Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: The King’s Outlaws, #1
Release Date: August 11, 2020
James Douglas, son of the Lord of Douglas meets Robert the Bruce on his way to Scone to be crowned. He pledges his fealty and hopes to right the wrongs against his father and retake his lands from the English. After he is crowned, the Bruce knights James, who saves his life and earns the Bruce’s trust.
Lady Ailish Maxwell is the daughter of the murdered Earl of Caerlaverock and sister to the true earl – her uncle Herbert sided with the English and claimed the earldom, Ailish and her younger siblings, Florrie and Harris have been in hiding for the last 6 years, but she has come to swear fealty on Harris’ behalf, as the boy is only nine. The Bruce acknowledges Harris’ claim to the earldom and promises Ailish that he will see her brother reinstated. He is concerned for her safety and tells her he will provide an escort back to the nunnery for her and her maid.
James is tasked with raising an army for the Bruce, but on the way to the border, the Bruce asks him to escort Ailish back. Ailish is stunned by James, he literally takes her breath away, and James is just as affected. But sadly, they live in a time of war and uncertainty, with no time for romance. After an eventful return trip including a passionate kiss, Ailish is sad to see him leave, knowing their paths may never cross again. James too wishes things could be different, but his pledge to the Bruce and Scotland must come first.
Weeks later, Ailish’s uncle abducts Harris and Ailish seeks out James for help. James has been busy, he has razed his father’s keep, killed the English lord who was residing there and raised an army to fight for the Bruce, he has also cultivated a reputation and the English are calling him the Black Douglas. He is shocked to see Ailish again, but immediately offers to help her find Harris. And what an adventure it is!!!
I wasn’t sure I was going to like this story; I am always a little skeptical about fictional books that feature true historical characters as leads, but Ms. Jarecki nailed this story. She was able to seamlessly blend fact with fiction to create a riveting story, filled with adventure, betrayal, abductions, action, passion, heartache, defeat and finally a very sweet HEA. This is the first book in a new series and now I am looking forward to reading more installments. I really enjoyed this book and I am happy to recommend it.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me*