Bound to the Highlander (The Highland Chief Series: Book One). Kate Robbins. Tirgearr Publishing. October 2013. 254 pp., 422 KB. ASIN No.: B00FQQC13C.
Aileanna Chattan watches as her Uncle and guardian’s body draped over a horse rides into the courtyard of her home. Once the initial shock and grief sets in, she’s stunned to discovery has betrothed her in secret to Jamie MacIntosh, the chief of Clan MacIntosh. Aileanna’s family follow the old ways, although they are Christian, and a bond with the MacIntosh family means they would be united with King James Stuart, a progressive reformer who is not popular with many in Scotland. Aileanna had thought she was to be betrothed to someone else, Gawain. Something is odd about this relationship, however; Gawain has never really been kind but only sarcastic and harsh to her. Yet she thinks once they are betrothed, a kinder side will appear. What happens instead is just the opposite; he believes Aileanna knew about the future union with the MacIntosh clan and is now furious about it. In fact, he has a secret in his own past that explains the perversely cruel streak in his personality that enjoys seeing others suffer.
Add to that the fact that Jamie thinks Aileanna has been lusting after another man and one gets the whole distorted picture fused with the obvious sparks flying between Jamie and Aileanna. Jamie is in denial about wanting her yet he needs the King to break off their betrothal for unspoken reasons. However, their thoughts about each other are broken off at a point where both are kidnapped, a mystery that quickly unravels to the astonishment of all but which confuses matters somewhat.
Aileanna loves the tales of brave Scots who protected their families from ancient Norse attacks; she has yet to realize there are brave Scotsmen who would do nothing less. They are truly motivated by love of country although there are often wars between the clans over the best ways and means to insure that protection and quality of life for their people. This involves problems with the Mackay Clan and it seems that only King James holds the key to solving all of these problems. Add to that the King needs to learn that all Scottish Highlanders are not to be mistrusted and not all Lowlanders are to be trusted.
This is no stereotypical romance but a hot, hot, hot romance mixed in with fascinating Scottish history. The story is obviously well-researched and no one character remains simply characterized; add to that some interesting facts beyond the history books that explains much about the love-hate relationship between the clansmen and their King. This is a fine debut romance and historical fiction novel that makes this reader look forward to more installments of the Highlander Chief series. Well done, indeed, Kate Robbins!