by Laurin Wittig
Series: Guardians of the Targe, #1
Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Format: eBook / Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Hidden deep in the rugged Scottish Highlands lies the Highland Targe, an ancient relic guarded for centuries by clan MacAlpin. It is said the Targe can shield the heart of the Highlands from invaders and now, as part of his plan to crush the Scottish rebellion, the English king wants the Targe for himself...
Rowan MacGregor, orphaned niece to the chief of the MacAlpins and the rock her family depends upon, is worried. With the dwindling health of her aunt, the Guardian of the Targe, the protections that have kept the clan safe and prosperous are fading, and the new Guardian, one of her cousins, has yet to be chosen. Rowan wants nothing more than to see the clan protected again, but when it seems that will never happen, she despairs—even when a handsome and charming stranger comes to her aid.
Nicholas fitz Hugh is not what he seems. Half-English, half-Scottish, he turned his back on his Scottish heritage early in his life, giving his loyalty to England instead. Now he is a talented and cunning spy charged with finding and stealing the Highland Targe for his king.
But when Nicholas finds himself falling for the bonny Rowan and wanting to protect the family she holds so dear, he is forced to choose between his king’s will and his own: Will he betray his king and his mission? Or will he turn his back on the woman he has come to love?
This was an enjoyable historical romance set in the Highlands during the reign of Edward Longshanks, Hammer of the Scots. I got this book off Kindle Unlimited, and it offered free audible narration with the download. I haven't tried any of the audible narration on Kindle Unlimited yet, so I thought I would give it a try. I started off reading the book, then switched to the narration when I had to do some mindless computer work. Unfortunately, I did not care for the narrator. He was not engaging enough to keep my interest and cost me some enjoyment of the book, so I ended up turning off the narration and going back to reading. Though I think that the time when I was listening disconnected me from the story and I couldn't quite get that connection back.
The romance between Rowan and Nicholas was slow-building without a lot of steam - a couple kisses and one light intimate scene at the culmination, but that's about it. The story included more action, drama, and a touch of the supernatural than it did romance, but it was also light on the historical details. I think I would have liked either more romance, or more details - I'm not sure which. I find the medieval period fascinating, so I think additional historical details would have brought the story alive. There was not any "highland brogue" in the writing (which I know some people hate, but I happen to like). I really wish I didn't have that disconnect during the audible portion. [sigh]
There is a slight cliffhanger at the end of this book because the story arc is going over all 3 books of the trilogy. So we will definitely being seeing more Rowan and Nicholas in future books, even though there will be different main characters and love interests. I am looking forward to seeing how this Highland clan bands together to defend itself against old Edward Longshanks. I have a feeling the supernatural element will be expanding to encompass the three women as well, but we'll see. Happy reading!
Guardians of the Targe Series
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