The Chief – Highland Guard #1 – Monica McCarty

The Chief: A Highland Guard Novel (The Highland Guard Book 1)

This was a charming historical romance that tugged at my heartstrings and made me want to slug the male protagonist throughout most of the novel.

It’s loosely based on events surrounding Robert the Bruce and his rise to the throne of Scotland. The author obviously knew her history of Scotland because she did a great job of convincing me that the events of this book could have really happened. I liked that she included, at the end of the book, a little history of Robert the Bruce and how she entwined her story into it.

A secret plan is made and Bruce’s supporters want to get the best warriors of Scotland or at least of the Highlands and the islands of Scotland together to form and secret unbeatable team that will fight in more of the ways of guerilla warfare than traditional ways of meeting on the field to battle BUT…they have to convince the one they want to lead the team to do it first.

Tor MacLeod is the ultimate Scottish warrior. He is the chief of his clan on his own island. He has kept peace for his clan for the last twenty years and has no intention of taking sides in the war between Scotland and England. He was tricked into marrying Christina Frasier, daughter of a man who hates England’s King Edward and everyone knows it. Now, King Edward will be questioning his loyalties and both sides will try to force him to choose.

He agrees to secretly train the elite squad of warriors and hand them off to another once they are trained. He has always put the needs of his clan before anything else not even his wife. He keeps his own council and doesn’t tell his secrets to anyone. He thinks marriage should be a contract that benefits his clan and a wife is for bedding and having children although she should be treated with respect and never abused. He thinks love is impractical and could ruin a leader’s ability to make good choices.

Christina Frasier has been forced by her abusive father to trick Tor MacLeod into marrying her. Before the ceremony she gets her future husband to agree that if she wants to end the marriage contract that he will allow her to go live at a nunnery and take the veil. She always was a dreamer, reading romantic novels about Lancelot and Lady Guinevere. She dreams of a knight in shining armor for her very own but now she has been forced to marry a fierce warrior who is nothing like Lancelot. Her new husband barely notices her except when he visits her bedroom where they are both passionate for each other but then he leaves her soon afterwards to sleep in the great-room with his clansmen. She has fallen in love with Tor and she thinks she sees that he cares for her. She wants to get him to love her but it might be a lost cause and she doesn’t think she can stay with him if she has to live a life without love.

It was a good book although it is not my regular genre of paranormal romance. I did download the second book, The Hawk, and started reading it but it started out with the POV of Robert the Bruce and focused too much on politics and war maneuvering so I lost interest right away. A little too much history and not enough romance. I’m going to give it a little more time. I like to get to at least 15% of a book before I give up on it. We’ll see how it goes.

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