March 24, 2009
Ballantine Books, a division of Random House Publishing
Fiction; Historical Romance
Rating: 4 Cups
Duncan Campbell has lived with the taint of being a bastard all of his life. Even though his father has acknowledged him as his bastard son, it does not stop everyone else from berating him for his bad blood. While on an important mission in Scotland to meet with Grant, Duncan spies a woman who stands out not only by her beauty but by her actions as well.
While at a party, Jeannie Grant notices a woman being shunned due to a bad decision that caused the woman’s sister to be rejected by society. When she was a young girl, Jeannie’s mother ran off with an Englishman, so she knows all too well how a relative’s choice can affect a person’s life. After helping the woman the best she can, Jeannie is swept up in a passionate affair with Duncan, only to have controversy, betrayal, and a traitor tear them apart with lies and deceit.
Ten years have passed since Jeannie and Duncan saw each other. Being branded a traitor forced the handsome warrior to flee to Ireland for a crime he did not commit. Believing Jeannie, the woman he seduced and promised to marry had something to do with it, he is determined to get her to help clear his name. But Jeannie has trouble enough at home to deal with: her husband died, leaving her with a mother-in-law who feels she is incompetent, men think they can steal her cattle, and other Scotsmen figure they can kidnap her and make her their wife. As they have a battle of wills, trying to get their way, Duncan realizes that Jeannie is holding something back, something that will shock and devastate him, and his reaction may have deadly consequences.
Highland Scoundrel is an outstanding book that is part of a series; however, it can be read as a stand-alone and is about love everlasting and the trials that come with it. The only downfall for me is that the story was a little slow in starting, but once it began rolling, wow! The Scottish heritage and landscape are vivid in detail, leaving me with the feeling of actually traveling there. Both Jeannie and Duncan come off as two people who must grow up; their feelings ten years ago could not stand under the pressure of the decisions they have to make now, and even later on, Duncan has not come to realize that the decision Jeannie makes is intended to protect her family. You get to see the wonderful warrior, who looks like a man but still has a slower maturity level, grow in this novel of star-crossed lovers. Without doubt, Ms. McCarty has written a book that will leave you on the edge of your seat, and I was up until the early morning, not able to go to bed until that last page was finished.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More