not exactly thrilled about it.

Brigham came to Scotland out of loyalty to the man he thought should rule Great Britain. He grew up with stories about Scotland and wanted to help secure justice for the wrongs done to the country. What he didn’t want to do was get tied down to a woman. So when he falls in love with a quick-tempered, stubborn Scottish lass, he’s not exactly thrilled about it.

Both adapt – eventually.

While Brigham first prepares for war, then fights in it with Serena’s father and brother, the sparring between the English earl and Scottish lass intensifies until neither can resist the pull love has created.

But even once Serena admits her love for Brigham and acknowledges his importance in her life, she still harbors doubts that she can fit in his world, that she can be the proper sort of wife that she thinks he needs.

Of course, their worlds are changing.

Along with fiery romance between Serena and Brigham – plus a quick and sweet bonus romance between another couple – the drama surrounding the war in 1745 Scotland is somewhat overwhelming in this book. The other MacGregor books are much better than this one, but this is a good introduction to the series.

After this book is “In From the Cold,” most recently released in a two-for-one deal with “For Now, Forever,” the story of patriarch Daniel and his wife, Anna. Read that one after you read the stories of their children: Serena (“Playing the Odds”), Caine (“Tempting Fate”) and Alan (“All the Possibilities.”) You can throw in the story of MacGregor-in-law Grant (“One Man’s Art”) if you like as well. Then read Daniel’s story, before you start reading about his grandchildren.

How it stacks up

Overall rating: 3-plus of 5 hearts, with the other MacGregor books getting higher marks. Roberts doesn’t write many historical novels, but the ones she has written were written well.

Hunk appeal: 10-plus. Brigham is the perfect hunk to handle spunky Serena and gets major points for not trying to “tame” her.

Steamy scene grade: XXXX. Major points here, too.

Happily-ever-after: Good, especially because you know there’s more to come. These same characters reappear in “In From the Cold,” and their legacy continues in the many contemporary MacGregor books.

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