Published by Loveswept on January 19th 2016
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
If you love Maya Banks and Monica McCarty, don’t miss Sharon Cullen’s captivating Highland Pride novels! Sutherland’s Secret kicks off a series that’s overflowing with mouthwatering Scottish warriors, captivating history, and forbidden desire.
Terror reigns in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden. As British troops obliterate the last traces of the Jacobite cause, Brice Sutherland, the Earl of Dornach, risks everything to arrange a covert escape route to Canada for his fellow Scots. But when he encounters a dying Englishwoman, hauntingly beautiful though scarred by manacles and unable to speak, Brice’s true courage is put to the test. Nothing but ruin could result from helping her, or worse: falling in love.
The pampered daughter of a marquess, Eleanor Hirst was the talk of the London season when she wed the Earl of Glendale. Little did she know that his posting as an officer in Scotland would be their undoing. Now her husband is dead and Eleanor is a fugitive in a hostile country. Desperate for help, she throws herself on the mercy of Brice Sutherland, a handsome Scottish warrior who should be her enemy. Instead, he cares for her tenderly, reviving her shattered spirit—and awakening urges unlike any she’s ever known.
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Brice Sutherland is a clan chief and the Earl of Dornach, he attended a secret meeting with leaders of both English sympathisers and Jacobites; Brice and his clan help Jacobites flee Scotland to safety in Canada. Brice is on his way back home when he sees a woman lying on the road; the British are coming, and Brice makes a decision he hopes he will not regret: he carries the woman to safety in the forest until the enemy leaves, and then he takes her to his castle. The woman is but skin and bones, filthy, covered with bruises; he fears she might be at death’s door. Brice deems the woman to be English and of noble birth, and she is: Eleanor Hirst is the daughter of a marquess. To everyone’s astonishment, Eleanor survives, but she is traumatised and unable to speak. Brice cannot bear to send her away, but letting her stay endangers the lives of everyone in his clan.
SUTHERLAND’S SECRET is positively riveting! Beautifully detailed, extremely well researched, it is very enlightening with its background of political intrigue, intrinsic to the story line, as well as a touching romance. Ms. Cullen did a masterful job at transmitting Eleanor’s ordeal and frame of mind; I could clearly sense her terror and the reasons behind it. Brice is a splendid hero: fierce yet caring, loyal and brave, he oozes charisma, and it is understandable why Eleanor falls for him. I often feel Highlanders are portrayed somewhat identically in every Scottish-themed historical romance, but Brice is different; he felt absolutely real. I really cared what happened to those characters, I needed to know everything about Eleanor and why she had ended up in such a sorry state. I liked that everything was well balanced, not too heavy on the political side, and the romance blended right in.
There are several important secondary characters, they are all well fleshed out, and none felt like broad caricatures, which often happens, in my opinion. The writing is seamless, the pace is even, the dialogues are just right, with just enough local colour to give a distinct Scottish flavour without being too heavy-handed, and the romance is divine. SUTHERLAND’S SECRET is the first book in the Highland Pride series, which looks very promising.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book.