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by Lisa Rayne

Pub Date: Dec. 27th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1649370952
Publisher: Entangled: Amara

In this historical romance, two adventurous Scots go from enemies to lovers.

In 16th-century Stirling, Scotland, Ailsa Connery is trapped—literally. Three years ago, the Caribbean-descended free woman was separated from her beloved clan during a festival and abducted into enslavement by Scotland’s royal family of King James VI. Now, she waits hand and foot on spoiled Princess Elizabeth under the given name of Anne Blanke. Her only source of recourse and amusement is giving the teenage princess the occasional ridiculous hairstyle. Ailsa longs to return to the Connery clan—most do not share her brown skin, but the clan allowed Ailsa’s grandparents to buy their freedom and allowed Ailsa and her now-dead mother to make a home with them. Enter Duff Kallum MacNeill, an ace swordsman and the foremost warrior of his own clan. Like Ailsa, Kallum is Black and living in a community that is predominantly White, but he is a free man, and his prestigious adoptive family is loving. After the tournament, Kallum abducts Ailsa, who is attempting escape for the third time, but as she soon discovers, his intention is to set her free. Kallum’s secret identity is that of the fabled Shepherd, a one-man Underground Railroad devoted to giving enslaved people a better life. As they set out on their journey, squabbling the whole way, Kallum and Ailsa discover that they may have more in common than they initially thought…and their growing romantic chemistry begins to complicate matters. Both Kallum and Ailsa are of the titular Highlands: a beloved and diverse Gaelic-speaking region over which Scotland’s monarchy is looking to exert tighter control. Neither trusts the other at first but eventually bond over not only a shared attraction, but deeper principles of equality and freedom. The author deftly weaves tropes from historical romances of old—hero kidnapping heroine chief among them—with issues foremost in modern readers’ minds, including racism, sexism, and culture. Kallum is a strapping, handsome hero who has his own compelling emotional journey to make over the course of the novel.

A flawless combination of modern-day issues and old-school romance.