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Review: Lord of the Black Isle by Elaine Coffman

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Lord of the Black Isle
Author: Elaine Coffman 
Release Date: June 1, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Mackinnon- Douglass series #3
ISBN: 978-1402259494
Genre: Historical, Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley
About the book:
A Warriors Life…
Laird David Murray would give his life to pull his clan through this time of strife and conflict. With enemies both inside and outside his keep, he has never felt so alone and desperate. Until he meets a beautiful healer with uncanny knowledge from another time…
Meets a Healer’s Art…
Elisabeth Douglas was a doctor in her own time. Now she’s the only one with the knowledge and skill to help Laird David save the lives of his family…
What VampBards talking about:
Lord of the Black Isle was truly a delightful read!  I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Coffman’s use of several pieces of classic literature that I consider my favorites.  These excerpts were poignant, foreshadowing, and basically excellent pieces of literature.  I’d also like to point out that Ms. Coffman’s use of consonance in the descriptive portions of her writing were highly effective, and created much interest for the reader, driving the description.  Ms. Coffman’s grasp of the historical aspect of the novel was phenomenal.  She gave accurate (to the best of my understanding of Scottish history) depictions of life at that time, as well as the practice of medicine.  She blended the present concepts to those of the past seamlessly, endearing our heroine, Elisabeth, to the reader.  
Elisabeth was, by far, one of best written heroines I’ve read to date, this year.  Transported back in time six centuries, along with her twin sister, Isobella, Elisabeth comes from the Douglas lineage, and has a mentor in the ghostly Black Douglas.  Initially, she finds the apparition’s appearances annoying, but grows to value his input and perseverance toward her ultimate happiness.  As the story progresses, Elisabeth is kidnapped twice by a rival clan to the one her sister married.  She is ‘rescued’ by an earl, and taken to a monastery to learn the arts of healing for that time period.  An astute student, Elisabeth moves on to an abbey/hospital and is extremely successful as a doctor in that time.  Her services are required at the home of David Murray, leader of the clan Murray, and she is whisked away, never to return.  Imagine her surprise when she meets the earl and he is the same warrior that rescued her, delivering her to the monastery!  Elisabeth’s desire for David is clearly understated until about half-way through the novel.  At that point, flames erupt from the page.  As Elisabeth establishes a hospital in an abandoned abbey, with the assistance of David’s only remaining sister, she is seen as an independent woman, with her reality clearly under control.  If only she could figure out where David stood in the grand scheme of things!  
Enter:  the Black Douglas.  While his visits to Elisabeth appear to be random, I feel he chooses to visit when Elisabeth is at a crossroads, or to prepare her for difficult situations on the horizon.  While at first, the Black Douglas was a bit sarcastic and annoying, he endeared himself to the reader by carefully and tenderly delivering his messages to Elisabeth throughout the novel.  
David Murray, or illustrious earl, bears the title due to his father’s untimely death.  Bearing the burden of his siblings’ death, David is quite the sombre character for the first half of the book.  Elisabeth, however, brings him out of his melancholy, and gets him in touch with his feelings.  Unpredictable at first, David grew exponentially as a character and felt well-rounded to the reader by the time the title wrapped up the plot.  
There were several quotes that I felt were beautifully written in the middle portion of Lord of the Black Isle.  To illustrate how very powerful Ms. Coffman’s writing is, here’s a sampling with some thoughts:

“They could never be friends, for his feelings for her were deep and far beyond that now.  Yet, he did not want to risk his heart or reveal the tender shoots of his passion that lay coiled like a serpent in his chest, a master mission that devoured all others.”  

I truly loved David’s description of his feelings for Elisabeth here.  As we’d not seen much on the development of their relationship, knowing where David stood helped drive the plot.

“I want to feel you lying beside me with nothing on.  I want to feel the satin of yer skin and to hear the way ye gasp when I come into ye.  I have though of naught since I first saw ye that day near the burn.  I felt possessed by ye, by yer spirit and the woman ye are.  Ye bind me and I am helpless to put ye from me.”  

The honesty conveyed by David in this moment of passion between him and Elisabeth is perfect for his character.  It’s not flowery, but blessedly honest and truthful.  I felt that Elisabeth was in the perfect place, mentally, to hear this information – and respond accordingly.  
I absolutely suggest any reader into Scottish history, especially stories that are historical in nature with a hint of the paranormal pick up Ms. Coffman’s Black Douglas titles.  The advanced reader’s copy that I read, via the publisher and NetGalley, had one error of fact that was probably caught prior to publishing.  That, coupled with the desire to see more of the ghostly Black Douglass, are the only points keeping me from giving this title a five-star rating.  
VampBards Rating:
Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)






Purchase Info:
Lord of the Black Isle

  • I’m not the best when it comes to reading historical fiction. However, I’m giving Grave Mercy a try right now. Perhaps after all the French drama, a little Scottish historical romance should be next 🙂

  • B.

    I generally shy away from the historicals, too, but your review makes me think I’d really like this one! I’ll have to give it a shot. Thanks for the great review!

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