Highland Warrior – Monica McCarty

Back Cover Copy:
The ruthless enforcer of Scotland’s most powerful clan, Jamie Campbell is the most feared man in the Highlands. Raw physical strength coupled with cunning political acumen make him a powerful force with whom few men will dare to reckon. Determined to see the Highlands tamed of its lawlessness and unrest, Jamie’s objectives are clear: under the guise of seeking the Chief of Lamont’s daughter’s hand in marriage, discover whether the Lamonts are harboring any outlawed MacGregors. But guise turns to desire when he meets the beautiful spitfire who rules the household with a dainty iron fist. The fierce Highlander never expects that the woman he wants above all others will test his duty and loyalty to his clan to the breaking point.

Cosseted and adored by her family, Caitrina Lamont has no intention of abandoning her beloved father and doting four older brothers for a husband—especially a Campbell. But Jamie Campbell is nothing like the parade of suitors that Caitrina’s father usually traipses across their hall. His raw masculinity threatens her in a way no man ever had before. But when Caitrina’s idyllic world is shattered, could the man she blames for her tragedy become her only hope for the future?

Caitrina Lamont and Jamie Campbell meet at the Highland gathering at Ascog, Caitrina’s home. Jamie is on a mission, which he hides by pretending to court Caitrina. Soon real feelings start to develop but Jamie’s reputation as Campbell’s Henchman is one of the reasons Caitrina rejects him and his proposal. After an attack on her home and family Caitrina is more bitter than ever and vows to avenge her family. Her pampered life is destroyed by the attack that was led by Jamie’s brother.
In an attempt to make up for the wrongdoing by his relatives, Jamie offers Caitrina marriage again so he can protect her with his name and return her home to her and her clan. Caitrina accepts and their marriage starts out troublesome and before they can life happily ever after they will face difficulties almost impossible to overcome.

Caitrina is bold, opinionated and haughty, but she’s also stubborn, proud and resilient. She grows up protected by a father and brothers who indulged her and spoiled her. She has never known real hardship and when her world does become a cruel and hard place, she learns quickly that life isn’t a bed of roses.

Jamie is possessive, commanding and intimidating. Beneath his commanding powerful and ruthless presence there’s a man who is lonesome and who can be tender and gentle. These are sides of himself he just doesn’t let people see easily.

The character development, in both Jamie and Caitrina is stunning and gave the book enough depth to make it more than an average Scottish historical romance. Even with the fast-paced historical plot it was a character-driven book, focusing on the development of the feelings and relationship between Jamie and Caitrina.

Against a background of Highland political turmoil and feuding clans, the battle of wills between Caitrina and Jamie was what gave this book its intensity. Gradually fight turns into passion and love but this doesn’t happen easily. There are trust issues, family issues and hard choices to be made. The choice between the love for each other and the loyalty and duty to their respective family members runs strongly throughout the second part of the book and made the book less light compared to the other books I’ve read by Monica McCarty.

Even though the characters, the historical details and facts, the love story and the plot all enthralled me here was a minor thing that bothered me a bit throughout the book. It had this somewhat modern feel to it, despite the historical details, Scottish vocabulary and a story fitting the time-period. It’s not something I can clearly explain but without the historical facts it could have been a story placed in a more modern time and this is not what I expect in a historical romance from Monica McCarty. I remember having a few moments where I thought: “Did they really do or say those things those days?” Of course there is always something called the author’s creative freedom and it’s still fiction but I don’t remember having this feeling in the other trilogy and I hope this feeling will be taken away with the next installment of the Campbell Trilogy.

That being said, overall it was another great book that I really enjoyed reading. The very first pages of this novel pulled me straight into a story that was rich in historical details, filled with highland politics, star-crossed lovers and lively characters. I went through a number of emotions, from endearment to anger to sorrow. At the base of the story is the vendetta (based on true historical facts) between the Campbells and the MacGregors. Monica McCarty did a great job in fusing historical facts and romantic fiction together in a compelling, ornate and wonderful tale of passion, action, duty, betrayal, loyalty and trust.

Quote:
The taste of him was like the darkest, richest wine, pouring into her soul until she was drunk with pleasure

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