Saturday, May 16, 2015

Review: A Highland Knight to Remember by Amy Jarecki

A Highland Knight to Remember 
by Amy Jarecki
Series: Highland Dynasty #3
Pub Date:  May 15, 2015
Publisher:  Rapture Books
Pages:  304
Format:  eARC
Source:  Netgalley

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

In 15th century Scotland, Gyllis Campbell arrives at the Beltane festival with one thing on her mind—to win the heart of Sir Sean MacDougall once and for all. Astonishingly, Sir Sean would like nothing more than to oblige the lovely lass.

But when news of his father’s death arrives, Sean races for Dunollie Castle. Unaware of Sean’s tragedy, Gyllis departs the festival thwarted. Worse, a terrible illness strikes her down, and she’s sent to the cloisters of Ardchattan Priory for healing.

Plagued by raids on his lands and deception in his ranks, Sean is embroiled in a battle to regain control. Pulled in a myriad of directions, adversity runs rampant as Gyllis struggles to regain her health and Sean battles the very demon who covets his title. Fighting for their lives, both must prevail before their love can blossom.

This was another detailed historical romance based loosely on the lives of real historical people. Several events in the book actually happened, and the fictional account is the love story between Sean and Gyllis.

Sean was actually John MacDougall, 11th Chieftain of Dunollie. Ms. Jarecki changed the name to Sean to avoid confusion because we have so many other historical figures in this book also named John. I really liked Sean in this book, who was known as the Lusty Laddie for his past womanizing ways. He was in love with Gyllis Campbell, his best friend Duncan's sister. But because of an ancient feud, he did not think a match between them would be approved. Not to mention Duncan still only sees Sean as that Lusty Laddie.

I must say that I did not care for Duncan in this book. Sean was his best friend but Duncan would not even give him a chance to court Gyllis. How quick he was to judge the Lusty Laddie when Duncan himself was a horrid womanizer before he married Meg. Pot and kettle if you ask me.

Gyllis has been in love with Sean forever, and fearing Duncan will never allow her to marry, decides to take matters into her own hands. Unfortunately circumstances separate the couple in the midst of the Highland games, after which Gyllis is stricken with one of the horrible sicknesses of the time period. This leaves her crippled and downtrodden, seemingly without hope.

However Sean forces his way back into her life and things are looking up, except for the antics of the bastard Alan MacCoul. (MacDougall had an illegitimate older half-brother, Alan MacCoul, who really was a scoundrel and horrid person.) Learning of this, Gyllis shows great strength and determination to rescue Sean when he is in peril, despite her illness and frailty. I loved Gyllis' determination in the face of everyone treating her as a cripple and refusing to listen to her.

I enjoyed this book, as I have the the two previous installments of the Highland Dynasty series. The only aspect that I did not like was that it seemed a tad similar to Duncan and Meg's story (between the crippled aspect and the hero who needs saving). So I would just say to wait a bit between books so the similar aspects don't stand out. It was enjoyable either way though. I like these romances that throw in real historical events and people. It makes me feel like I'm learning something without being bored to tears by a history book. I would have learned a lot more in my history and mythology courses if the school would have included some love stories in the mix! Good job Ms. Jarecki.

I am looking forward to the next book, which is Helen's story. There was an excerpt from her story at the back of this book and I can tell it is going to be a heartwrenching tale.

Additions to my 2016 Scotland Itinerary

Take the passenger ferry to Kerrera, the island in the Scottish Inner Hebrides and see Gylen Castle.
Dunollie Castle (now in ruins) on a hill north of Oban. Part of Dunollie Museum, Castle and Grounds.
Dunstaffnage Castle (partially ruined), 3 miles NNE of Oban at the SW entrance to Loch Etive. One of Scotland's oldest stone castles, built by the McDougall Lords of Lorn and held since the 15th Century by Clan Campbell.
Castle Tioram (not featured in this book but nearby)
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