Harlequin, Aug 2004, 6.50, 384 pp.
In 1235, Lord Nicholas takes his sister Marianne from the Normandy monastery where she lived for the last twelve years back to Scotland but not out of brotherly love. Instead, he wants to stop paying the monastery for her upkeep and marry her off to an old but wealthy and regally connected Hamish MacGlogan. This is over Marianne's objections. Because she expected to one day wed a Norman not a barbaric Scot.
Seamus MacTaron and his clan arrive to warn Nicholas about raiding their cattle. Nicholas denies that his men did such a deed, but Seamus' hot tempered son Adair, who detests the Normans, tells him they will watch and kill anyone who tries. Marianne plays the perfect hostess by inviting the MacTaron kin to stay overnight and angering her brother by doing so. Adair and Marianne are attracted to one another, but both reject the other because of their nationality. Still, they begin to realize that a relationship between them would be better for his people and for her than one with that ancient relic that her sibling wants to foster on her. Will betrayal prove to Adair and Marianne that love has blossomed between them?
This is an engaging medieval romance starring two individuals who have no reason to trust the other although they love one another. The thrilling story line animates the audience from the moment the MacTaron clan enter Nicholas' keep until the betrayers are confronted. Though the theme of star-crossed lovers deceived by "loyalists" who make it look as if a loved one did the deed has occurred too often, Margaret Moore magnificently brighten the tale with a picturesque look into twelfth century Scotland.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner