Monday, April 29, 2019

4 Wine Glass #ARC #Review of Highland Crown by May McGoldrick

39863355Title: Highland Crown
Series: Royal Highlander #1
Author: May McGoldrick
Format: eBook/Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: April 30th 2019 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN: 1250314976
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Source: NetGalley
Reviewer: Crystal
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses

Inverness, 1820
Perched on the North Sea, this port town―by turns legendary and mythological―is a place where Highland rebels and English authorities clash in a mortal struggle for survival and dominance. Among the fray is a lovely young widow who possesses rare and special gifts.

WANTED: Isabella Drummond
A true beauty and trained physician, Isabella has inspired longing and mystery―and fury―in a great many men. Hunted by both the British government and Scottish rebels, she came to the Highlands in search of survival. But a dying ship’s captain will steer her fate into even stormier waters. . .and her heart into flames.

FOUND: Cinaed Mackintosh
Cast from his home as a child, Cinaed is a fierce soul whose allegiance is only to himself. . .until Isabella saved his life―and added more risk to her own. Now, the only way Cinaed can keep her safe to seek refuge at Dalmigavie Castle, the Mackintosh family seat. But when the scandalous truth of his past comes out, any chance of Cinaed having a bright future with Isabella is thrown into complete darkness. What will these two ill-fated lovers have to sacrifice to be together…for eternity?

Crystal's Thoughts:
Highland Crown, a tale wrought with danger and passion as two people find a cause worth fighting for, a love worth sacrificing for, in a land rife with unrest. Get swept away in 1820's Scotland...

Isabella Drummond is a woman living in a man's world. A woman physician is practically unheard of but thanks to her father and husband, she has been able to fulfill her dreams and practice alongside of them. Her world is quickly turned upside down though when a peaceful protest in Edinburgh turns deadly. Now widowed and on the run from the English military and Scottish rebels,  Isabella must put her trust in strangers if she and her young charges every hope to survive. When she comes across an injured seaman though, all caution is thrown to the wind and duty prevails. Nursing the injured sea captain back to health may bring more danger barreling down on her, but it also brings feelings she's never experienced until now. But is love worth the risk?
Cinaed Mackintosh has lived his life alone. With only his ship and crew, he's done what he feels is right for his country and men, but has never felt a part of it all. Until he meets Isabella Drummond on a deadly shoreline. Now the British military finally knows his face, Highland tempers are reaching a boiling point, and he's fighting not only for his life, but the life of the woman he loves and the country that he calls home. But Cinaed Mackintosh has more at stake then he realizes, and a past that he never imagined is quickly catching up to him. Can he prove to Isabella that the life they have only just begun to share is also worth fighting for? Or will his uncertain future send her running for good?

Highland Crown is a fascinating tale of history and romance, with equal amounts of fact and fiction woven throughout. I'm not sure that there is a historical romance reader out there who doesn't respect the strength and integrity of Scotland's ancient Highlanders. Or whose hearts don't break for the suffering and injustice that they suffered at the hands of England. And who don't fall a little bit in love with these courageous men and women. Authors May McGoldrick caption all of those feelings beautifully, weaving a captivating story that is rich and complex. With engaging characters, vivid world-building, pulse-pounding attraction, and explosive action.

Though the story started off slow for me, I quickly found myself intrigued by Isabella and her flight of survival. She's a strong heroine who was able to find her feet in the midst of peril, and as the story progressed I enjoyed watching her grow into the independent, self-assured women that wasn't afraid to fight for what she believed in. While her and Cinaed had an instant attraction, I felt that their relationship grew gradually despite the short time-line. It was well-fleshed out, and even with feigning a marriage for Isabella's protection, the author's took the time for the characters to get to know each other before declaring everlasting love. Cinaed is a delightful hero, the Son of Scotland, I can't wait to see how his story unfolds further in the next two books. I found it interesting that he was younger then Isabella, since that was uncommon for the time period. I thought that he brought some much needed light and laughter to Isabella's life, despite their dire circumstances. They were a well-matched couple that fought against all odds for their love, and I adored their story.

Bottom line is, Highland Crown is exactly the kind of historical romance that I love to read. I was easily immersed in the narrative, becoming lost in the wilds of the Highlands, and never wanting to leave. Though the ending was heart-warming, more questions arose, and I am delighted to learn that Isabella and Cinaed's story will continue with two more books in the series, that will also include Isabella's younger half-sister and step-daughter. If you enjoy being swept away into the intricacies of Scotland's past, I recommend that you pick up this book on it's release!

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