Review: Highland Jewel by May McGoldrick

Posted October 4, 2019 by Ang in Historical Romance, Rating C, Reviews Tags: , , ,

Highland Jewel
May McGoldrick
Rating: C

What I’m Talking About:

Highland Jewel is the second novel in the Royal Highlander series and revolves around Maise Murray and Niall Campbell during a time of great unrest and reform in the Scottish HIghlands. Maise is an actively working for change with Fiona, Niall’s older sister, and it is this connection that throws Maise into Niall’s world and turns both of their lives upside down.

Highland Jewel is a fast-paced, history-filled novel with solid characters and a variety of storylines to keep the novel progressing at a fairly fast pace. The authors give a through overview of what exactly is taking place historically, almost too much so, which does slow the novel down in places, especially at the beginning. Although given that the first few chapters paint a background picture that is vital to the rest of the novel, I was willing to overlook the slow start. Yet, some of my biggest struggles with Highland Jewel was how much history was given and how much of that history was repeated throughout the novel. I felt like the authors weren’t certain their readers would understand the significance of certain issues or that they wouldn’t understand where those issues were leading the British Isles, so their solution was to beat the readers over the head with the information. For example, they took it to the point of ruining what was a lovely moment between a mother and her son by tainting it with an unnecessary letter from what I feel is an irrelevant or at least very minor character. This approach disappointed me so much that I dropped my grade an entire grade level.

I wanted to enjoy the mystery, romance, and strength of family that the novel explores, and instead I kept reading letters from a character I already knew was nasty and controlling. His voice tainted everything from the overlying story of Maise and Niall and the secondary story of Queen Anne and her son. I lost the hope and joy in certain parts because as soon as it was introduced a letter from his would be dropped in. The first couple letters made sense as a followup to his presence early in the novel, but I did not feel he needed to continue to take over the story. If his voice is so important, the authors should give him his own novel rather than have him take over other peoples.

Overall Highland Jewel is a strong novel about love, strength, and family and I love that about it. I love the relationship that evolves between Masie and Niall. I love learning about the history through the eyes of those fighting for change and I enjoyed watching all the characters grow and change. The premise of the book is great, I just feel the execution fell a bit flat. I hoping that doesn’t happen again in the next novel.

My Rating:  C, Finished It – Liked some, didn’t like some

About the Book:


Maisie Murray’s sweet, docile exterior masks the courageous spirit of a firebrand determined to champion women’s suffrage with like-minded friends. But fighting for her principles has swept her directly into harm’s way―and into the arms of a man she cannot resist.


A trained officer with the Royal Highland Regiment, Niall Campbell has spent his life serving the Crown. Battle-weary and searching for peace, he nothing to do with trouble―until he meets Maisie. But unless Niall and Maisie can find a way to stand up to the destructive forces that threaten to divide them, long-buried secrets and political schemes are destined to stand in the way of the glorious love they’ve found…

Release Date: September 24, 2019
St. Martin’s Press
Royal Highlander #2
Historical Romance
paperback (336 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher

Purchase Info:

Reviews in the Series:
Highland Crown by May McGoldrick (Royal Highlander #1)