Author: Alyson McLayne
What I’m Talking About:
I enjoyed Highland Betrayal every bit as much as McLayne’s last book in the series, Highland Conquest. This is the third book of five in the Sons of Gregor MacLeod series following the five boys fostered by Gregor MacLeod and raised as brothers to be warriors and leaders.
Maggie MacDonnell is betrothed to Callum McLean, one of MacLeod’s foster sons. She genuinely wants to marry him and Callum wants to marry Maggie—so what’s the problem? The problem is that Callum’s father may or may not have committed suicide, but Callum doesn’t believe he did. He believes it was foul play. Instead of going to claim Maggie as his bride, he takes over as Laird to manage the chaos left in his father‘s abrupt absence and try to ferret out the killer—ostensibly to make it safe for her. Um, what about all the clan people who already live there? It wasn’t unusual for long gaps of time to happen between communications or travel back then, but Callum doesn’t just drop the ball. He drops it, smashes it flat and lets it get run over by a fully loaded wagon before it slides into the storm ditch never to be seen again. Callum doesn’t resurface in Maggie’s life for THREE YEARS!
During those three years all hell breaks loose for Maggie and she is betrayed not only by Callum’s absence, but she loses the protection of both her brothers. Maggie who was a bit of a Tomboy growing up, goes full feminist, determined to protect herself, get away from her cousin who is hell-bent on marrying her so he can take over the clan, and make a new life for herself that does not include Callum. Her feistiness comes through when she remarks, “I canna believe your prejudice,” Maggie said, shaking her finger at him. “Haven’t I proved to you yet that women are no different than men? They can be murderers if they so choose!” Her comment is met with the sarcasm it deserves, but she makes her point. Through hard work and practice, Maggie turns herself into a marksman with both an arrow and throwing daggers. When it comes to solving the mystery of Callum’s father’s death, Maggie pulls her weight and Callum discovers a new and necessary respect for his bride-to-be. Only then can Maggie begin to forgive his betrayal.
The banter is smart and even amusing. McLayne uses a shared journey this time to build intimacy between her characters. Even though they were previously betrothed, they need this to come to terms where they are now, three years later.
Over the entire arc of the story, we learn of a larger plot that has not yet revealed itself in the series. Because of this we have some loose ends left dangling and character appearances that are under-developed. Since this is book three of five, we can assume these will be resolved in the next two books. My only real criticism is that there a smidge of formula revealing itself in this series, but I can’t truly fault McLayne for it as it’s one that works in this genre. She’s very good at creating strong female characters who don’t want to get married or be dependent upon a man until…the right one comes along, not to sweep her off her feet, but to convince her that marrying him is what she really wants to do. In a welcome twist, none of her couples are fully intimate until they married which is at least historically appropriate.
The cover art for this series, while typical with men in kilts—is some very fine men in kilts that are not overly stylized. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during that photo shoot… Grab this one up as soon as it’s released.
My Rating: A- Enjoyed A Lot
About the Book:
A betrothal. A betrayal. A love threatened by treachery.
Laird Callum MacLean vowed to marry Maggie MacDonnell. But when his father’s apparent suicide makes him Laird of his clan, Callum must unmask his father’s killer before bringing Maggie into his dangerous new home.
Maggie’s home isn’t any safer. When Callum fails to return, Maggie does what any resourceful Highland lass would do. She escapes―and finds herself toe-to-toe with Callum, who’s determined to fulfill his promise. Maggie can’t bring herself to trust him with her heart again. But with a traitor still at large, they must rely on each other in every way, or their clans―and their love―will be destroyed.
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Series: Sons of Gregor MacLeod Series #3
Genre: Historic Romance
Format(s): paperback (384 pages), e-book
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Reviews in the Series:
Highland Conquest by Alyson McLayne (Sons of Gregor MacLeod #2)