Published by Entangled Publishing on May 15th 2017
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Cullen Duffie, a Highland warrior and charming rogue, is the new chief of Clan MacDonald. Determined to prove he’s not his father, Cullen works to secure his clan against the English. When a woman washes onto Islay’s shores, Cullen protects her from his uncles’ schemes.
Waking up not knowing who she is or where she comes from, Madeleine is at the mercy of the man who found her. Unable to speak from the swelling around her throat from a rope tether, she learns as much as she can about the new world around her and the powerful, sword-wielding Highlander who has sworn to protect her.
Through dreams and flashes of her past, Madeleine begins to rebuild her memories. But the more she recalls about the horror she escaped, the more she realizes the jeopardy she is bringing to Islay, Clan MacDonald and the Highlander who has captured her heart.
The Rogue of Islay Isle by Heather McCollum
I See Fire – Ed Sheeran
The Riders of Rohan – Howard Shore
A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
How to Save a Life – The Fray
Nightingale – Demi Lovato
Carol of the Bells (Instrumental) – Christmas Collection
Carol of the Bells – BarloweGirl
Christmas/Sarajevo (Instrumental) – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Warrior – Demi Lovato
Damaged – Fiction Family
Bring Me to Life – Evanescence
Everything Has Changed – Ed Sheeran
Medieval Dances – Musica Antiqua
Fight Song – Rachel Platten
Taylor held out his hand to Rose, and she touched her fingertips to his palm. “Have we met, Mistress Maclean? Perhaps on Mull?”
Rose shook her head.
“Speak up now,” Captain Thompson said next to Taylor.
“She cannot speak,” Cullen answered for her. “And no, she is visiting from a northern branch of the Maclean clan.”
“Cannot speak?” Captain Thompson said. “How so?”
“An injury,” Cullen said and felt very much like he was digging a bigger hole with each utterance. But there was no going back. He only hoped his explanations came across as genuine.
Captain Thompson stepped closer, his gaze narrowing in on Rose’s neck where the shawl slipped to reveal the scabs. “God’s teeth, Duffie, what have you done to the girl?”
Rose’s hand went immediately to the shawl, tucking it higher around her throat. Beatrice stood completely still beside Errol. He and Broc both wore frowns and rested their hands on the hilts of their swords.
“Mistress?” Captain Taylor said, his hand tugging on her shawl until it slipped away, showing the dark ring around her neck. “You were being hung?”
Broc made a noise through his teeth. “Of course not. We don’t hang Scots visitors.” He left the rest of the boast, about hanging English visitors, unsaid.
“An accident,” Errol said.
During the exchange Rose kept a calm expression, her head held high, as she rearranged the shawl around her abused neck. Was she really as brave as she looked or could he add actor to his uncles’ lists of Rose’s possible sins?
Captain Thompson looked between Errol and Rose. “What type of accident leaves that sort of mark about a woman’s neck?”
The whole exchange was twisting out of control. He needed to cut the conversation and guide the captains out of the garden. “’Tis of a personal nature,” Cullen said. “Now, if you would like that tour, we can start in the kitchens.” He held out his arm to indicate the pathway.
Captain Taylor refused to take his scrutiny from Rose. Even though she cast her eyes to the bricks, she stood firm, transforming to stone like a maiden in Medusa’s garden. “I am not leaving this spot until you or Mistress Maclean tells me how she came by the rope burn around her neck,” Captain Taylor said.
“Aye, what is this personal injury?” Captain Thompson asked, thick lips jutted out.
Cullen exhaled and glanced at Rose. “Forgive me.” She did not move. Did she think he’d give her away, throw her to the English captains? The thought made his fists clench. He looked to Captain Taylor, who’d finally pulled his gaze from her to Cullen, demanding the truth with his stare. “The rope burn was obtained in my bedchamber,” Cullen said.
Broc choked and began to cough into his fist. Beatrice held her fingers pressed to her lips while Errol’s eyes went wide.
“Aye. We were but playing, and the rope caught around her neck,” Cullen finished.
“Playing?” Captain Thompson said, the idiot not catching on. Did he require a sketch drawn?
“In a carnal fashion,” Cullen explained for his benefit.
“He likes to tie the lasses up,” Broc added. “It’s something we don’t tell his mother.”
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~~Reviewed by Monique~~
It was a dark and stormy night when Cullen Duffie noticed a ship off the coast of Islay Isle. Cullen has just been named clan chief, The MacDonald, he doesn’t even know himself if he’s up for the job. Fate decided to further complicate his plans when Cullen happens upon a beautiful young woman stranded on the shore. The woman is unable to speak, due to nasty injuries to her neck; was she destined to hang? Unfortunately, the woman has lost her memory, and she doesn’t even know her own name. Cullen settles for the name of Rose, as the flower was all over her sumptuous gown. But what if Rose is English? Will King Henry be grateful and reward the MacDonald clan, or will it mean problems? Rose starts to remember bits and pieces from her past, what seem like insignificant things, except that she must be wary of men, and that she had been a prisoner, but of whom? Why? Where? When eventually her throat is better, everybody finds out at once that Rose is not English!
Heather McCollum’s obviously thorough research really paid off, because the author made me feel I was experiencing Scotland in the year 1522; her descriptions are crisp and vivid, without being intrusive. Until the fracas at the end, the pace is rather leisurely, which is perfect for the tone of the story. While Cullen and the woman – whom I will refer to as Rose, although it is not her name; you will understand what I mean when you read the book – so although there is an attraction between Rose and Cullen almost from the onset, I appreciated immensely that there was no instalust nor instalove at play: Rose distrusts men, she doesn’t know who she is, and Cullen has to be careful for many reasons. He was once a rogue, he has changed his ways since becoming clan chief, and he is bound to protect his clan; Rose could be a spy.
Ms. McCollum concocted very ingenious ways to explain various events, such as Rose’s injuries – which made me laugh, as well as fear for what I might expect later on, which thankfully was unwarranted. There is the unforgettable moment when Rose remembers her real name; I get goose bumps even while writing this review. I also loved how Rose recovered her memory, which happened naturally and was not provoked by a fantastical event, and I must say that this raised my rating for the book, as her circumstances were something I believed I had never read in a historical romance before, and which I applaud as being realistic. I did not quite like Rose at the beginning, as she seemed rather haughty, distant, and her jealous reactions were not very pleasant, however this changed and made sense as the story unfolded; s had gone through quite an ordeal! Cullen is a perfectly wonderful hero: stalwart, honourable to the very end; gallant and mindful of everyone’s welfare, without being a wimp.
THE ROGUE OF ISLAY ISLE is very romantic while being a somewhat serious book, all this beautifully told by Ms. McCollum, whose prose is both elegant and economical; the sex scenes are a perfect example: they are subdued while still very sensual. There is a quiet sophistication that permeates every sentence, while the dialogues feel like everyday conversations, and I loved the exchanges between Cullen’s cousins, which were quite funny at times. I enjoyed the fact that I never quite knew what to expect, as some characters were very complex and oscillated between good and bad, which led to a tumultuous and action-packed ending. THE ROGUE OF ISLAY ISLE is a historical romance which at times almost feels like historical fiction as the setting is crucial for everything that happens; the historical theme is not incidental to the story. THE ROGUE OF ISLAY ISLE is an excellent read with believable characters, a solid story, plausible and unusual plot twists. Ms. McCollum is a new author to me, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of this book.