Series: Prince Charlie’s Angels
Publication Date: 12/29/20
Number of Pages: 384
We are all aware of the atrocities committed against Scotland by the English. Even though some Scots were in support of the English crown, every Scot was treated as less than human. It was a grim, gruesome, terrible, stressful time for Scotland, and the Scottish population was decimated. Life expectancy was very short and losing friends and family members to a violent death were the norm rather than the exception. Women or children – it didn’t matter – everyone was maimed, murdered, executed, tortured, imprisoned. That grim time is the setting for this series. It isn’t just an ‘in the background’ thing. The strife – particularly Culloden – is heavily featured in the series. In this book, the battle at Culloden is front and center – as a matter of fact, it takes up about the first 60-70% of the story. The author’s research into the subject is thorough and deep and she shares a lot of that in the first half of the book. This is not a lighthearted romance, it is very dark and tense, but it is an EXCELLENT story.
We met Annie MacPherson along with her close friends, Jenny and Fiona in the first book of the series, The Rebel Wears Plaid. The three friends are devoted to Prince Charles and have vowed to do all within their power in support of him gaining the throne. Each of them has a particular skill to lend to the cause – Jenny is an extraordinary warrior, Annie is a superb healer, and Fiona is a messenger who has the stealth of a ghost.
Annie travels with the Prince’s troops from battle to battle and acts as Prince Charles’s nurse and healer for all of the wounded. Without her extraordinary gifts, they would have lost many more men than they have so far. Even her younger brother, Logan, was wounded and lost his foot – but he survived – and that was what was important. Everyone knows of Dr. Annie and everyone loves and respects her.
Lieutenant Craig MacLean is a member of Prince Charles’s army and is a staunch supporter of Charles and the Jacobite movement. He learned his fighting skills from his father who threw him into untenable situations from a very young age and Craig had to fight to save himself. Craig is a skilled warrior, a hero, and a consummate leader. He is also best friends with Graham MacPherson, Laird of the MacPherson clan, and Annie’s brother.
Craig and Annie had a bit of animosity between them at first and neither was sure why. That quickly became an attraction that both of them denied – until they couldn’t deny it any longer. Things really blossomed after Culloden where Craig was gravely injured and Annie dragged him and several others from the battlefield and nursed them back to health.
Times were tense because the Redcoats were hunting all of the survivors and putting them to death immediately. They were burning the cottages, destroying the contents, stealing the livestock, etc. of anyone they came across whether they were aiding the battle survivors or not. Craig and Annie knew the Redcoats were after them and that they had to leave the small cottage in which they were hiding. They also finally both realized their feelings for each other and acknowledged those feelings to themselves.
Annie is one of the strongest and bravest heroines I’ve ever read. She’s smart, determined, cunning, and so very, very brave. I absolutely loved her character. Craig is one of the most honorable and brave heroes I’ve read. I loved both of the characters very, very much and it really saddened me to feel that their romance was sort of lost in the background of the battle story. I had expected it to be the other way around – with the battle and strife in the background and the romance front-and-center, but, to me, that wasn’t the case. I would have much preferred a lot less of a history lesson and a lot more of the romance. Were I to be categorizing this book, I would categorize it as Historical Fiction rather than Historical Romance.
I also have to take a bit of an issue with the book’s title. I know most people love it, but, again, to me, it seems inappropriate. The title makes me think of lighthearted romps through the heather and thistle, and there was absolutely nothing happy or lighthearted about this story. I also mourned the death of a favorite character that I had hoped would be featured in his own book. That came out of left-field and I put the book down for a bit before continuing with the story. Yes, given the times it was expected, but I didn’t want to see it. Announcing the deaths of people I hadn’t met and liked is fine, but don’t let me become attached to a character and then kill them off.
This was an excellently written book. It was well-researched and the characters were compelling. I’m so glad I got to meet Craig and Annie and will be looking forward to seeing what has happened to them when the next book is released. I will tell you, quite honestly, I would not purchase or recommend this as something for my really soft-hearted friend to read, but I would recommend it for other friends.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.