Euan McArthur is a chieftain in need of an heir.
While still a young a warrior, Euan incites the fury of a witch. She retaliates with a curse that no wife will ever bear him an heir. As he buries his third wife and yet another bonnie stillborn son, Euan can no longer cast her words aside.
Morag Farquhar is a woman in need of sanctuary. With a young relative in tow, Morag flees the only home she has ever known to escape her brother, Baron of Wolfsdale, and find sanctuary in the MacArthur stronghold. Pronounced barren by a midwife, Morag is of little value to her family, but a Godsend to Euan, a lover he can’t kill by getting with child.
Years ago, chance drew them together, and tangled their lives in ways they could never have imagined. This time their destiny lies in their own hands, but it will take courage and strong hearts to see it through to the end.
And here is MadHamster's review:
I thought I’d be a good girl and offer to review this title as the author lives locally to my work – in a public library. So I went into the reading of The Chieftain’s Curse with a sense of trepidation: what if I don’t like it? Not only will I have to review a book I don’t like, I wouldn’t be able to genuinely sell a local offering.
Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
Set fifteen years after the Battle of Hastings and during the reign of Malcolm Canmore (MacBeth’s Malcolm, and – minus a brief hiccup, as it were – successor), The Chieftain’s Curse is a braw, bonny medieval Scottish romance.
Secrets abound in Cragenlaw, home of Euan McArthur, the eponymous chieftain. Sometimes you want to shake people to either (a) tell their damn secret or (b) figure out the giant secret staring them in the face.
Morag’s secret is pretty obvious to the reader from the beginning, so the rest of the book is spent waiting for Euan to get it – and Morag to explain her reasons for keeping it. (I’m still not entirely sure I’ve figured that bit out.)
Euan has honour and loyalty, so hasn’t cheated on his wives, and so hasn’t had sex for a number of months. But the curse means he goes through wives, and has no heir. (Obviously MacBeth kept the witch thing quiet, otherwise even as an arrogant teen, Euan should have known not to piss off an old woman in the woods, right?) The barren Morag is perfect for his sexual needs. And there’s just something about her… Of course there’s lots of sex – Euan finally has someone he can ‘let himself go with’ without fear of consequence. All of that (probably) explains the indecently short time between the death of wife #3 (Astrid, in chapter two) and Euan making Morag his leman in chapter six (the day of Astrid’s funeral).
Morag’s pretty tough, but also nice. She is sometimes trapped by her memories of the past, and takes a bit to reconcile these with the current situation. Euan has a couple of different personas: that of The Chieftain; and that of Euan. Balancing the two creates some of the clashes with Morag. Euan wants Morag, but The Chieftain has to have an heir. On the whole, the secondary characters are pretty lightly drawn, more plot devices than characters, only Rob (Morag’s relative) and Nhaimeth (Astrid’s fool) stand out.
There are battles and death scenes (though I’m not convinced any sort of warrior would use his battleaxe to chop up a downed tree). There’s even a visit to the royal court, and a nicely done nod to the queen’s Christian faith (she was later canonised). (The fluidity of religious belief at the time is referred to often – Christianity is only one option, and that a recent one.)
There is treachery and intrigue. And it’s all wrapped up nicely by the end.