Monday, December 19, 2016

Review: Jan Cox Speas’ BRIDE OF THE MACHUGH – A Highland Classic and an Absorbing Love Story from 17th Century Scotland! A Keeper!

A bestseller when it was first published in 1954, it has been available only used in paperback (or online as a download) for some time. The edition I read was published in 1978, available used. It’s worth obtaining a copy, trust me. If I could give this novel more than 5 stars, I would. It’s a keeper and so well written it would be a good model for authors today. Even though there are no love scenes per se, the sexual tension is there and much romance to satisfy the historical romance lover. The writing is simply beautiful.

Set in the Scottish Highlands in 1614, this is the story of Elspeth Lamond, a beautiful young woman, the product of a handfast twenty years earlier between her Campbell mother and Lamond father, both Scots. Raised in England, she is also a favorite at Queen Anne’s court. Her uncle, the powerful Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll, has plans to marry her off to a rich, titled man. But to fulfill a promise to her dying mother, Elspeth leaves London for the western coast of Scotland to Inverary, the home of the Campbells, her mother’s clan. On the way, she is abducted by the MacHughs and held at Rathmor castle where she was born, the lair of her father, Robert Lamond, and his ally, Sir Alexander MacHugh, Chief of Clan MacHugh—the feared “Black MacHugh.”

From the very beginning, Alex is attracted to the strong willed Elspeth—a perfect match for him. He wants her as “his lass,” but does not speak of his love nor offer her marriage. Elspeth is exasperated by the arrogant Scottish chieftain who kisses her whenever he likes. But along the way, she discovers she likes the Scots and the wilds of the Highlands—and she likes the MacHugh.

As her father tells her of the qualities than make Alex stand out as a leader, respected by all, he says, “…Scotland is a quarrelsome place at times, my dear Elspeth, and a man must look sharp to keep his head intact upon his shoulders.”

Schemes and treacheries abound in this well told tale, not only from Elspeth’s uncle, but from Alex’s mistress, the beautiful Kate who would force him to wed her by any means.

Alex takes a stand with the MacDonalds in their battle for independence in the Isles against the Campbells, fighting as King James’s cats paw. The characters are compelling, the action suspenseful and the anxiety as to whether Elspeth will end up with the MacHugh will have you turning pages late into the night.

I liked Alex and Elspeth so much they are ensconced on my Favorite Heroes & Heroines list.

On Amazon and Open Library

No comments:

Post a Comment