Title: My Honorable Highlander, book 1 of the Highland Games Through Time Series Author: Nancy Lee Badger
Genre: Historical Romance
Story Setting: Northern Scotland, 1598
Published Date: May 17, 2012
Sold By: Amazon Digital Services, Inc. A
Listening Length: 10 hours, 33 minutes
Narrator: Tracy Marks
Publisher: Nancy Lee Badger
Audible.com Release Date: January 14, 2015
The Highland Games Through Time Series:
Book 1, My Honorable Highlander
Book 2, My Banished Highlander, published Nov. 9, 2013
Book 3, My Reluctant Highlander, published June 14, 2013
About the Story: This is the first in award-winning author, Nancy Lee Badger’s HIGHLAND GAMES THROUGH TIME series. Battles, kilted Highlanders, witchcraft, and spicy romance: Bumbling present day herbalist, Haven MacKay, gets more than she bargains for when her love spell goes awry, is cast back in time, and meets her true love — Laird Kirkwall Gunn. Kirk’s plans go slightly off course when he falls in love with a woman wandering through the Scottish Highlands. After all, he has pledged to marry another, from an enemy clan, in order to end a century-old feud.
Haven MacKay has no idea that time is fleeting. Dressed in Scottish period costume, she volunteers at a historical village at the present day New England Highland Games. She gets more than she bargains for when her love spell goes awry. After searching for true love, someone honest and open, she meets a mysterious, sword-wielding warrior who fades into the mist. Not a woman destined to give up easily, she tries her spell again and is accidentally cast back in time. Unaware of her new surroundings, Haven stumbles into her mystery man – kilt and all – when he nearly fells her with an arrow. Despite Laird Kirkwall Gunn’s apparent dismay at finding a lost woman in the wilds, he cannot hide his interest. Haven falls for Kirk, scarred face and all, not knowing his secret… he has pledged to marry a woman from an enemy clan in order to end a century-old feud. Her heart, sanity, and life are in danger from all sides when she realizes she has traveled to 16th century Scotland. Passion simmers, but when Kirk’s mortal enemy kidnaps Haven and she learns of Kirk’s betrothal, her heart is broken. Even the most honorable succumb when spells, battles, death, and treachery collide. Kirk’s duty and Haven’s awakening desire lead them on a merry chase toward an unplanned destiny.
My Thoughts: Haven Mackay is NOT your ordinary heroine. She’s a bit quirky and more often than not she trips and falls. Aye, she’s a bit clumsy and she’d be the first to tell you. And she pretty much says what she thinks and she doesn’t appear to think much before she speaks. Some readers would like to see their heroine strong, intelligent, brave, etc. On the upside, she’s compassionate to all injured or ill, extremely forgiving and quite the fighter. But I didn’t tell you this. She’s one lovable heroine. Perhaps this fair lass, with her multiple failings and her zest for life, relates more to us in the peanut gallery. You go get ‘em girl!
The cute voice narrator Tracy Marks uses for Haven (so youthful and clean), makes her more appealing and very much in need of protection. She appears pathetically obtuse, particularly when she was thrust into the past. It took her AGES to figure out what even happened. She kept on saying, this isn’t right. As a listener of the story, I wanted to shake her! Don’t you know where you are woman? Can’t you see you’re in Scotland? Well, anyway, to get back to the character. She knew plenty about healing with herbs, dabbled in ‘spells’, knew she’d had enough of men like her last guy. She was hoping to conjure up her one true love by using what spells she had learned from a book that had passed from generation to generation in her family.
On her third try, with the help of a catalyst of lightening, she finds herself in Scotland, 1598. She believes she was thrown a bit away from the Highland Games in New Hampshire, unable to wrap her mind around the possibility of time travel. She was in for a rude awaking when men chased her, a lone woman. But Kirk, clan chief kept coming to her rescue. This little firecracker, apparently a bit of a knucklehead has more to her than it is readily apparent.
The author tickles us with her sense of humor when she has Haven spewing some rather showy slang. I was rolling my eyes and laughing at the same time. The narrator’s adeptness moving from Scottish ancient speech back to Haven’s turn of phrase in her contemporary slang provided additional amusement, making silly remarks only funnier.
Kirkwell was a man of duty– a clan chief who wanted to keep peace among the clans. He had committed to marry lady Fida just months before seeing Haven in a vision. As an honorable man, he tried to keep his distance from Haven, but didn’t do a very good job of it, sharing quite a few hot passionate scenes with her. (Kirk learns a few 21st century tricks of pleasure from Haven.) Again the narrator shows her skill showing us how frustrated he is. His heart and body are pulling him one way and his duty is pulling him another.
A certain old, frail woman, Dorcas Swann, known as a witch, moved from past to present-day New Hampshire often. She attended the New England Highland Games, had a small tent of herbs and potions she sold to participants of the festivities. She was a Seer of sorts and with her wish of the happy ever after she would ‘arrange’ to make events easier for those looking for love. She appears to know much about the happenings of present and past. Quite a mystery woman!
Lady Fida has ideas of her own on getting what she wants. Cameron, cousin of Kirkwell has eyes for the lovely Haven. Complicated? You bet! But so appealing and such a compelling listen, full of humorous moments. It seems everyone wasn’t happy with their plight, many sub-plots adding interest and depth to the story.
The author captures the antithesis of ancient Scotland and present-day life, providing a thoughtful and humorous comparison. In the end, people are all the same—past, present and future. We are all looking for our own true love and happiness.
About the Author: Nancy Lee Badger grew up in Huntington, New York, on the north shore of Long Island. With a love of art and skiing she found her niche at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. Surrounded by ski areas and a fantastic art program, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education.
The bonus of struggling through four years of classes? She also met her one and only true love…her husband, R-G. As a store clerk in the early years, when they owned nothing; to an assistant store manager for a True Value hardware store whose discount plan helped them restore their 1860’s farmhouse; to a 9-1-1 Emergency Medical Dispatcher where she helped people all over the state, she found time to raise a family, own a couple of lovely homes, volunteer as an EMT and firefighter, volunteer with the hospital auxiliary (and become its president), paint milkcans and landscapes, and so much more. Throughout these years, she learned to watch people and to figure out what made them tick. She and her husband decided to move south to be near family. North Carolina has become their new home base.
With her passion for storytelling, audiobook narration was a natural fit into her career — she started in 2013 and has never looked back! A longtime listener of audiobooks, one of her favorite parts of narration is working in collaboration with authors to bring their stories to life.