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.
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|
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.