Dugald Kerr, the laird of Brae Aisir, has lost his male heirs in the raging border wars. He has but one inheritor remaining: a beautiful headstrong granddaughter known as Mad Maggie. There are many eager to wed Maggie, for with her comes the profitable right to exact tolls at a famous safe passage through the border hills, which has been under the protection of the Kerrs for generations.
Keenly aware of the covetous interest in his lands, the laird announces that any man who can outrun, outride, and outfight Mad Maggie will win her and her inheritance. His proposition causes more chaos than resolution, for feisty Maggi'e reputation precedes her, and the one man to take up the challenge is roundly defeated.
But young King James V learns of the laird's problem and dispatches his cousin Fingal Stewart into the borders to wed the heiress without delay so that the valuable pass may be protected. But the laird insists his conditions be met, and the heated contest of wills between Fin and Maggie brings out the fire in them both. But there are those who will stop at nothing to gain control of Maggie's inheritance - even if it means getting rid of Fingal Stewart, and his border vixen.
Being thrown back into time of the sixteenth century Scotland we’re following Margaret “Mad Maggie” Kerr who at 17 years old find her self having to marry in order for her to keep the borderlands, a strip of land that connects Scotland and England, in the Kerr family. In order to find a husband that is a suitable match, Maggie’s grand father came up with a crazy idea to hold a contest that in order to win Maggie’s hand and the Kerr’s fortune, the challenger would have to out ride, run and fight her. Now Maggie isn’t known as Mad Maggie for any reason, she’s known throughout the land as being a tough as nails girl who successfully took over looking after the borderlands when her grand father became too ill. Beatrice Small did a good job in creating the world of sixteenth century Scotland with her clear description of the landscape and surroundings. Though I felt at times she was telling more than showing. It began to feel a bit much, though I know she wanted to showcase that a lot of time a passed, it began to feel more like a history time line instead of a story.
The characters were very interesting and Beatrice set up an even interesting plot line that could really make the story sizzle and pop and at many points it did, having me flipping though the pages wanting to find out what would happen to Maggie and Fingal Stewart. But I wanted more from these characters. I felt that their relationship could have had more intensity, tension and passion giving the time they were living in and the situations that brought them together. I could feel some passion between them characters in certain scenes but they were few and far between overshadowed by the plot. I liked Maggie and her strong will knowing her not to just except any man to marry and standing up took Fingal and being his equal and partner and not some demure girl who disappeared into the background once Fingal showed up. I was shocked looking back and realizing that Maggie was only seventeen, she acted way more mature than that even for her time. Fingal seemed like a good match for her through I disagreed with some of his actions throughout the story. They made a strong interesting couple. Even though there were some things I disliked about the story I feel that Beatrice Small created a interesting story with great attention to detail, plot and I know some will enjoy this book as well as her others.