Sunday, December 7, 2014

New Review: Jennifer Roberson’s LADY OF THE GLEN – Superb Storytelling and a Keeper—a Highland Love that endures the Massacre of Glencoe!

I absolutely loved this story—a keeper, now ensconced on my “to read again” shelf. It has everything I love in a Scottish historical romance: an epic love story, a noble hero, a strong heroine, real history, attention to detail and enough suspense and drama to draw me in. Even the music of the Highlands is included. I could hear the pipes and their mournful sound as Roberson described them.

The story begins in 1682 when Catriona (“Cat”) Campbell first encounters Alasdair (“Dair”) Og MacDonald. She is an awkward, uncomely girl raised like one of her brothers by her druken father, but Dair pays her a compliment when no one else does, telling her that she has “bonnie eyes…all bluey-green and bright. The sort of eyes a Highlander likes to come home to.” How could Cat ever forget him after that? Not even though he is one of the dreaded MacDonalds, the enemies of clan Campbell, could she fail to harbor a tenderness for him.

Much happens in this intricately woven tale that spans a decade. It’s the time when King James was exiled to France and William and Mary ruled England. Some of the characters were real, historic figures. The Scots battle each other as much as the English. Grey John Campbell, Earl of Breadalbane seeks to be the power behind the throne and he thinks it is William who will sit in that throne. He exerts his influence to unite the clans, pretending to support King Jamie, while planning on serving the Highland clans up on a silver platter to William. The clans don’t trust him but the lairds have little choice, seeing the English Ft. William erected as a symbol of their dominance.

Famous battles like Killiecrankie are vividly described as Dair fights with the MacDonalds of Glencoe and the Stewarts of Appin. Both the MacDonalds and the Campbell’s kill each other’s young men caught reeving cattle, and Dair saves Cat from harm, and she saves his life. All this while another woman shares Dair’s bed. Then Cat’s father agrees to wed her to the Earl of Breadalbane’s son, Duncan Campbell in exchange for money to pay his many debts.

Battle of Killiecrankie

Perhaps the most intense moment is the Massacre of Glencoe when the Campbells, joined with the treachery of the English, including the king, murder nearly the entire clan of MacDonalds without provocation. The massacre of Glencoe is still remembered to this day it was such great perfidy on the part of the Campbells and England. A very sad chapter in Scotland’s history. As Roberson says of Glencoe, “’Tis a glen of sorrows, an empty place of blood and broken stone, of charred timber and burial cairns.”

Glencoe, glen of beauty, glen of sorrows
I did not want to put this one down. The author truly captured the heart of the Highlands and the characters she vividly portrayed brought to life one of the most incredible periods of Scotland’s history.

If you love Scotland and real Highlander romance—the deep ones, the keepers—you will love this book! Highly recommended. It’s going on my Top 20 list.

3 comments:

  1. I LOVE The Lady of the Glen cover!

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    1. I should say the cover up on top, although both are so nice.

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    2. Me, too, Amanda. I love the cover, love the story...I just love it. I'm so sad she is no longer writing historical romance. Few do is better or as well.

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