Thursday, May 24, 2018

Best Scottish Historical Romances!

Geddes MacGregor once wrote, “No one in Scotland can escape from the past. It is everywhere, haunting like a ghost." Scotland’s past is the subject of this list, romance novels set in Scotland, most in that magical part of Scotland called the Highlands. Some are romances with a Scottish hero or heroine. All are rated 4 or 5 stars. Enjoy!

·               A Dangerous Love, The Border Lord's Bride, The Captive Heart, The Border Lord And The Lady, The Border Vixen and Bond Of Passion (from The Border Chronicles) by Bertrice Small
·               A Gentle Feuding by Johanna Lindsey
·               A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
·               A Year and a Day by Virginia Henley
·               Abducted Heiress by Amanda Scott
·               Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught
·               Beloved Rogue by Penelope Williamson
·               Border Lord by Arnette Lamb
·               Bound to the Highlander by Kate Robbins
·               Bride of the MacHugh by Jan Cox Speas
·               Charming the Shrew and Daring the Highlander (MacLeod duology) by Laurin Wittig
·               Children of the Mist by Aleen Malcolm
·               Claimed by Tarah Scott
·               Clandara by Evelyn Anthony
·               Come The Morning, Conquer the Night, Seize the Dawn, Knight Triumphant, The Lion in Glory, When We Touch and The Queen’s Lady (the Graham series) by Heather Graham Pozzessere
·               Davy’s Last Ride by Brit Darby
·               Desiring the Highlander by Michele Sinclair
·               Devil of Kilmartin by Laurin Wittig
·               Devil’s Mistress by Heather Graham
·               Emerald Embrace by Shannon Drake (aka Heather Graham)
·               Forever My Love by Rebecca Brandewyne
·               Gather the Stars by Kimberly Cates
·               Heartstorm by Elizabeth Stuart
·               Heather House: Witch of the Moors by Carmen Caine
·               Highland Moon by Judith E. French
·               Highland Rebel by Judith James
·               Highland Warrior, Highland Outlaw and Highland Scoundrel (the Campbell trilogy) by Monica McCarty
·               Highlander’s Hope (a Regency based in Scotland) by Collette Cameron
·               If You Dare, If You Desire and If You Deceive (the MacCarrick Brothers trilogy) by Kresley Cole
·               In From the Cold by Nora Roberts
·               His Stolen Bride by Shelly Thacker
·               Kilgannon and The Wild Rose of Kilgannon by Kathleen Givens
·               Knight of Fire by Shannon Drake (aka Heather Graham)
·               Lady of the Glen by Jennifer Roberson
·               Laird of the Mist by Paula Quinn (and all six in her MacGregor/Children of the Mist Series)
·               Lord of a Thousand Nights by Madeline Hunter
·               Lord of Fire by Emma Merritt
·               Moonstruck Madness by Laurie McBain
·               My Lord Monleigh by Jan Cox Speas
·               My Wicked Enchantress by Meagan McKinney
·               On a Highland Shore and Rivals for the Crown by Kathleen Givens
·               Oriana by Valerie Vayle
·               Rebellion by Nora Roberts
·               Rosamund by Bertrice Small
·               Silk and Steel by Cordia Byers
·               Sound of the Heart by Genevieve Graham
·               Snow Raven by Patricia McAllister
·               Tempted and The Border Hostage, duology by Virginia Henley
·               The Bedeviled Heart, The Daring Heart and The Bold Heart by Carmen Caine
·               The Border Bride by Elizabeth English
·               The Border Lord by Jan Westcott
·               The Captive by Parris Afton Bonds
·               The Chieftain’s Curse by Francis Housden
·               The Daughters of Cameron by Aleen Malcolm
·               The Guardian by Genevieve Graham
·               The Lady and the Laird, Nicola Cornick
·               The Legend and The Destiny by Kathleen Givens
·               The Magnificent Rogue by Iris Johansen
·               The Passionate One, The Reckless One and The Ravishing One (the McClairen’s Isle trilogy) by Connie Brockway
·               The Pride of Lions, The Blood of Roses and Midnight Honor by Marsha Canham
·               The Renegade (first released as The Renegade and The Rose) by Christine Dorsey
·               The Queen’s Lady by Shannon Drake (aka Heather Graham)
·               The Taming, Ride Out the Storm and The Daughters of Cameron by Aleen
·               The Scotsman by Juliana Garnett (aka Virginia Brown)
·               Threads of Destiny by Arnette Lamb
·               To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt (one of the Four Soldiers series)
·               To Conquer a Highlander, Highland Hellcat and Highland Heat by Mary Wine
·               White Knight by Jaclyn Reding
·               Without Honor by Elizabeth Stuart

I hope you will consider my novels set in Scotland’s past… Rebel Warrior, A Secret Scottish Christmas and my novella, The Holly & The Thistle.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Virginia Henley’s THE BORDER HOSTAGE - A Wonderful Scottish Love Story

I love Virginia Henley's ability to immediately put me in the middle of an exciting story involving people with strong passions dealing with difficult circumstances. The Border Hostage is no exception. It reminds me of the pirate stories I love: a strong hero who takes what he wants though he has a gentle and noble heart; and a heroine who will not be captured even if her heart longs for the man who abducts her. All this and Scotland, too! I do recommend reading Tempted first as this is the 2nd in Henley's Clan Kennedy Saga and is truly a sequel with some of the same characters as the first.

The story is set in 1514 on the Borderlands between Scotland and England after Flodden Field where King James IV was killed. Young James V, still a toddler, is being raised under the watchful eye of his English mother (Henry VIII's sister) and the Earl of Angus, acting as guardian for the young king. Tina who is married to Black Ram Douglas is about to give birth to twins and her half brother, a bastard and half Gypsy, Heath Kennedy, is raising horses at the Douglas Castle. A raid by Scottish borderers nearly costs Heath his life.

In an act to recover his horses and have his revenge, Heath captures the Dacre heir (for ransom) and his betrothed, the dark-haired Raven Clarendon. Heath has seen Raven before and wants her for his own, so he decides he will not let her go when the Dacre heir is ransomed.

Raven is a wonderful heroine, fiercely independent and innocent (though not unaware of the ways of men). She is a free spirit who is trained by her grandmother in the ways of the Craft, a natural healer and (unusual for a woman), a falcon trainer.

This is a case of love at first encounter. Heath was quite clear about his desire to possess the lovely Raven. He'd had many women but she was the first to capture his heart. While Raven was attracted to Heath, she was trying to please her parents and marry the man she thought she was supposed to. That is so very believable.

This was a worthy sequel to Tempted. Frankly, I enjoyed the two books so much I was hoping there were more in this saga. Henley does a superb job of weaving in the history of a tumultuous time in Scotland's history with compelling tales of love. She created such wonderful characters I wanted to see more of them.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Virginia Henley’s TEMPTED - Captivating Story of Scottish Love in the Borderlands—a keeper!

In a complex, lusty tale of feuding Scottish clans during the time of James IV of Scotland and Henry VIII of England, Henley serves up a story that will grab you from the first page and will not let you go. I loved it. Henley has the ability to capture not only the time period, but also the culture of the borderlands between Scotland and England and the difficult but wonderful relationship between two stubborn, courageous people. I highly recommend this one.

Set in Scotland in 1512, this is the story of clans Douglas, Hamilton and Kennedy. Beautiful Valentina Kennedy, the oldest of the Kennedy daughters, was known as Flaming Tina for her glorious red-gold hair and her feisty temper. She was raised with her sister and brothers in Castle Doon in Ayr on the Southwest coast of Scotland where her father ruled as the Lord of Galloway. Tina despaired the lot of women that prevented them from enjoying male pursuits, and she frequently joined her brothers in their activities.

When Tina turns 17, her father insists she say yes to one of her many suitors. Tina thinks to marry the Hamilton heir but is happy when a gypsy tells her there will be no wedding for her this year. In a surprising turn of events, she is handfasted to her enemy, the powerful Black Ram Douglas, who she considers a brute of a man. Tina intends to have her revenge.

Henley develops some wonderful characters, including the ghosts of two star-crossed lovers from the past (another Kennedy and Douglas pairing), who constantly entertain. She paints vivid word pictures of the food, clothing and castles that draw you in and help you experience the times--and she does it all very well. In a fitting climax to the story, she superbly describes the battle between the English and Scots at Flodden where Scotland experienced a terrible defeat.

The second in the 2-book Clan Kennedy Saga is The Border Hostage and I recommend it, too!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Nora Roberts’ IN FROM THE COLD – Brilliant Story of a Scot and an Irish Lass on the eve of the American Revolution… A Keeper!

Set at the outset of the American Revolution, beginning in December 1773, this is the story of Ian MacGregor, who was wounded by a British soldier after participating in the Boston Tea Party. Ian fled to the wilderness of Massachusetts where he ended up in the barn of the Murphys and in the care of the young Irish widow, Alanna Murphy Flynn.

Alana is immediately attracted to the red-haired rebel but she fears his talk of revolution, not just for herself but for her brothers. Ian has fallen in love with Alana and means to have her as his wife. But he’ll need his aunt in Virginia to help him.

Brilliant descriptions and beautifully developed characters bring this story and the MacGregors to life.

Revolution is coming to America and while Alanna would resist, Ian knows America must fight for her freedom. Roberts adroitly weaves the conflicting emotions of the time into a love story between two strong-willed people. It’s a well told, fast-paced novella and so good one could only hope for more. 

The first story in the MacGregor series is Rebellion and I highly recommend it. However, all of the others that follow In From the Cold are, sadly, contemporaries. Would that Roberts would have continued writing historicals as it would have been fascinating to see her tell the history of America along with the MacGregor love stories. She did historicals so well.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Collette Cameron’s TO LOVE A HIGHLAND ROGUE – Charming Story of a Match Made by the King

Set in the Highlands in 1720, this is the story of Logan Rutherford, Laird of Lockelieth Keep, who was betrothed when he was six to Mayra Findlay, then a baby. They meet again when she is eighteen. He has decided to pose as his lookalike cousin, Coburn Wallace, to get a look at his soon-to-be bride. At issue is her dowry, half of which Logan’s father squandered before he died and the other half which Logan needs to save his lands.

Mayra thinks her absent betrothed is uncaring—he never answers her letters—and so she is determined tend it. Besides, she needs the remaining half of her dowry to save her family’s home. But she needs Logan’s help and the king’s permission. When she meets the handsome Coburn Wallace (never realizing he is Logan), she has another reason—she has fallen in love.

This is #1 in the Heart of a Scot series and it’s a good start, a witty story well told of Logan and Mayra’s slide into love. Cameron tosses in some unusual words and phrases that will make you smile and some Scottish brogue that gives the story an authentic feel.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day!!

“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.” ~ Stevie Wonder

      I wish you all a wonderful Mother’s Day full of good memories. My mother was a busy single mom, but she took time to teach me to read when I was four and took me to the library every Saturday morning to get some books. She was a great example and I miss her.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Scottish Highlands in Autumn

I have been to Scotland several times and one of my favorites was in September when the heather was blooming. The picture below is one I took. You can see all the photos from my trip on Pinterest HERE.
Heather on Skye in September
 From Elizabeth Stuart's HEARTSTORM, comes one of my favorite quotes. These are the thoughts of Anne MacKinnon, the heroine:

  “Autumn in the Highlands would be brief—a glorious riot of color blazing red across the moors and gleaming every shade of gold in the forests of sheltered glens. Those achingly beautiful images would be painted again and again across the hills and in the shivering waters of the mountain tarns until the harsh winds of winter sent the last quaking leaf to its death on the frozen ground.”

Autumn near Stirling

If you'd like to read one of my historical romances set in Scotland, I have three to offer you:

Rebel Warrior
The Refuge
A Secret Scottish Christmas

Rebel Warrior and The Refuge tell the story of Steinar of Talisand and Catriona of the Vale of Leven and take place in the court of King Malcolm III and Queen Margaret. The Refuge is the inspirational version.  

See them on Amazon along with A Secret Scottish Christmas, my newest Christmas story, a Regency in the Agents of the Crown series.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Nora Roberts’ REBELLION – Superb Storytelling of the Rising of 1745 and a Love That Would Not be Denied – A Keeper!

The story begins in 1735 when Serena MacGregor’s home in the Highlands is invaded by British dragoons and her mother is raped by their leader who wants to shame a Highland’s chief’s wife. And that night hatred for the English was born in Serena. Ten years later, in 1745, her brother Coll brings home his friend, Brigham Langston, whose mother might have been a MacDonald but he is English.

Serena means to hate Brigham but ends up falling in love. Brigham wants the fiery tempered lass and means to have her. But there is a matter of the Jacobite Rising of 1745 that will interfere.

It’s a time of rebellion in the Highlands as the Scots, sick of English oppression, long for their Bonnie Prince Charlie, their “king across the waters” to return and reclaim his throne. The Germans may reign in England but the Scots want their true king restored.

When I read about the Battle of Culloden that took place in 1746 and see the images that represent that fateful day, I am always deeply saddened. Not just for the battle that was lost or the thousands of Scots slain, but for the cruelty of England inflicted thereafter on a generation of Highlanders. The English destroyed a way of life.

Roberts brings this time in Scotland’s history to life with superb storytelling, wonderful characters and brilliant dialog. Rich in historical detail and passion-filled love, this is a keeper. I fell in love with Brigham whose heart beat to the Highlands though he was an English lord. And I cheered on Serena as she finally decided to claim the man her own heart could not deny.

First published in 1988, this is the story of the historical roots for Roberts’ contemporary MacGregor series. I am so sorry she gave us only two historical romance novels before moving on to other genres as her historicals are very, very good.