The beginning of this story wasn’t quite what I expected. I was really expecting a kidnap from the very start that possibly lead to a love and marriage. Instead it started with a marriage, and the kidnapping doesn’t occur until about halfway through. Though it works brilliantly and beautifully. And I turned the last page of this book with a great smile on my face.
I need to start this review by admitting that I’ve never actually read Romeo and Juliet before. I have read King Lear, but not yet had the chance to read the tragic romance… so there’s probably a few things in this retelling that somebody who had actually read the original play would have picked up on that I missed. Having said that, I still managed to pick up on many of the important moments in this story, and you know… fall madly in love with it.
Alright, so I knew that the first woman that the laird meets in this was going to kind of end up being the woman of his dreams. After all, it’s a short story in a collection of Scottish Romances. Nothing else is going to happen but two people meet and fall in love in a wonderfully short period of time. That isn’t to say that the journey isn’t wonderful. And my heart did that little skip-a-beat that it does when I find an incredibly sweet and beautiful tale.
I was kind of expecting the woman in this to die and become miraculously bought back by one of the fae, or some equally mysterious being. It didn’t quite work out like that, but I enjoyed the fact. After all, instead of being rescued by a mysterious man creature, she was rescued by the man whom she had loved for a long time and known her entire life. Which I always enjoy in a story, love doesn’t always bloom in the space of a moment, but over a lifetime of knowledge.
I loved that this story was set during a war – it’s not something that I tend to read about often, but it worked incredibly beautifully. Especially considering the strength of character of Alex. Where there were so many moments for him to act less than honourably, he still managed to keep this level of honour and respect to everything. Which made this one of the sweetest stories in this collection so far – it wasn’t fuelled by lust, but an honourable kind of love.
The theme of fate and love is always something that suckers me in. The fact that these themes are based within the Scottish highlands in a time long gone… believe me, I was drawn into this story almost immediately. Especially since Isobel is obviously a woman with an amazing brain, and one who isn’t happy to just take what is convenient, but rather what is going to give her her happily ever after.
This was so incredibly sweet a story. Not only is it a nice historical romance set in England in the 1820’s, it also features a man who will do anything for his woman. And a woman who, though she loves dearly, will do anything to protect her son. The amount of passion and love in just a few short pages was just darling, and the fact that it was set against a romanticised English backdrop somehow just made it all the more fluid and beautiful.
This is the very first book in a new collection of stories that I’ve found on my shelf – The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance. And it is a fantastic way to start it off. I haven’t read much Scottish-themed anything, but this straight away threw me into the subgenre and made me hungry for more. Between the roughness of the highlanders, the cultural and social aspects entrenched in the story, and the glorious setting, Highland Heart is a great way to start and pull you straight into the novel.