I love romance novels set in the Highlands of Scotland. Something about those fierce warriors who wield two handed swords and are passionate lovers to boot. I’ve read many, many novels with the hero being a Chief or renegade clan member, but nothing compares to the books of Monica McCarty. Her website is really well done. She provides information on her research that goes into each new story, including photos of the actual castles or islands. She provides photos of her extensive travels and it’s nice to see her perspective on the Isle of Skye, rather than google images.
She has three series she has written: The Highland Guard, The Campbell Trilogy and The MacLeods of Skye Trilogy. All are well written and fascinating to read. What impresses me the most is her unbelivable accuracy in recounting history. Many of these books are set in time of Robert the Bruce, which is the the very early 1300s. I don’t know how many people were literate then and keeping records, but at the end of every book, she details her research and provides links to more. This is more than a quick google search. As I stated earlier, she actually travels to the locations to get ideas and learn more about the landscape. She also must pour over dusty books and have a Celtic dictonary on hand at all times.
The first review will be on the Highland Guard series. She hasn’t finished writing them yet, goody!!
Her premise behind these novels came from a line in a historical record she found. It linked a MacSorley clan member to being Robert the Bruce’s personal guard, and well known for reeking havoc on the English. Her idea was born to create a phantom army to further the cause of Bruce regaining the throne. Or as she puts it – “Seals in Kilts”.
These men are selected to train and work covertly to upset the English hold on Scotland and ultimately put Bruce on the throne. Of course they are romance novels (and steamy at that), but the history, the adventure and the romance work seamlessly to create a well spun tale that leaves you wondering if it maybe did happen that way. The heroines in the novels are no wall flowers. These are powerful women. Women who make difficult life choices to serve Bruce, be with the man they love and ultimately serve Scotland. It’s refreshing to read a romance novel where you don’t want to smack the heroine for being to stupid to live.
The Highland Guard series takes place over many years. Each story moves along the trials, victories and set backs by the Highland Guard to secure the throne for Bruce. Details such as daily life, the clothing worn and the frailities of life are recounted with intricate accuracy. Once again, you feel safe to lose yourself in the details because you know McCarty did her research. No warrior is whipping out an iphone to check if his little lady stayed put like he told her. Nope, in a McCarty novel, its highly likely she’s shooting an arrow at the enemy at his back.
The series is as follows:
The Knight (novella)
The Arrow (released in a month)