The Chief: A Highland Guard Novel (Highland Guard Novels)
By Monica McCarty
Tor MacLeod meets his match in The Chief, a Highland Guard novel by Monica McCarty. Tall, brawny and remarkably skilled with a sword, Tor bends to no man as the leader of his clan. He has no desire to be drawn into the war between Scotland and England’s King Edward, and his remote location on the isles of Scotland has allowed him to keep his clan isolated and safe. That all quickly changes when Tor is approached to train and lead an ultra elite group of warriors, handpicked by Robert the Bruce to help Bruce in his quest to finally free Scotland from English rule.
Tor has been summoned to a meeting at Finlaggen castle by a small group of Scots directed by Robert the Bruce to convince Tor to train the handpicked warriors. It is here at Finlaggen that Tor meets Christina Fraser, the beautiful daughter of a nobleman who treats his two daughters poorly. Christina and her sister Beatrix long to escape their father, and Christina has plotted to get them away in the dark of night while they are at Finlaggen. Her plans go awry, however, when her father convinces Christina to take part in a plot to entrap Tor so that he doesn’t leave the council without pledging his aid to the Bruce. The entrapment leads to a hasty marriage, and Christina soon finds herself on the way to Tor’s remote homeland.
Christina was instantly attracted to the tall, strong warrior when she first laid eyes upon him at Finlaggen. Tor, on the other hand, has tamped down his feelings for Christina, although he feels an intense attraction to her as well. It is this conflict of Tor’s feelings that plays throughout the book, and his layers of reserve and detachment peel away as the story progresses and he realizes that he loves Christina more than he could ever have imagined. Both Christina and Tor have secrets to reveal as their story unwinds, and Tor struggles to maintain his detachment as he falls more deeply in love. When Christina falls into the hands of the enemy, Tor realizes that she means more to him than he ever could have imagined, and he’ll stop at nothing to get her back safely into his arms.
The Chief is a novel rich in detail of the historic period as Scotland fought for independence from England. This was a struggle fought on the land and sea between clans loyal to different leaders, and author McCarty displays a well balanced proportion of history and romance throughout the novel. It is also finely crafted romance novel, and readers will enjoy watching Tor fight his emotions throughout the novel, only to realize that he can be strongly loyal to his clan and still love his wife above all else.
Joyce Greenfield, ReaderToReader.com