Title: Highland Treasures, Book 1: A Highland Pearl
Author: Brenda B. Taylor
Publisher: Bethabara Press
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Genre: Historical, Romance
ARC Received From: Pump Up Your Book
A sweet romance blossoms amidst feuding and war. With her reputation at stake after being accused of practicing witchcraft and hated as a member of a rival clan, Maidie considers leaving Clan Munro and returning to the home of her birth in Clan Cameron. Fierce battles, a tragic encounter, and a handsome clan chief compel her to make crucial decisions in this haunting romance set in the16th century Highlands of Scotland.
Maidie is summoned to Fàrdach Castle of Easter Ross-shire to assist in caring for the wounded of Clan Munro after a battle with Clans MacKenzie and Cameron. She dreads the task since her husband, Kenneth Munro, was killed in an earlier battle. Maidie is a healer, taught by her mother, with the skills and knowledge needed to tend the wounds of Chief Andrew Dubh Munro who is seriously wounded.
People in the castle and those in the village of Drumainn turn against Maidie. Angus, the castle physician, resents her for taking his job in caring for the chief. She is hated by some, because she is a member of the enemy Clan Cameron and came to live in Ferindonald, the Munro lands, with her husband.
Maidie considers returning to the land of her birth in Clan Cameron with her young son, Sven, but falls in love with Andrew while caring for his wounds. Although her neighbors now call her a witch, she wishes to stay in Drumainn because of her love for the chief.
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This was probably the gentlest love story I've read in a while. Attraction might have been almost instant between Andrew and Maidie, but it took to grow.
Andrew is Clan Munro's Chief. He's a skilled leader, fair and just. He's also a fierce warrior who protects his clan at all costs. An enemy's battleax felled him in war, and the healer who tended him came at his request. She is Maidie, a young widow with a son. The art of healing with plants was passed to her by her mother, and she is good at what she does. She does her best to heal Andrew; her skills with herbs, teas, and salves is unrivaled in the clan. It doesn't take long for her to come to care for Andrew as more than her Chief, but as a man as well.
Maidie's spirit was...hardy. I'm not sure if that's the correct word to describe her. She was strong in the face of rumors and opposition. She helped even when others deemed her a witch and swore she used black magic to heal. She willingly gave herself up so Andrew could come home. If that's not a hardy woman, I'm not sure what is. Through everything she faced, she never complained as her goal was never for herself but for the safety and health of others.
Andrew is chief, could probably have any woman he wants, but his heart and his dreams always seem to lead him back to Maidie. Her soft touch when she took care of him and her beauty were lures he couldn't resist. She was, ultimately, his undoing but not in the way it sounds. He wasn't injured in battle because of her, neither was his capture her fault. But she wound her way into his life and shattered his resistance to women that was born from his first wife's betrayal. She made him care, showed him that love done right can be wonderful in the end.
Their love story isn't fast paced or adventure filled. A lot of this story is spent in narrative or internal dialogues from Andrew and Maidie. I've read this story twice before writing this review, and I can honestly say I enjoyed the way Ms. Taylor wrote it. The narratives and internal dialogues are insightful into the hearts and minds of the main characters, which, for me, made their conversations and emotions more meaningful. There was weight behind the words they spoke and sound reasoning for what they felt. It's what made this sweet, gentle love story a great read for me.
If you've got time and want a book to get lost in, if you're looking for something a little slower and sweeter than your usual fare, I hope you give this book a try. I know sweet and slow aren't for everyone. I wasn't sure it was for me until I realized I was halfway through my first time reading it and anxious to find out what would happen next.
The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.
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