on June 1, 2019
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The key to his past...lies with the enemy sharing his bed!
Rory Lochmore had expected to wage battle, to claim land and finally secure his standing within his clan. Instead he won a wife. A McCrieff wife. Their convenient marriage could unite the two long-feuding clans forever. But can a political alliance give way to a passion strong enough to stand the secrets of the past?
This is book four of a quartet of stories written by Nicole Locke and fellow Harlequin authors, Lara Temple, Janice Preston and Elisabeth Hobbes. The stories are based around Lochmore Castle, perched high on a rocky promontory on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands, and two feuding clans – the Lochmores and the McCrieffs.
~~Review by Monique~~
A few months before, Edward, the English King, had given some of the McCrieffs’ land to the Lochmores, precious land bordering the stream. And on a spring day of 1293, the two clans were to settle their differences. Rory Lochmore, acting on behalf of his father the clan chief, is ready for battle. Instead, he is met by Frederick McCrieff, the Tanist and heir apparent, and invited to partake in a meal. The clan Chief, Hamish, is gravely ill and tended to by Frederick’s daughter Ailsa, a healer. Ailsa had been kept in the dark about the land dispute, and is shocked when her father announces that she is to marry Rory to bind both clans. Rory is just as stunned as Ailsa; he came here to claim what belongs to the Lochmores by royal decree. He never planned on marrying the enemy, he wants power and control, but he cannot help his visceral reaction to the fiery beauty, and he could think of worse punishments than marrying the healer. Ailsa is a practical woman, she does find Rory terribly attractive, and she reluctantly agrees to the marriage, if only to avoid further unnecessary bloodshed. The marriage was to bring a semblance of peace, but a tragic and inexplicable incident puts everything in jeopardy. Is there someone who wishes the clans to war? Is someone lying? Is there a traitor in the house? Who really benefits from the feud?
The Great Feud had begun many years before and, dear readers, it is a complicated story! There are many secrets, and not only Rory’s. Rory and Ailsa are a most unlikely couple, but destined to be together. I loved Ailsa; she is very outspoken, independent, intelligent, and passionate. All qualities that Rory appreciates, even if she surprises him. Rory is brooding and overall what we have come to expect from a Highland warrior; he is quite the tormented hero. He’s a man of his time, I suppose, but on their wedding night, I thought him quite the boor; not much of a romantic hero there, but there was a method to his madness, and he redeemed himself. But it was an odd wedding night indeed.
I often feel clan wars seem like spoiled children throwing a fit and not letting go because they can’t stand to lose face, but in SECRETS OF A HIGHLAND WARRIOR, we see that there is solid ground for the animosity that has persisted for generations between the Lochmores and the McCriefs. I know I always seem to grumble about some detail, but I found the outrage at Rory being forced to use his right hand disconcerting. Everyone was very strongly encouraged to use their right hand throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, as the left hand was thought to be the hand of the devil. Only in the latter half of the 20th century did it become acceptable to be left-handed. Unless it was different in Scotland. The Lochmore Legacy ends on a high note with a wonderful epilogue written by Janice Preston. All the loose ends are tied up as the epilogue brings the series to a satisfying conclusion.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.