From the blurb:
Betrayed by his brother and his childhood love, Brice Kinross needs a fresh start. So he welcomes the opportunity to leave Sweden for the Scottish Highlands to take over the family estate. But there’s trouble afoot at Rosyth in 1754 and Brice finds himself unwelcome. The estate’s in ruin and money is disappearing. He discovers an ally in Marsaili Buchanan, the beautiful redheaded housekeeper, but can he trust her?
Marsaili is determined to build a good life. She works hard at being a housekeeper and harder still at avoiding men who want to take advantage of her. But she’s irresistibly drawn to the new clan chief, even though he’s made it plain he doesn’t want to be shackled to anyone.
And the young laird has more than romance on his mind. His investigations are stirring up an enemy. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what he wants – including Marsaili – even if that means destroying Brice’s life forever …
What a treat this book was for a reader such as me who loves fiery, passionate, realistic historical fiction that gives a real sense of the era in which it is set.
The setting of the book is wonderful – I love Scotland: the landscapes, the people, the history, the culture, the accent. I really enjoyed the vivid descriptions, such as this one:
It was situated right next to the loch, dominating a peninsula that jutted out as if pointing towards a small island in the middle of the water. It was more like a keep of many towers than an ordinary manor house. Built of grey stone hewn from the surrounding hills, it looked forbidding, but Brice knew the interior was comfortable and welcoming… The loch’s surface was almost still today, reflecting the summer sky and the surrounding hills perfectly. Bruce felt an unexpected jolt of pride as he gazed down at his new domain – as far as the eye could see was Rosyth land and it belonged to him now.
I was fascinated to find out more about the historical period, and there is so much carefully researched context woven into the fast-moving, suspense-full plot. The characters are multifaceted and not without the ability to surprise, and the relationships are vivid and frequently touching. I love the strength of the characters – especially Marsaili (super name) who is a heroine with whom a twenty-first-century reader can empathise. I also enjoyed the romantic elements of the book, and I think the author shows great skill, maturity and thought in how she handles intimate moments: writing that makes you sigh dreamily rather than blush or cringe.
In all, I can see why this book won the 2012 Best Romantic Historical Novel of the year award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and I highly recommend it.
Highland Storms is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.