By: Laurin Wittig
Rating: 4/5 Cogs
Hidden deep in the rugged Scottish Highlands lies the Highland Targe, an ancient relic guarded for centuries by clan MacAlpin. It is said the Targe can shield the heart of the Highlands from invaders and now, as part of his plan to crush the Scottish rebellion, the English king wants the Targe for himself . . . .
Rowan MacGregor, orphaned niece to the chief of the MacAlpins and the rock her family depends upon, is worried. With the dwindling health of her aunt, the Guardian of the Targe, the protections that have kept the clan safe and prosperous are fading, and the new Guardian, one of her cousins, has yet to be chosen. Rowan wants nothing more than to see the clan protected again, but when it seems that will never happen, she despairs—even when a handsome and charming stranger comes to her aid.
Nicholas fitz Hugh is not what he seems. Half-English, half-Scottish, he turned his back on his Scottish heritage early in his life, giving his loyalty to England instead. Now he is a talented and cunning spy charged with finding and stealing the Highland Targe for his king.
But when Nicholas finds himself falling for the bonny Rowan and wanting to protect the family she holds so dear, he is forced to choose between his king’s will and his own: Will he betray his king and his mission? Or will he turn his back on the woman he has come to love?
Ever since I saw Braveheart when I was a little girl, I've been fairly obsessive over Scottish historical romances, so when I saw this book available on netgalley for review, I jumped at the opportunity. I am certainly glad that I did. This is a fantastic story of magic, love and betrayal that will enrapture your heart and entrance you in Scottish mythology. The characters are well developed and loveable, even the ornery Scotia won a place in my heart.
Nicholas and Rowan are a powerful couple who complete each other in every way. I found Nicholas' betrayal of Longshanks admirable, proving that he would do anything to protect not only the woman he loves, but her clan as well. I did have a little bit of a hard time believing that the clan would so easily forgive Nicholas (as well as Rowan forgiving him so easily), but it seemed necessary to complete the story the way that it was.
I loved the extra sense of magic in this story. It added an aspect of the story that I found interesting that isn't normally in many of the historical books that I read. The magic was well done and never seemed to overpower the story, acting more as a catalyst to show the importance of Nicholas to Rowan's life.
This may be an odd observation, but one aspect of the story that I couldn't help but be pleased with was the Scottish accents used during the dialogue. Many books, I find, tend to overdo the accents in dialogue, making it more difficult and slower to read and understand. I feel that the author did a fantastic job adding enough accent to show the Scottish heritage without going overboard and making it difficult to understand for a person that isn't as familiar with the accent.
This book was a great read and I ate it up in under a day. If you enjoy a historical romance with some added magic, this is the book for you.
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