Tuesday, February 18, 2014

ARC Review: True to the Highlander

True to the Highlander (Loch Moigh #1)

by Barbara Longley


Treachery rules the Highlands of 1423. With their king captured by the English, Scottish nobles plot to ransom James behind the back of the brutal regent holding their land in his iron grip. But not every clan wishes to see King James back on his throne…
Sitting atop this powder keg of bloodthirsty rivalries, Malcolm of clan MacKintosh takes the mysterious, lone maiden he finds along his road as a bad omen…though an undeniably beautiful one. When he attempts to save her from a rogue within his own garrison, she deftly brings Malcolm to his knees. Who is this willful lass who has so quickly laid siege to his heart?
Alethia Goodsky has met all kinds working at the New York Renaissance Festival, but no one like the fortune-teller who tasks her with a cryptic life-saving mission and flings her into the fifteenth century. Now Alethia must rely on her wits to unravel the mystery in this violent land. Malcolm has sworn to protect her, but her gifts may soon make her his protector. With enemies closing in, Alethia must choose between finding a way home…and remaining true to her Highlander.
Themes: Historical, Paranormal, Time Travel

Rating: 4.25 stars

Heat Rating: 


A new author is always a welcome discovery and I have found a gem to add to my shelves in Barbara Longley.  I was a bit skeptical when I read the blurb to this story because I’ve found very few time travel romances I have really enjoyed, but this one definitely joins the ranks.  Longley uses just a bit of magic to set the story, but the real point is the love that can develop between two such different individuals if they just allow themselves the chance to give in.  Longley takes us from 21st-century New York to the wilds of 15th-century Scotland, a dangerous and volatile place, and to the love of an amazing highland warrior that never imagines his match in this strange and intriguingly exotic lass.  I found myself so enraptured with this story that I couldn’t put it down and finally fell asleep with it still in my hands, something that honestly rarely happens.  The story pulls you in from the very beginning and doesn’t let you go until the very ending, though even that’s not the whole story because I’m already DYING for the next two books!!  Finesse, subtlety, and flair all provide a well-written, fascinating, and intriguing tale of two lovers that were meant to be even though their worlds were separated by the world and six centuries.
Alethia is working her usual renaissance fair circuit as she gears up for her first year at Julliard, filling her need for her music and her love of history as she earns a little extra cash, never imagining her life is about to change irrevocably.  Though she knows she shouldn't, she is drawn in by the tears of the gypsy fortune teller that has set up her tent at the fair.  The woman is obviously nuts, but seems harmless enough, until a simple conversation has her waking up on the road in the middle of nowhere Scotland six centuries in the past.  Waking to find herself surrounded by a rather intimidating band of riders, Alethia is determined to get away from them so she can figure out a way to get home.  Malcolm, the son of the local Laird, doesn’t have time for the mysterious wildcat that he has discovered alone on his land, but he is unable to turn away from her and decides that until her mystery is solved he’ll keep her close.   Arriving in his keep, Alethia finds herself surrounded by the people and things she’s always found most interesting and though she knows she shouldn’t, she quickly become attached to her new world—especially to Malcolm.  As they get to know one another more, the passion between them is irresistible and Malcolm knows that Alethia is the type of woman that he wants for his own.  Alethia has only one goal, complete her assigned task to save Malcolm and then get herself back home, but sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants.  As they both find themselves falling deeper and deeper, the truth of their lives will soon make the choice to trust or move on for them if they don’t work together to overcome their pasts, understand their present, and uncover the future that awaits them.
Wow, can I just say I love the attributes of these characters.  Alethia is a half-Scottish, half-Native American beauty, with smarts, skills, and determination.  (Being a similar mix of mutt I definitely loved her background) She is fiery, sassy, and sensual, all things that lead Malcolm on a merry chase.  Though she is in the ultimate vulnerable position, a woman alone out of time and surrounded by potential enemies, she is determined to find a place for herself in this new world, even as she hopes to be able to make her way home someday. Her ability to fend for herself instead of depending on Malcolm for every little thing vexes him to no end, but makes me smile every time and reminds me that even though the cultures are different, women will always find a way to confuse the men around them.  I loved seeing her stand up to Malcolm, even as she falls in love with him, and it is obvious that she has so much love to give.  I look forward to seeing her grow even more in future stories.  

Malcolm is your typical medieval prince of the castle: arrogant, determined, bossy, and always in the right, but his good attributes thankfully outweigh his shortcomings.  Basically he is just a good man, but still a man, so he is lost when it comes to dealing with Alethia.  He is strong, sexy and sees his way as the only way, but as he gets to know Alethia more and more, once he gets over the frustration, he begins to see just how much of a prize she is.  Though he keeps his emotions close to the kilt :), it is obvious to all but Alethia that he is head over heels for her, but showing her just how much she means to him is a bit more difficult for Malcolm.  He has never been one to jump right in and tackle the emotional issues he finds himself in, but when the necessity arises you can always count on him to give Alethia just what she needs—a man to support and cherish her through all time.
True to the Highlander is one of those historical romances that can lead you a bit astray with the belief that it is a paranormal romance; I grant you there is a bit of magic involved, but so many historical novels were written when magic was more accepted and understood so for me I can’t agree with that classification.  What I can say is that it was a wonderfully written, sensual and spectacular historical romance that takes you back to the time of fairies, knights, and chivalry, where, though lives of women were hard, there were enough good men in the world to give you hope that love could be found. Alethia is a brilliant and breathtaking character with the will and strength to see her through even the most challenging of life experiences: falling in love with a true highlander.   Malcolm is a strong alpha male, with the inner core of goodness that allows him to shine as a man to strive to find for yourself.  Together Malcolm and Alethia sparkle with passion, whether they are fighting or loving, and seeing them together on the page draws you in to their every emotion.  There was just enough villainy in this story, historically accurate too I might add, to give the goodness of the MacKintosh clan a foil and give all those sexy men something to do with their time, other than drive the women nuts.  I have read a lot of authors still early in their careers, but I am happy to have gotten in on the ground floor with Barbara and will be spreading the word about her to all my favorite friends.  I can’t wait to find out how she handles Robley and Hunter’s stories, the next two in the trilogy, but I will be sure to keep the tissues and chocolate on hand for those, after reading Alethia's story. 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

1 comment:

  1. I really liked this one. The laughter....oh, the laughter! I busted out laughing so hard one time my dog took off running. (when he found her and what ensued). Like you, I'm anxious to follow this series and loved Longley's writing.