Monday, August 4, 2014

#AudioBook Review: The Highlander by Terry Spear - 5 Wine Glasses

18686972Title: The Highlander 
Series: The Highlanders #5
Author: Terry Spear
Published: October 14th 2013 by Terry Spear
Narrated by: Rosalind Ashford
Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins 
Format: Unabridged
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle | Audible | B&N | ARe
Source: Author
Reviewer: Linda
Rating: 5/5

Anora, the shepherdess, finds a half-naked man in her bed, so what's a woman living alone in a cottage in the Lowlands of Scotland supposed to do? Prod him with her pitchfork to chase him off! Only the man is not just a traveller seeking her bed for a rest - but a wounded Highlander, who fights back, swinging his sword! 

Niall MacNeill is searching for a French woman of nobility to escort to his cousin's castle for safekeeping, when he and his friend, Gunnolf, are attacked by another Highland clan, seeking the same woman. The other Highlanders wish to sell her to the highest bidder - English or French - it does not matter. 

Niall takes refuge in a sheepherder's cottage to heal up from his wounds and discovers the shepherdess taking care of him may very well be the woman he seeks. He has no intention of doing anything but what his cousin requests of him - ensure her safety on their way to Craigly Castle - but when the lass so bravely wields her pitchfork at him, he is thinking of other, more interesting possibilities.

***This review is for the audible edition of The Highlander***
“Is tú mo ghrá, Anora,” Niall said, kissing her cheek. “You are my love.”

THE HIGHLANDER by Terry Spear is an awesome Scottish romance and another incredible read from Terry! She is one talented author competently writing multiple genres and I relish her tales!   THE HIGHLANDER is the fifth book in her Highlanders series, but it can be easily read as a standalone.  I will confess that I LOVE highlander romances.  I have wanted to read this book since I read the synopsis:  A shepherdess who finds a half-naked man in her bed and prods him with a pitchfork to chase him away?  Oh my!   I was NOT disappointed!  This book is everything I thought it would be and more!

This was the story of Anora, a shepherdess, and Niall MacNeill, a Scottish warrior.  Anora was a sweetheart.  She has lived by herself a good distance from civilization since her pseudo parents had passed away.  She had only Charlie, her faithful dog, and her sheep to keep her company.  She is an independent lass and quite resourceful.  Her uneventful daily routine hits a snag when she returns home one day to find a large man in her bed.  She knows how to wield a pitchfork and threatens him with it to chase him away.  Unfortunately, while her courage impressed him, her tactic didn't work.  

Niall was on a mission with his good friend, Gunnolf, to find a Frenchwoman of nobility in the Scotland lowlands as she was in danger.  Their laird had sent them on this mission of mercy.  However, Niall and Gunnolf were waylaid and left for dead by another clan who were searching for the same woman to sell her.  Niall was injured and Gunnolf was nowhere to be found.  Their horses were stolen.  Niall was able to make it to a cabin where he fell asleep until he was threatened with that durn pitchfork.  

OMG!  Niall is my new book boyfriend!  (With Gunnolf running a near second!)  Anora is a sweetheart.   I loved her stories.  They were each determined in their own way - Niall to find and rescue the lass and Anora to hold on to the only life she knew and to protect her dog and sheep.   Their attraction was instantaneous but neither acknowledged it at first.  Once their romance truly ignited, it was beyond sizzling.  (PG-13)

Secondary characters were good also from Gunnolf, a Viking (sigh... he was wonderful), Matthew, the butcher's son, the animals, to all the characters who were after Anora.  My favorite scene took place in a dark cave in a storm.  Ooh la la!  Following please find four of my favorite non-spoiler quotes illustrating the extraordinary dynamics of this novel:

“Once you leave here - tomorrow, early - you will forget all about the likes of me and my cooking."
"I willna forget you all that easily, lass, with the crystal blue eyes, and lips like that of the pink primrose that grows wild in the meadow.” 
“I wondered what it would be like to kiss the woman who poked me with a pitchfork earlier this day." He loosened her hair from the ribbon that barely confined it and gently pulled her closer. "You intrigue me more than any other woman I have ever known."

"Mayhap, then," Anora said, as she tried to wriggle free from him with a subdued air this time, unlike the energy she'd expended in the effort earlier in the day, "you will have to arm your ladies with pitchforks when you return to your castle."

"They would not know how to use them as well as you do, lass....” 
 “May I rest with you, lass?" 
"Are you feverish again?" She sat up at once as if she had neglected to ascertain his health first before she tried to rest.
"Nay, lass. I am well, but you appear to be shivering."
She glanced at Gunnolf, who quickly hid his grin and closed his eyes.
"Aye, you may," she said, and Niall tried not to show how eager he was to hold her close again.
Before she snuggled against his chest, she felt his forehead, just in case, and he took her hand and kissed it.
"No fever, aye?"
"You are fine, thank the Lord." And then she cuddled against his chest, and he believed, despite their circumstances, he had found a bit of heaven.” 

The narrator, Rosalind Ashford, was incredible.  I was so impressed with her performance that I looked up her resume and she's a New York-based, classically-trained British actress with a long and varied listing of stage, film, voiceover and radio experience.   Her accents in THE HIGHLANDER were awesome to listen to.  I especially loved hearing her execution of the Scottish burr.  I actually went back and listened to some of the characters' dialogue multiple times as I was so enamored of her enunciation of it.  She differentiated between the characters to where I could tell who was talking by her pronunciation.  I would definitely look for other books she has narrated in the future.

With non-stop action, thrilling suspense, danger, beautiful Scottish settings, animals that will steal your heart and well-drawn characters, this story will keep readers guessing right up to a very satisfying ending.  The romance is enchantingly sweet and passionate and their conversations often left me smiling, sighing, oohing and awing.  Terry's writing, as always, is first rate.  There's not a dull moment in this book and I looked forward to each opportunity I could finagle to listen to it.  I highly recommend THE HIGHLANDER to anyone who loves historical Scottish romances.  

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