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Blogger Site: WhiskeyintheJar Romance
Guest Reviewer at: Reading Between the Wines book club
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Uprooted from her home after her father's murder, Morrigan has fled to the Highlands. There, with her step-mother, step-sister, and their husbands, they continue to fight to get out from under the yoke of the English.
Aidan has soldiered for England and now as a barrister, he fights to bring justice to his fellow Highlanders. With his brother at his side, he works to establish rule of law in this turbulent time.
Politics, entrapment, spying, blackmail, and love come alive in the highlands.
Her insides burned with sadness, and rage.
Highland Sword is third in the Royal Highland series and would work best read after the first two. The connecting thread in the series is Cinaed Mackintosh (Highland Crown), he is the secret son of Queen Caroline and looked upon by rebel Scots as to be the true king and savior of Scotland against the harsh treatment of England. In book one, Cinaed marries Morrigan's step-mother and thus begins her connection to the plot thread. The beginning of this and a lot of the story focuses on the turmoil of Scotland at the time. Morrigan's father was killed in a raid where rebels were thought to be meeting. The authors center the misdeeds of the English on the character Sir Rupert Burney to help draw a clear picture of what was happening at the time. Sir Rupert appears in all three books and works as a spy master for the Home Office and abuses his power by blackmailing and orchestrating entrapments.
Her feelings for Aidan Grant were beginning to confuse her. She wanted some distance from him, but at the same time she enjoyed having him near. She was attracted and yet still afraid. Not afraid. Cautious.
Our hero comes into the picture as he is chasing down a man he thinks has worked for the Home Office and Sir Rupert and can give testimony against them, therefore saving his current clients from the noose. The man, Robert Sparrow, ends up being Morrigan's uncle and the source of a childhood trauma, he raped her when she was twelve years old. After a scuffle in an alleyway, Aidan and Morrigan meet and Aidan is intrigued by this woman who gave him a black eye. When Sparrow is moved to the castle Morrigan is staying at, he's dying of cancer, she is forced to confront her past.
The political climate and historical setting is done very well, you're going to have to enjoy stories leaning heavier on the historical part of historical romance. I loved the character of Aidan and how calm, strong, and easy he was with Morrigan. Unfortunately, we don't get a lot of him and the political threads did steal away from their romance; they just didn't spend enough time together for me. Aidan was constantly on the move trying to build his case for his clients and Morrigan was stretched thin herself. While Aidan was working to defeat Sir Rupert in the courts, Morrigan finds allies and turns a blackmail situation against her to her favor.
With one sweep of his hand, he cleared the desk. Books and papers crashed fluttered to the floor. He lifted her onto the edge.
The emotions between the two were felt, even though their time on page was too fleeting and left me wanting more. Morrigan's struggle with facing her past was dealt well in that it wasn't the center point of her character, it shaped her but didn't define her and I wish such villains were done more in this way. Her thoughts and feelings regarding not wanting to burden her family with knowledge of her pain and not be a detriment to Aidan's budding political career provided some deep emotional moments. There was a lot being said in this series, governments utilizing the law and courts in underhanded ways was the main message in this one, and I appreciated the historical details and weaving of real people, places, and events. This had an exceptional hero who I wish had more time to shine with the heroine as their relationship was sweet and flaring at times. If looking for a historical series that will give you plenty to go off and learn about on your own, Royal Highland does that, along with compelling and loving heroes and heroines.