Title: My Highland Spy
Author: Victoria Roberts
Genre: Historical Medieval Romance
Story Setting: London, Scottish Highlands, 1609
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca (September 2, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
About the Story: Lady Ravenna Walsingham, a spy, follows in her father and uncle’s steps, working for the Crown. Sometimes, she wishes she wasn’t a spy. This particular mission was one such case. But go where the King sends her, she must. Disguised as a governess, she travels to Scotland to spy on Laird Ruairi Sutherland with the ruse that the King is sending her to tutor his son in English because he hadn’t sent his son to England to learn the King’s tongue. The King sent her to see if the lairds in Scotland were plotting for war with England. And frankly, he wanted to make an example of this particular laird.
Once arrived she finds the laird unable to speak English, an unbelievable situation. But Laird Ruairi was playing his own games. He spoke English well enough. (Below is a humorous scene when Ravenna blurts out what’s in her mind thinking the laird doesn’t understand!) Ravenna finds these Highlanders may be built like trees, but they were learned, living in wildness where their personalities matched the elements. She noted many misconceptions she had about Scots. Laird Ruairi had a lovely home, with a charming son. Determined not to become involved with this extremely broad-chested, handsome kilted laird, she concentrated on teaching his son English. But all her focus could not save her from his kiss. His intention was to see her in his bed.
The last of the summer blooms lined the path. Yellow and red flowers led to a wait-high stone wall where the laird had stopped and was waiting for her. She walked up beside him and looked over the wall. the white waves of the ocean crashed below on jagged rocks. She inhaled the fresh saltwater air and closed her eyes, letting the breeze comb through her loose tendrils.
When she opened her eyes, he was watching her. He shifted his weight and stood so close that a piece of his long hair whipped her cheek. She could easily drown in the depths of his emerald eyes. She suddenly found it difficult to breathe and caught the smell of his spicy scent as it wafted through the air.
For a brief moment, Ravenna forgot who she was and what she was sent there to do. It was if something intense passed between them, making her tingle in the pit of her stomach. No man had ever looked at her that way.
What was the matter with her?
The man had enough burdens. He was mourning the loss of his wife and now had to raise his son alone. And here she was acting like some silly chit foundering over the man’s good looks.
She cleared her throat. “It’s quite unfortunate that you do not speak English.” When she saw a slight hesitation in his hawk-like eyes, she added, “Praise the saints. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. You stand there, so handsome, sporting your kilt. Frankly, I don’t remember any of my other assignments being quite so…desirable.”
The smoldering flame she saw in his eyes startled her.
“Ye are my son’s governess, but I would take ye verra willingly to my bed.”
My Thoughts: This is the first of Victoria Robert’s books I’ve read. No doubt I’ve missed many enjoyable reads.
This story is straightforward, well-plotted with plenty of action and quite a bit of humor thrown into the mix. We know Ravenna’s mission, her need toward taking care of her sisters and her desire to serve the King. We learn, as she does, she apparently can’t seem to focus on her mission when a certain laird gets too close to her person.
I was pulled into the Scottish Highlands as Ravenna was, with its crisp, clean air, its ocean and wildness mixed with a bit of fear of the unknown. Ravenna had never been to Scotland and only wanted to return to her sisters as quickly as possible.
Grace, her 17-year-old sister could be quite a handful. Before Ravenna left England, Grace had put it into her head that Ravenna was leaving them for several months because she was with child. Ravenna was quick to correct her, but…. And this prove to be correct when Grace decided to take save her sister from imminent ruin, only to create a worse situation.
Ravenna hated dogs, absolutely hated them, so when she sighted a wolf stalking her she did what every red-blooded woman would do – she grabbed Laird Ruairi for protection. Ravenna, later, decided it was a mistake, but at the time, she experienced more emotion than fear. I enjoyed this scene very much and saw the humor in it, of course, from the Scottish point of view. The wolf, also known as Angnus, was friend, protector and companion to Laird Ruairi’s son, Torquil. Angnus, being a secondary character within the story, enriched the texture of the life in Scotland. Ravenna later learned to put her fear aside when necessary and there’s another scene very touching with her and the wolf.
Even though Lady Ravenna was English, a spy, and living a life of lie telling, she found her match in this Scottish Laird. She just had to be convinced. I love the story and its entertainment. Victoria Roberts tells a good Scottish tale very worth the reading. Recommended highly to Highland romance lovers.
About the Author: Award-winning author Victoria Roberts writes Scottish historical romances about kilted heroes and warriors from the past. She was named by RT Book Reviews as “one of the most promising debut authors across the genres” and was also a 2013 RT Reviewers’ Choice award winner for X Marks the Scot.
Represented by Jill Marsal of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, Victoria is a member of Romance Writers of America® and several local chapters, as well as a contributing author to the online magazine Celtic Guide.
Victoria lives in western Pennsylvania with her husband of twenty-one years and their two beautiful children—not to mention one spoiled dog. When she is not plotting her next Scottish adventure, she’s dragging her clan to every Scottish festival under the sun.