by Amy Jarecki
Series: Highland Dynasty, #1
Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2015
Publisher: Rapture Books
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Grieving from the death of his wife, Lord Colin Campbell listens to the cries of his newborn son whilst penning a missive to the king. With no marriage prospects, Colin petitions his majesty for help in finding a stepmother. Never again will he fall in love—the death of a woman brings more pain than losing a whole contingent of men on the battlefield.
Feisty, quick tongued and smart, Margaret Robinson is delighted when her father receives a messenger from the king…until she discovers what news he brings. In a sennight, she will wed the notorious Black Knight—her life is about to end.
Tension builds during the wedding and deteriorates from there…until an accident draws them together. Just when their love begins to blossom, a dire request arrives from the Pope. Colin must join the Crusades at once.
Their fragile love is forced to withstand the seductions of hell—Margaret tempted by a scoundrel laird—Colin courted by Satan himself. Aye, the war for Christendom could very well ruin their dreams forever.
This book is a historical fiction romance - and I phrase it that way because I think it has a tad more historical fiction than romance. It is loosely based on real historical figures: Colin Campbell, the first Lord of Glenorchy, and his wife, Margaret Robinson. The setting is in the medieval era during the Crusades, when John II reigned over Scotland. Colin, known as the Black Knight of Rome, was a knight hospitaller with the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and fought in the Holy Wars against the Turks.
I would say this is a well-written, somewhat fictional account of Colin and Margaret. After his second wife died in childbirth, Colin sought help from King James II to find a stepmother for his son, Duncan. He hoped to have a matronly woman because he was heartsore after burying two wives in his young life. Imagine his dismay when he arrives at his wedding to discover the king and queen have chosen a comely young lass with moss green eyes and chestnut hair! As Colin is still grieving his late wife, things do not get off on the best start with Margaret. And unfortunately, just as the couple is growing close, Colin is called away to join the Crusades and is separated from his wife and family for a very long time. The story has not only an account of what occurred during the Crusades, but also the events that unfolded with Margaret in Scotland. Ewen MacCorkodale, the villain of the story, is also an historical figure, and legend says that he did in fact try to steal Margaret from Colin while he was away at war... and some of the events that happened in this book are indeed part of the legend.
Kilchurn Castle also plays a large part in this story, and it is indeed a real place (now in ruins). Legend says that Margaret did oversee its completion while Colin was away fighting. I think it will be added to my Scotland itinerary when I travel there with Deanna in 2016.
This was a fascinating historical read with enough accurate details to satisfy people who like to have some substance with their historical romance, but with a few steamy sex scenes thrown in to keep the attention of readers who prefer more romance than history. Because of the level of detail and subject matter, this is not a light fluff read. It contained weight and substance, and I felt like I learned something while I was reading.