HIGHLAND SCOUNDREL BY (MCCARTY, MONICA)[BALLANTINE BOOKS]JAN-1900 Hardcover – 24 Mar 2009
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Set in Scotland 1608, Duncan Campbell has returned to the Highlands after ten years in Ireland, to clear his name of a crime he didn't commit. He is drawn again to Jeannie Gordon, the girl he loved and who pledged him her love only to seemingly betray him.
Duncan is the illegitimate son of a Highland chieftan, who acknowledges and loves him and is the cousin of the Earl of Argyle who made him his captain of guard, before Duncan seemingly betrayed his father, the King and Argyle.
No longer a girl, but a woman with secrets, Jeannie believes that Duncan betrayed her and she can't forgive his mistrust of her, but neither can she turn him in and sign his death warrant. Caught up in a web of murder and intrigue, the pair fight to prove Duncan's innocence.
This is the Scotland of James I of England/James VI of Scotland. McCarty uses some real characters sprinkled amongst the fictional ones and uses real events. She explains the history and time lines in the back of the book.
I personally found this book more interesting than many of Howell's books, which tend to fall into the category of read one and you've probably read most, as far as I'm concerned. However, that is just my personal opinion.
Enjoyable and interesting story.
This one falls somewhere in the middle.
I was quite keen to read this instalment to find out the full story behind Duncan Dubh's treason at long last, since it's been mentioned in the other books of the trilogy several times. The story opens with quite a bang in the present--albeit still in the 17th century--day, then it takes us back the 10 years to when the hero and heroine, Duncan and Jeannie, met and fell in love originally, before the alleged betrayal/treason nastiness all happened, causing Duncan to flee to Ireland for a decade or else face the hangman's noose. So it started very well, and I rather liked the couple at the beginning; they were very sweet together and had some great sensual scenes and some nice angst and drama. It was once we returned to present day that I found myself falling out of love with the story.
One of the main reasons I don't like romances featuring ex lovers, is the inherent bitterness they always bring with them. In this case, I never felt like Duncan and Jeannie truly got back that magic they'd had when they first met. There was just too much water under the bridge.
The next problem was that the plot just seemed to stop for about a hundred pages or so while they dithered about deciding whether or not to trust each other again. It was annoying to the nth degree to watch them get close and then retreat into distrust again, a cycle which was then repeated ad nauseam. I really think the book could have been a good hundred pages shorter and lost a lot of this padding and filler section. I realise it's the finale of the trilogy, and the one we've all been waiting for, but making it longer doesn't automatically make it more 'epic'.
It perhaps wouldn't have been quite as tiresome if we, as readers, didn't already know everything that was going on. We knew Jeannie's secret, we knew about Duncan's innocence, and we knew who the real villain was. It was just a matter of waiting for the characters to catch up.
All together, I'm glad I read it and that I've completed the trilogy, but it wasn't one of McCarty's best efforts.
3 Stars ★★★
Didn't disappoint at all!
Again, another great read from Monica McCarty...
Cannot wait for more...
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