Highland Hope by Julie Johnstone
Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Of Mist and Mountains, #1
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Desperate to escape her abusive husband, Eve Sotherby steals proof of her husband’s treachery against the crown and convinces her guard to let her visit the village to speak to the seer who has arrived with the “Summer Walkers”. Once in town, she comes across a posting for a governess at Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye and when her husband’s men come looking for her, the seer helps her get away by calling her Abigail and directing her to Father Murdoch, the priest who posted the job. She embraces her new identity of Abigail and flees England, praying she never sets eyes on her husband Frederick again and that she will find peace on Skye.
Widower, Laird Royce MacLeod has his hands full with clan matters, cleaning up the mess from his sister’s many broken betrothals and twin daughters that are out of control. He took over the lairdship from his father years ago when his parents left Dunvegan to go to Court and advise the King, and it is a job that he takes very seriously, so seriously he fears that he neglected his late wife and is sure that is the reason she cheated on him and ultimately died. His pain from her betrayal and death was enough to have him swear off remarrying, a vow he has had no problem keeping until he meets Abigail. An attraction she shares, but they each have their reasons for trying to ignore it.
Abigail tries to settle into life at Dunvegan, but it is soon clear that Royce’s 11-year-old daughters Lenora and Lillith, do not want her there and start a campaign to make her leave, which causes Royce to have to intervene and bringing them into repeated contact with each other. Making them want more than either can give, but fate has a plan for these two and while the road to their HEA is filled with bumps and potholes, the final destination promises a love like no other.
This was a well-written novel with a lot going on and ties to the book: When a Laird Loves A Lady, which features Royce’s parents, Iain and Marion! As I mentioned, this book has a lot going and is filled with secrets, lies, action, mischievous (bordering on bratty) twin girls, a jealous ex-lover, spurned grooms, matchmaking siblings who are both suffering from their own broken hearts, a truly evil villain, wolf attacks, a bit of magic, very subdued love scenes (that thankfully avoiding any adultery) and more than one life or death moment before ending in a very lovely HEA. This is the first book in the series, which appears to be a spinoff of the “Highlander Vows- Entangled Hearts” series. I did enjoy the book, but I did feel like it dragged in the middle and was a bit over the top in some parts. Overall, it was an entertaining read, and would happily recommend this title.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*