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The Macgregors: Daniel and Ian is a book by Nora Roberts containing two stories from her Macgregors series. According to the list on another of her books this is the first two books in the series but I actually think they're supposed to be last. That's just something to keep in mind if you are going to read these stories.
-For Now, Forever-
Daniel Macgregor is a wealthy Scottish business tycoon living in America. Anna Whitfield is a medical student at a time when women didn't often become doctors. When they meet Daniel is determined to make her his wife, even if having a career woman for a wife isn't part of his plan.
This story begins when Anna and Daniel are around 60, their children are grown and having children of their own and they have lived happily together for decades. Daniel has an accident and is close to death, unsure if Daniel is going to survive the reader is taken back to when the couple met. I found the introduction to this story very confusing. Having not read any of the previous books (because I was under the impression that this was the first) I didn't know the names of any of Daniel and Anna's children or their partners. Throughout the prologue Roberts bombards you with names, not just of Daniel and Anna's children, grandchildren and children-in-law but other people who are like family to them. I couldn't tell you who they are because it wasn't really explained. I probably shouldn't complain about this because this is something like story seven in the series but I do think it would have been better if Roberts had written it in a way that new readers could follow.
When the flashback begins the reader is unsure of if Daniel will survive or not. For me this was like a dark cloud over the entire story. I read romance novels because they're light hearted, you're guaranteed a happy ending and they leave me feeling good. In this case I wasn't convinced that there was going to be a happily ever after. I knew that Daniel and Anna would marry and spend a long time together but I felt that if Daniel then ended up dying (and I'm not saying if he did or not) it would ruin that for me. I guess some could say that Roberts managed to give some mystery to what is otherwise a very predictable genre but for me it was not a good thing.
Perhaps it is because of this that I never really felt a connection with this story or perhaps it's just that it's a really really dull novella. It's just all so ordinary and uneventful, the kind of romance that most of us will experience at some point in our lives, so why bother reading about it? There were a few things about the story that I liked, I liked that Anna was determined to be a doctor even though it was a struggle due to her gender. I liked that she was unwilling to give that up for Daniel. Unfortunately that wasn't enough to make me enjoy this story.
The worst thing is that Anna and Daniel are good characters and there's so much potential for this to have been a really good romance. As always Roberts has written a really strong female character and an equally strong male character and usually this would make for a really explosive romance so I'm not sure what went wrong with this one. I guess some people like their romance calmer than I do!
Part of the reason why I couldn't enjoy this romance is that you never feel like they're happy together. You're told that they are, both characters express the opinion that they are but it never really feels that way. Sometimes it feels like they are just trying to convince themselves that they're happy when really all they're doing is settling for each other.
-In From the Cold-
Ian is Scottish but he's been living in America for some time. He's committed to freeing America from British rule. After being injured he finds his way to a barn where he's nursed back to health by Allanna, a young Irish-American widow. When his good health returns he finds that he can't leave without her, but will Allanna be willing to give up her quiet life for him?
I did actually enjoy this story. It was short and there was little character development but for what it was it was enjoyable enough. I never really felt like the romance was sincere and was left unconvinced that Ian and Allanna were actually in love. It felt like there was potential but that they hadn't yet got to that point. I guess the story could have done with being longer so that Roberts could develop the characters and the romance more but at the same time I think I would have become bored if it had been much longer. By the end of the story I was left feeling like Allanna and Ian hadn't actually resolved any of their problems but overall Roberts delivers a sweet, if somewhat shallow romance.