Featured Author in February – to read an interview with B.J. Scott and an excerpt from Highland Hellion, please see the February issue of Uncaged Book Reviews.
Top Reads for February.
Arya MacEachan’s beloved father taught her to hunt, ride, to handle a sword, and shoot an arrow straighter than most men, things a proper lady did not usually learn. When he is killed at the Battle of Bannockburn, their holdings taken by Robert the Bruce, the spirited lass is left alone to care for her invalid mother, a task she does not take lightly.
Garrett MacDougall, leader of his displaced clan and their related septs, struggles to provide for his people on barren land where hunting is forbidden, forcing him to steal from the new Lord of Argyll in order to survive. When Arya, the woman he loves and wishes to marry, insists on accompanying the men on a raid, he knows better than to forbid her from joining them, so he reluctantly agrees.
But when a traitor betrays them, and Arya is captured, then sentence to death, Garrett is forced to accept help from his sworn enemy, the Fraser brothers, summoned by Arya’s dying mother to rescue her daughter, the sister they did not know they had until now.
This is the first book in a secondary trilogy of the Fraser family. The first trilogy, The Fraser Brothers Series runs before this set, so if you want to get the full impact and the stories of all the characters you meet, you could start there, but you will not have any problems reading this trilogy alone, or even reading any of the books as standalones, but all the characters are memorable, and reading the whole series is the best way to go.
This time out, we learn about a spitfire of a woman, named Arya. Taught to hunt, fish and handle a sword better than most by her father, Arya is a force to be reckoned with. After the war, her clan is forced out of their lands and in order to survive, her and some clan members, including the leader of the clan, Garrett, are ready to raid the keep of the new Lord of Argyle to get the supplies they need for the upcoming winter. But Arya is captured and sentenced to death…
But Ayra’s dying mother summons the Fraser brothers, whom she finally tells the secret of Arya’s parentage – she is their half-sister. But will the Fraser brothers be able to save Arya?
Well hashed out and memorable characters, a great storyline and backdrop to the series, with a romance that Arya shies away from, but Garrett has loved Arya for years, and he won’t give up easily. I really enjoyed Arya’s fighting spirit and Garrett’s loyalty. The Fraser brothers didn’t disappoint and the bits of humor scattered throughout was refreshing. Reviewed by Cyrene
Gravely injured during the massacre at Berwick on Tweed and with no memory of his past, Brother Lazarus was raised by monks until called upon by the Catholic Church to take up arms and protect pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. As a member of the ill-fated Knights Templar, he is haunted by the horror of battle and the atrocities he witnessed at the hands of the French King, Philip the Fair, in his attempt to destroy the once-sacred order. Aided by a disgruntled French guard, he escaped on the night before his execution and flees to Scotland, but remains a fugitive. King Philip is convinced he also absconded with religious artifacts and a valuable treasure.
Despite his attempt to remain sequestered with the monks who raised him, Lazarus visits Berwick, convinced it holds the key to his identity and past. While there, he prevents a lass from being raped—a Good Samaritan act that has him questioning his vows of celibacy and puts him and anyone around him in danger.
Sheena MacClaran, wrongly accused of being a whore, harbors secrets of her own, but finds herself drawn to the mysterious monk who tends to her injuries and befriends her wee brother. Has she finally found a man she can trust and love, or will demons from his past and a king’s wrath catch up with them and tear them apart forever?
I actually read this one first, a couple months ago, so I’m revisiting that review here, but also it was easy to read on its own, but it does end in a bit of a cliffhanger.
This is a nicely paced Highlander historical. Sheena, wrongly accused as a woman who lifts her skirts for money, is attacked on her way home from the markets. Brother Lazarus, who was raised by monks, sees the attack and comes to Sheena’s aid. Leaving her in the hands of a friend to get her home, he can’t stop the guilty feelings he has for not seeing her home herself. So he sets out to find her, and when he finds her, she’s very sick with an infection from the wound on her arm. Finding she is the caretaker of her younger brother, Brother Lazarus remains with her and her brother until she is well enough again.
But Brother Lazarus has secrets – and doesn’t know who he really is, and Sheena has secrets of her own. Unraveling the story around both of them, the author does a nice job interweaving the characters, with a bit of mystery, danger and action within the romance. Once you get to the halfway point, the book is hard to put down. Even though this is a series book, and this was not the first book in the series, I had no problems catching on, and can easily be read as a standalone. Reviewed by Cyrene
4 1/2 Stars
When Ian Fraser enters the castle of his enemy disguised as a servant, he has one mission in mind—to locate and free his cousin’s son, then return the lad to his home.
But when he meets Lady Roslyn, a stunning, high-spirited lass, who could very well be the love of his life, things change.
Can Ian rescue Quinn and win Roslyn’s heart, or will her ruthless brother, Roderick, laird of the Morgan stronghold, stand in their way of happiness?
For the third book in this trilogy, it starts off where we left off in book two. Sheena was accosted when she was young by an evil laird, Roderick Morgan. Her son by this union, Quinn, has been hidden from Morgan until now. Morgan has figured out that Quinn is his son, and kidnapped him from the Fraser castle grounds. The Fraser brothers along with their cousins, ride off on a rescue mission. But it won’t be easy, Morgan is a cruel man, and Ian Fraser, the brothers’ cousin, gets inside the Morgan keep disguised as a servant. He finds an ally in Rosalyn, Morgan’s sister who is abused by Morgan, and is being pushed to marry against her will.
All the previous characters from the other stories are back, and the plot and story is a page-turner. Never does this book slow down and bore the reader. It keeps a fantastic pace and the romance between Ian and Rosalyn is heartwarming. B.J. Scott writes woman with not only beauty, but strength and dignity. I will look forward to reading much, much more from this author. Reviewed by Cyrene