Tracy’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars
Release Date: December 27, 2022
Ailsa Connery was born and raised in the Highlands, the daughter of a freewoman of African descent and a Scottish warrior. Prior to her death, her mother was a healer, a role that Ailsa had been trained to take over. But three years ago, while at a gathering she was mistaken by a guard for a slave purchased for the King, and ignoring her protests, she was pressed into service as a maid to Princess Elizabeth. And despite previous failed attempts to escape, Ailsa is sure her new plan is foolproof. Or it was until an interfering highlander decided to “rescue” her.
Kallum MacNeill is also of African descent and was raised as the son of the Laird’s brother but is known to many as the infamous Highland warrior known as Auld Dubh Mahoun, the Black Devil. But unbeknownst to most, this fearsome warrior is also known by another moniker, The Shepherd, who for the last five years, has been secretly liberating enslaved people across Scotland and helping them escape to England. Which is exactly what he thinks he is doing for the woman who saved his life, but it won’t be long before the lovely and feisty lass sets him straight and demands to be returned to her clan!
This was a fascinating story, featuring a slow-burn romance between two amazing, unforgettable characters as they fall in love and overcome many obstacles on the journey to find their HEA. I thought the writing was good, although a little wordy, but not bad for a debut novel, the real issue was the pacing, the book was a slow read, until the halfway mark, where it leveled out until the rush to the ending. In addition to that, I was concerned about the inaccurate historical facts until I read the Author’s notes where she explains that this book is a work of fiction and that she did manipulate some historical facts to work with her story, stressing that this book was for the purpose of entertainment. I also appreciated her book suggestions to further educate readers on the issue of slavery in this era. Overall, this was a Highland adventure unlike any that you have ever read, touching on some sensitive issues as well as incorporating the problems that all people have when falling in love, with an added touch of danger and a dash of steam.
*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.*