The Heart of the Highlander by Julie Johnstone

The Heart of a HighlanderThe Heart of a Highlander by Julie Johnstone
Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Entangled Hearts #10

Release Date: November 22, 2019

When Ada MacQuerrie’s mother was killed saving a fae from being harmed, the fae sisters, Hortense and Portense give the infant Ada a “gift”, the ability to make a man a king. Her father is upset, such a gift will put her in danger, so the fae add the condition that it won’t work until she is wed and she must wed willingly, this is still not right, but they are out of fairy dust and promise to return to fix it.

Years later, Ada’s father is dead and her step-brother, Brothwell wants Ada to wed a man who will help him put his father, Robert Stewart, the High Steward of Scotland, on the throne and displacing King David. He plans a tournament and tells Ada that she will choose between the two men left standing at the end. And after an escape plan fail, he tells her he will kill her companion Esther and a foundling named Maximilian who she cares deeply for. He locks them up and won’t let them go until she is wed.

William MacLean is summoned to his home by King David, William’s father and brother were both traitors to the king and William has fought for King David to make up for their betrayal. He meets with the king and learns the truth – his father and brother are not traitors, they were both working for the king, his father was killed in battle and his brother was sent on a mission to spy on Brothwell and the king hasn’t heard from him and isn’t sure if he is even alive. The king has learned of Brothwell’s tournament and wants William to win and wed Ada. William doesn’t really believe in the gift, but the king does, when he tells the king he had never planned to marry, the king says once he is wed and Ada has helped him secure his throne, he will give William lands that he can leave her at while he continues to work for the king. William refuses to open his heart to anyone, he has been hurt by his mother and father and won’t willingly open himself up for more hurt. He accepts the mission and knows he is in trouble when he meets Ada and is immediately attracted, it is unlike anything he has ever felt before, but he is sure he can control it.

Ada is also attracted to William, but he confuses her, he seems loyal to Brothwell, but he is also kind and seems to be interested in her for herself, not her gift. That is Ada’s secret desire, to be wanted and loved for herself and not for her gift. She thinks that William can be that man and when the opportunity arises, she chooses him. She is sure she has made the right choice and believes that he supports the king rather than the Steward, and when they make love, she is positive that William cares for her and not just her gift. But afterwards, he is cold and shuts himself off from her. She is hurt and before she can tell him her gift seems to be working, Brothwell comes making demands, she knows that William will be killed if they stay, so she tells Brothwell that William is loyal to the king and tricked them. William is locked up and Ada makes a show of being loyal to Brothwell. But it is all a ruse and she manages to free not only William, but his friend Thomas and her friends Esther and Maximilian. But she has another vision and takes off on her own to save them, Esther then tells William the “conditions” of her gift – that sacrifices have to be made and love has to be true.

William will not give his heart to her, nor will he accept hers, but he does care for her and sets out to rescue her from other suitor who has taken her for his own gain. But without opening his heart, can he save her, his brother and the king?

I thought this was an interesting and unique storyline with likeable characters, a little bit of steam, a dash of adventure and a sweet epilogue, but William’s refusal to open his heart or admit his deeper feelings for Ada did become repetitious and dragged on a bit too long for my liking. Overall this was a good read and I would recommend it, it is the 10th book in the series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me.*

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Avid reader (and reviewer) of historical romance.

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