Title: THE GIFT: A HIGHLAND NOVELLA
Series: Return of the Highlanders
Author: Margaret Mallory
Narrator: Derek Perkins
Format: Unabridged Audible, 3 hours and 18 minutes
Published : Margaret Mallory Author (9/28/2015)
ISBN : ASIN: B015OT1AW8
Links: Amazon | Goodreads| B&N | Audible
Source: Gifted by Author
Rating: 5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Lily’s well-honed sense for trouble tells her no healer is safe in London while gangs roam the city looking for witches to burn. In the dead of night, she escapes on a northbound ship, intending to return after Christmas celebrations calm the city’s witch fever. But when Lily lands in the wilds of Scotland, her skills for surviving in the city can’t save her.
Roderick MacDonald is on a secret mission for his chieftain when he finds a lass near death on a barren hillside and is forced to take her with him. Though this mysterious Sassenach may have The Gift his clan needs—and he burns with passion for her—he’s determined to resist the enchantment she weaves on his scarred heart.
When love blooms amidst the harsh winter beauty of the Highlands, will these two obstinate souls from different worlds accept the Yuletide gift?
“I may not survive," Roderick said, resting his hand on the small of her back, "if I wait any longer to kiss you.”
THE GIFT: A HIGHLAND NOVELLA was an fun and enchanting Scottish Christmastide romance. Even though it's short in length, it was not rushed in the least and felt like a full story. I was mesmerized from the start and the narrator's performance was nothing short of swoon-worthy. I can attest that the book works very well as a standalone.
This tale precedes The Return of the Highlander series by seventy two years and introduces the parents of famous seer Teàrlag, a key character in the author's Return of the Highlanders' series. This was the story of Highlander Roderick MacDonald and English witch Lily.
Both primary characters were wonderful. Their dialogue was sweet, stormy and often humorous. There was a conflict and an intriguing magical element to the tale which held my attention through-out. As the story opens, witches are in danger in England and Lily, a strong and independent woman, is in the process of bravely leaving the only home she has known for the wilds of Scotland. However, when she arrives there, dressed as a lad, she's woefully unprepared for what faces her.
Roderick is on his way home after successfully completing a mission that his chieftain had assigned to him, when he comes upon a lad obviously near frozen to death in the snow. He rescues the lad, but quickly discovers that the lad is not as he seems.
“Good God, the lad is a lass!”
His grandmother had told him to keep his eyes out for a lass with "the gift." Could this be the lass his clan needs?
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from this audio treasure:
“Had her ordeal addled her mind? She was on a horse with a wild Highlander going God knew where with men even he did not trust and yet she found it thrilling!”
“No one lacked imagination like the English. Yet he could not dismiss the notion that this lass dressed in breeches could be the seer his grandmother foretold. Finding an English lass lying on a Scottish hillside so many miles from the border was strange enough to have a touch of magic about it.”
“I see this is not the first time you've gotten yourself injured," she said, sounding irritated. "I suppose battle scars are a badge of honor for you Highlanders."
He shrugged. "Every scar provides a tale to share around the hearth."
"You should be more careful," she scolded.
"I am careful," he said with a laugh. "That's why I live to tell the tales.”
“She told me that love has a magic all its own.”
This was the first time I've listened to Derek Perkins. Oh my! He delivered a well-paced, professional performance enunciating a wonderful Scottish brogue. He was superb! I could listen to him all day and remain infatuated. He seemingly effortlessly differentiated between the characters, so I always knew who was speaking. I would not hesitate to pick up another book that he has narrated. Indeed, I plan to seek other books he's voiced. This rendering had me adding additional workouts so I could hear more. As I neared the end, I noticed that I had thirty minutes left and I just couldn't leave it. I sat in my garage, closed my eyes and just listened. His performance was perfection as I hung on each word.
This is the first book I've ever read by Margaret Mallory, but it will not be the last as I plan to pick up the rest of the series soon. You should know that this novella includes a wondrous epilogue that provides a truly perfect ending. It certainly left me with a huge smile. I know this fantastic prequel has certainly whetted my appetite to listen to more of this series and certainly more by this narrator. I highly recommend THE GIFT: A HIGHLAND NOVELLA to anyone who enjoys historical Scottish romances with an entrancing fantasy element.
Suggested Reading Order:
THE GIFT: A HIGHLAND NOVELLA
THE GUARDIAN (Book #1)
THE SINNER (Book #2)
THE WARRIOR (Book #3)
THE CHIEFTAIN (Book #4)