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 Phyllis Laatsch's review:
Things I Googled about this book: History of kilts and plaids, gay marriage in New Zealand, 11th century Spain, and Moors (and Moors in 11th century Spain).
Things I really enjoyed about this book:
The heroine is strong and smart. Even when she has weak moments, she pulls herself together.
There is a lot of sex, mainly emotionally satisfying, though a bit much after a while.
The hero, Euan, is sometimes cruel because his curse means his wife and baby die at birth (he has buried three wives and their babies) and yet he needs an heir. We see his internal conflict and he hates being cruel. It doesn't excuse the stuff he says sometimes, but as clan leader, he has certain responsibilities.
It’s not a spoiler to say that this is a Secret Baby story, though when an 11th century Scotland teen mom has a Baby Daddy who's an enemy warrior she rescued after a battle, she has good reason to keep it quiet. Finally, a secret baby that can be justified! (Though the heroine should have told the Baby Daddy wayyyyy sooner. Like the day she arrived. Okay, maybe a few days later, since that was the day Euan’s wife died in childbirth.)
Things that bugged me:
The first fifth of the book was slow, with everyone hinting at deep, dark secrets which are mostly revealed to the reader in the first quarter of the book. Even the random mercenary guy is given so much backstory when he’s first mentioned that it’s obvious he’s going to be important, though his secret isn’t revealed until almost the end.
The son, while a bit old to be a plot moppet, lacks depth. He’s a really good kid. Too good.
It’s not clear from Googling if they wrapped themselves in huge swathes of plaid at this point in history or if that was later.
There was a mention that in Spain, the church was tracking down witches. Was there a “Spain” at the time? Wasn’t it controlled by the Moors? Wasn’t the Inquisition more 15th century?
Misuse of words: Example: “Quickening” is when the mother can first feel the baby in her womb, not when she goes into labor. That would be “confinement.”
Also: overuse of Scots words to add flavor in places where they made it more confusing.
The heroine has just spent a couple of months walking across all of Scotland, barely sleeping and not eating enough, so she’s described as gaunt and lacking curves. And yet her boobies are still big and perky. Sorry, but those deflate when you lose weight.
If this were all I had to say, this would be a mid-level B.
THE THING THAT REALLY BUGGED ME: The big, bad brother who is out to get the heroine is gay. His lover/assistant is black (and no one mentions how the Moor got to a Nowheresville English barony bordering Scotland) and gay and insane. This is a problem I see too often, especially in historicals. Did they all snap because of hetero-normative pressure and want to torture straight people for no reason? Ditto the non-whites?
I can sometimes shrug it off if the story is good enough, but SERIOUSLY, people. If you’re going to have an evil gay character, make sure there are good gay characters, too. If you’re going to toss just one black person into a story, don’t make him a sociopath.