Times are hard in Scotland, a civil war is going on over politics and religion. Also England and France have a big influence over what is happening in the Highlands. With all the civil unrest, people are becoming victims of circumstance and have to deal with conflicts they have no control over. One of those people is Keira Sinclair. Keira had a simple life but with her clan about to lose everything she is offered in an arranged marriage to a Laird of a neighboring clan. She has to leave the only home she has ever known but she goes along with it for the good of her family.
In route to her new fiance she is taken captive by Ian McKay, a man with many secrets. Ian’s mission is to protect the Scottish crown and expose the clans who are involved in treason. As if the conflicts in Scotland weren’t complicated enough, both Keira and Ian start to become attracted to each other despite their clans being enemies. Now Keira is forced into having a bigger part of a conflict she doesn’t understand and Ian has to deal with his feelings for a woman who may be on the wrong side of his beliefs.
Heart of the Highlands: The Beast by April Holthaus is a historical romance that doesn’t disappoint. I’m more into the historical then the romance but this book had a good mix of both. My favorite part of this book was Keira. In this story you see everything that Keira believes turned upside down. She quickly goes to being a naive girl who thinks she is doing what is best for her family to realizing that there was a lot about the world she didn’t understand.
In what was the best scene of the book, she goes into a confessional to tell a priest all the events that have affected her clan in the years since her mother’s death. She tells the priest that her family has moved away from the Catholic church and she isn’t sure she believes in the Protestant Religion. She thinks the Priest is the only one she can trust but soon finds that even religious men aren’t always good. Nothing is clear-cut in the Scottish Highlands and everyone has their own agenda. Keira is then left with the decision as to what is right for her and figuring out who to trust. Ian is also an interesting character as we see him change from the brute he is in the beginning to who he becomes at the end. I also loved how we find out how the king of Scotland keeps an eye on his people.
Heart Of The Highlands does have some slow parts, I felt some of the romance went on a little to long and the action sequences were not described very well. Also some of the language seemed a little out of place. That being said this book had more pluses than negatives. I loved the characters, and I liked the scenes where religion and politics of the time was discussed. The descriptions of the castles and the life of the people was an intriguing part of the story as well. Fans of historical romance will find a lot to love about this book. I’t’s well researched, a quick read and brings history to life, what more can you ask for?