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Highlander Betrayed (Guardians of the Targe)…
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Highlander Betrayed (Guardians of the Targe)

by Laurin Wittig

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3 stars / 2 flames

This was an enjoyable historical romance set in the Highlands during the reign of Edward Longshanks, Hammer of the Scots. I got this book off Kindle Unlimited, and it offered free audible narration with the download. I haven't tried any of the audible narration on Kindle Unlimited yet, so I thought I would give it a try. I started off reading the book, then switched to the narration when I had to do some mindless computer work. Unfortunately, I did not care for the narrator. He was not engaging enough to keep my interest and cost me some enjoyment of the book, so I ended up turning off the narration and going back to reading. Though I think that the time when I was listening disconnected me from the story and I couldn't quite get that connection back.

The romance between Rowan and Nicholas was slow-building without a lot of steam - a couple kisses and one light intimate scene at the culmination, but that's about it. The story included more action, drama, and a touch of the supernatural than it did romance, but it was also light on the historical details. I think I would have liked either more romance, or more details - I'm not sure which. I find the medieval period fascinating, so I think additional historical details would have brought the story alive. There was not any "highland brogue" in the writing (which I know some people hate, but I happen to like). I really wish I didn't have that disconnect during the audible portion. [sigh]

There is a slight cliffhanger at the end of this book because the story arc is going over all 3 books of the trilogy. So we will definitely being seeing more Rowan and Nicholas in future books, even though there will be different main characters and love interests. I am looking forward to seeing how this Highland clan bands together to defend itself against old Edward Longshanks. I have a feeling the supernatural element will be expanding to encompass the three women as well, but we'll see. Happy reading! ( )
  Bambi_Unbridled | Mar 19, 2016 |
Amazon Description:
Hidden deep in the rugged Scottish Highlands lies the Highland Targe, an ancient relic guarded for centuries by clan MacAlpin. It is said the Targe can shield the heart of the Highlands from invaders and now, as part of his plan to crush the Scottish rebellion, the English king wants the Targe for himself...
Rowan MacGregor, orphaned niece to the chief of the MacAlpins and the rock her family depends upon, is worried. With the dwindling health of her aunt, the Guardian of the Targe, the protections that have kept the clan safe and prosperous are fading, and the new Guardian, one of her cousins, has yet to be chosen. Rowan wants nothing more than to see the clan protected again, but when it seems that will never happen, she despairs—even when a handsome and charming stranger comes to her aid.
Nicholas fitz Hugh is not what he seems. Half-English, half-Scottish, he turned his back on his Scottish heritage early in his life, giving his loyalty to England instead. Now he is a talented and cunning spy charged with finding and stealing the Highland Targe for his king.
But when Nicholas finds himself falling for the bonny Rowan and wanting to protect the family she holds so dear, he is forced to choose between his king’s will and his own: Will he betray his king and his mission? Or will he turn his back on the woman he has come to love?

Opinions:
Highlander Betrayed is a story of an English spy, Nicholas, who seeks out Scotland’s Targe (“a shield”) for King Edward. Nicholas’s father was English who forced himself on a Scottish woman. Nicholas grew up for 12 years in Scotland before he left to live with his father. Nicholas eventually becomes the most trustworthy and successful spy for King Edward. When King Edward wants to conquer Scotland, he sends Nicholas to retrieve the Targe – a shield that Scotsmen believe protects Scotland from invaders. With it, King Edward believes that he will be successful in his conquest. All does not go as planned. While staking out the MacAlpin’s castle - where rumor has it that the Targe is hidden, Nicholas veers off course rescuing the ladies of the castle from an accident. Now he must prove his worth if he is to learn where the Targe is hidden. However, Rowan (the Chief’s orphaned niece) throws Nicholas off even further - for Nicholas starts to fall in love with her. Nicholas must decide if he should trust his heart or loyalty to the king.

The story is written in third person, mainly following Nicholas and Rowan. Each has had a rough childhood. Nicholas’s mother could no longer look at her son as he grew to look like the man that had raped her. His father was a cruel man, but Nicholas prevailed and became successful in King Edward’s court. Rowan’s parents died when she was young. She doesn’t at first remember what happened, but we learn about it later in the book. She is a strong person that takes care of her family – especially her aunt that is dying. When the two meet, there is an instant attraction. However, Nicholas is a stranger in the clan’s land. On the other hand, he helped rescue Rowan and her cousin. Eventually his secret of being a spy will surface along with the Targe. But what will happen to the potential two lovers? Who will Nicholas betray? And, how will he escape the repercussions of his choices?

The plot moved a long well. The mystery around the Targe is slowly revealed. Also, the reader knows eventually the clan will find out about Nicholas’s job, so that part is not surprising. There is a little magic (Scottish lore) involved with the Targe and those surrounding it. Although not a paranormal read, I like this part of the story. The bad guy(s) was/were fairly one-dimensional though. It would have been interesting if the one person had a little more conflict with the events.

Overall, it was a good read. If you like historical Scottish romances with a little lore, then you might like this book. ( )
  Maria1010 | Sep 4, 2013 |
Man, it's been so long since I have read a highlander book that I almost forgot how much I love them!! It took me a few chapters to get into the swing of things with the way the author wrote and with the way the characters spoke, but once I got into the flow of it, it went very smoothly and was an amazing story. I loved all the characters so much that I am actually a little torn in that I want book two to be about one of Rowan's cousins, yet at the same time I want more with Rowan and Nicholas. Regardless of who the main characters are though, I will be anxiously waiting for more to come! A DEFINITE must read!!! I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley for an honest review. ( )
  hcollins | Jul 16, 2013 |
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Deep in the rugged Scottish countryside lies the Highland Targe, an ancient relic that, along with its Guardian, protects the heart of the Highlands.For centuries, the MacAlpin clan has watched over the Targe, but Lady Elspet, the current Guardian, is gravely ill. Her niece Rowan MacGregor, the rock of the family, is doing everything she can to hold her clan together when she meets Nicholas fitz Hugh.Handsome and charming, Nicholas quickly joins clan life -- yet he is not what he seems. A cunning spy, Nicholas is charged by the king of England with stealing the Targe, part of a plot to break the Scottish rebellion.Despite his loyalty to the king, Nicholas finds himself falling for beautiful Rowan. When Lady Elspet's health worsens and the guardianship is in question, Nicholas must choose between the king's will and his own. Can he betray his king and mission? Or will he turn on the woman he loves and the family he has come to care for?… (more)

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