Title: Highlander Avenged, book 2 of Guardians of the Targe
Author: Laurin Wittig
Genre: Medieval Historical Romance
Published By: Montlake Romance, Seattle
Story Setting: Scottish Highlands, Late Spring, 1307
Guardians of the Targe Series:
Book 1 Highlander Betrayed (my review link, http://wp.me/p40XtX-eA)
About the Story: Jeanette MacAlpin is secretly devastated that the Targe didn’t choose her to be Guardian of the Highlands and particularly their clan, rather chose her cousin Rowan MacGregor. Her mother had trained Jeanette well. The only option for Jeanette was to try to train her cousin and do it quickly before the English come back to finish the job they started – to destroy the castle and take the Targe to King Edward.
Rowan has been working for a fortnight to get the ritual and words performed properly, but just can’t do it and finally says she won’t continue training. Frustration abounds and friction ensues between the pair where before these cousins were the best of friends.
Jeanette’s sister, Scotia, was wild before the Englishman murdered her mother. She is impossible now. She hates the English, shoots daggers from her eyes and finds it hard to even accept Nicholas, the leader of their clan, who is half English.
Leaving the castle to rid herself of the frustration Jeanette walks to the special place her mother took her and finds a man with an injured arm bending over the pool. Malcolm MacKenzie had been injured in battle months previous, and could not get the wound to heal on his sword arm. He had heard of the healing pool in this area and sought it out.
Jeanette was wary, but had a knack for reading people. She felt safe with this man. Leaving back to the castle together they were ambushed by some Englishmen. The two are thrown together to save each other and as destiny has ordained they were meant to meet.
Jeanette and Malcolm both had their duty to their clans. Are they strong enough to choose what destiny claims?
My Thoughts: Ms. Wittig continues her well-told enthralling story of the Targe. It is every bit as good as book 1, Highlander Betrayed. It takes us further into the peril this clan faces. Her dialog with its authentic turn of phrase puts the reader amongst the heather and people of the highlands.
This story is about Jeanette and Malcolm – a poignant, tender love story, told with feeling and passion surrounded by danger. It is also about Jeanette singly, who lost her reason for being, yet will become more than she thought she could.
Malcolm is a brave warrior ready to protect both his clan and Jeanette’s even if he is unable to hold his sword. He wants Jeanette to heal him so he can return to the battlefield. Jeanette promised to heal him and in exchange he would help protect her clan while in staying at the castle, that is, what’s left of it. But Malcolm receives much more. In Jeanette he finds peace and happiness, but knows that duty is calling on the battlefield and so struggles with his feelings.
Ms. Wittig draws the reader into the lovers’ pain of loving who yet are not able to make the final commitment. I enjoyed watching them grow, each discovering who they are. Their heartache of duty, honor and eventual separation, well described by the author, is palpable.
We get to know Scotia better in book 2 as well. Of the three cousins, she is the most complex. I look forward to the last book of the series, Lady Triumphs sharing Scotia’s story.
About the Author: Laurin Wittig was indoctrinated into her Scottish heritage at birth when her parents chose her oddly spelled name from a plethora of Scottish family names. At ten, Laurin attended her first MacGregor clan gathering with her grandparents, and her first ceilidh (kay-lee), a Scottish party, where she danced to the bagpipes with the hereditary chieftain of the clan. At eleven, she visited Scotland for the first time and it has inhabited her imagination ever since.
Laurin writes bestselling and award-winning Scottish medieval romances and lives in southeastern Virginia. In 2014 she releases two books. Highlander Avenged, book 2 in the Guardians of the Targe trilogy, and her first novella appeared in The Winter Stone anthology, with fellow authors Tanya Anne Crosby and Glynnis Campbell. It released on April 21st.