By now you shouldn’t be at all surprised when I pop up with a new romance review, especially if it has Scotsmen in it! Highland Crown is an action-packed Scotland-set historical romance which manages to pack quite some characterisation in between all the peril…
Book: Highland Crown by May McGoldrick
Read before: No
Ownership: E-ARC provided by publisher free of charge for blog tour. All opinions my own.
Highland Crown is a lot more historical-contexty and political than much of the historical romance I read, which was cool – it’s deeply seated in its particular period and the particular tensions between Scotland and England at that time. Isabella, our heroine, was part of Sir Walter Scott’s set (and the chapters all begin with quotes from Scott), but is fleeing for her life after her husband was killed in the Peterloo massacre. Labelled a radical, she is hiding out in Scotland when she comes across a wounded man in a shipwreck – and as a doctor, she feels she has to save him. This may turn out to be the best decision of her life, because this man turns out to be Cinead Mackintosh, arms-smuggler, fellow radical, and all around hunk…
Isabella, while an obvious wish-fulfilment character in her strength, education and sass, is a joy to read, and the sparks that fly between her and Cinead are very fun. He’s a thoughtful and emotional hero, for all his derring-do and brawn, and I liked him a lot. Between the two of them, it’s clear that there’s an overload of work ethic and strength in this relationship, but there’s also a lot of openness – Isabella’s been married before, and of course there’s a lot of backstory to unfold for both of them. I liked how clear both parties were about their emotions and their plans – there’s no misunderstanding for the sake of misunderstanding.
One small note (and I don’t know if this is an ARC formatting issue or not) – the perspective often switches in the middle of the page, where I would expect a starred break or other signal that we were going to cut to something else. It made some passages, especially when the hero and heroine were apart, a little tricky to read, but I think that this is probably something that will be fixed in the final copy. Having different sections from the two viewpoints is pretty usual for historical romance, and they weren’t muddled in with each other, so it seemed more like the page break had been lost than anything else.
Overall, this is an enjoyable romance with a bit more meat on its bones than some! It sits about halfway between straight fluffy romance and something more historical like Outlander, so I think it should gain a lot of fans. Four out of five Scottish wildcats!