The Striker ( a Highland Guard Novel) by Monica McCarty
Reviewed by Barb Batlan-Massabrook
Note: This book will be released 11/24/2015 this Tuesday and I can't recommend it enough worth every penny! 😀
Bazillion stars is my rating😀
Oh my this book gave me chills and simply just took my breath away. Honestly 5 stars the maximum reviewers are allowed to give does not seem enough in my opinion bazillion stars sounds about right. It was absolutely magnificent, brilliant spectacular! I really don't think there are words in the English dictionary to praise it enough. If this were a painting I would call it a masterpiece! Not surprising I was absolutely blown away since Monica McCarty wrote this awe-inspiring, superbly written novel who is definitely one of my favorite authors on the planet! I being a huge fan of Scottish history, partially due to my Scottish ancestry, am a huge fan of the Scottish historical romance genre. I am a tremendous fan of true Scottish history weaved in a fictional romance, there is no combination I love better! This is the tenth book in "A Highland Guard Novel" series and I have loved them all, but I now think The Striker is my favorite, of course I say that with every book she releases. Fans will be extremely delighted with this truly brilliant novel, on that I have no doubt!
The Striker timeline is a wee bit tricky as the book opens in 1313 on the time after William Wallace's execution and before Robert Bruce's makes his bid for the crown , but then quickly goes back to 1305 when hero of the story "Striker"'Eoin MacLean first meets Margaret "Maggie" MacDowell whose father was the leader and Chief of Clan MacDowell, the Southwest province of Galloway. In 1313, MacDowell, becomes a hunted man and as they were responsible for some of Bruce's biggest defeats and family members deaths, plus over seven hundred deaths of Bruce's men! Bruce now needs his elite Highland Guard force to finally capture this enemy and traitor ! Yet it is also personal for both men. Striker with a wife who betrayed him in more ways then one! She is about to marry another, has a son he never knew about.of course Maggie is under the impression he has been dead for the past six years. So you might say Maggie is more then a little shocked to see her dead husband comes back from the grave! Vengeance and visiting past ghost is never an easy thing.
Stirling Castle 1305
Eoin MacLean ( Striker) meets Margret (Maggie) MacDowell and not in the best way as she ruined a chess as she has moved all day he pieces on the shape of a heart! not realizing she just destroyed an ongoing marathon match that had been going on for two days! Bruce calm him as Eoin is one of those serious lads and is thrilled to be asked to be considered as one of his secret elite force. As he get to know Maggie she interest him as no woman ever did before even though his family is trying to set up w betrothal with a Nobel, biddable and proper lady he can't seem to control his attraction. Maggie is a force to be reckoned with as she is wild, free, with her uncovered hair, unadorned gown, uncovered beautiful but untamed hair and casual carefree attitude. He could help but fall in love and secretly marry her after a night of passion that took his breath of away!
1307 Galloway Castle
Of course thing do not go easy for Maggie and he is not allowed to tell his a Highland Guard under any circumstances as since her father is the enemy is not to be trusted, his cousin Robert the Bruce forces this vow from Striker. This is partly what crumbles their marriage as being away months at a time and not giving his wife any details. Plus the fact having no friends or family that like her! Striker's family treats her like the devil reincarnated as does the rest of his clan. Things just get so bad she runs away back to her family where she has friends and people who love and care about her. Then when Striker secretly goes to retrieve her after some passionate love making she tried to get him to share his secret life,but he still refuses! Trying to have her understand it is not just his secret. Maggie had enough and tells him never to return she can't live like this anymore! He makes her promise to never tell anyone he was here under any circumstances, Maggie agrees and is heartbroken!When her best friend Brigid upset due to her state of misery, open laces dress, having just made love in the barn with her husband. Her friend thinks she was raped and threatens to tell her father if Maggie doesn't explain. Unfortunately she tells Brigid thinking she will keep her secret, but She tells Maggie's brother who tells her father. This is why over seven hundred Bruce men are killed so she thinks filled with guilt and heartbreak and is told Eoin was also killed and body seen burned with the other dead corpses.
Durham England, 1313
Maggie lives in darkness and guilt for a long time if she hadn't found out she was pregnant she would of taken her own life but her little boy who looks exactly as his sire is now her first priority. Their son is the light in her guilt ridden life and thought she was finally happy finding a man who made her laugh again until she sees's her dead husband again, Maggie's feelings are confused as much as she thrilled he is alive she is furious he never let her know this little bit of information! Now all the love has turned to hate as far as Striker is concerned! Although surprising after things settled down Bruce defended Maggie stating it was not all his wife's and his fault. Bruce never let all the fault go on Maggie! Bruce explains, her father had been ready, prepared and waiting for quite some time for the invasion. In the beginning Bruce was furious at Striker and punished him for that enormous and tragic mistake not that Eoin didn't feel he didn't deserve that and more. Striker now wants a divorce and be done with that treacherous bitch he married, but after he sees Maggie and learns he has a son he slowly learns things are not that clear and black and white as Striker first thought. These six years have built a huge wall for Eoin, but Maggie who is honest enough to realize he must hate her and she lives with the guilt everyday for trusting her best friend. Right now her only concern is her son ,who her father has taken in his escape and rebellion. Maggie has changed too although she knows she will love Eoin until her last dying breath, but knows with secrets they don't have a chance, plus the fact that he despises her or does he?
"The Striker" is am exceptional novel that will capture your attention right the start through the epilogue. Ms. McCarty definitely knows how to get your attention capture both your heart and soul in this mind blowing read! I found myself both laughing, crying and grinning throughout this read. Plus fans of the series will be happy to see a lot of heroes her previous books so for me it was like a family reunion ,but if you are a new reader to her work you can read this as a stand alone book too. I highly recommend to read the entire series as I have loved each and every book in (A Highland Guard Novel) series unequivocally absolutely magnificent and delightful reads each and every one! I look forward to "The Rock", which will be released in only a month in December and then in the spring of 2016 "The Ghost". Sadly, it will be the end of this outstanding series. Ms. McCarty's books are more then just another historical romance, you actually learn a lot of true factual history especially Scottish history which I am very obsessed with and find fascinating. My only issue is I wish they would never end,,,,lol
I can't recommend "The Striker" A Highland Guard Novel enough! This riveting charming , captivating, fast paced, emotional, action packed book filled with mayhem, adventure, history, mystery, suspense, politics, secrets, betrayal, murder, hate, jealousy and all consuming-all soul touching love and more. Lots of bumps, twists and turns in this one! So hold onto your seat as you will be loving this amazing exhilarating ride!
The Queen of Scottish historical romance does it again! Monica McCarty pens another awe-inspiring tale with a beautiful historical Scottish setting and backdrop, handsome Scottish eye candy, and a story that will melt your heart and soften your soul ! Just be prepared to fall in love! It is a book you don't want to miss nor will you forget. One of those rare books that always stays with you! I love, love, loved it, just to be clear! ❤️
**** I was honored to be given this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review throug netgalley.com for an honest review that I give with pleasure****