Book: Highland Chieftain by Hannah Howell
Reviewed by: Barb Batlan Massabrook of (Tartan Book Reviews) and (Celtic Barb’s Kilted Tartan Book Review Blog)
Release Date: 9/27/2016
Heat Rating: So hot it sizzles off the pages!
Overall Rating: 4 ½ Stars
Another “Hannah Howell” winner that reader fans and followers will be will be absolutely mesmerized! I was was so excited to find out some of my favorite characters from book 2003 book “Highland Angel” are in it too! For example -”Sir Payton Murray” and “Kirstie MacLye”. who make a few appearances in this book...yay! Payton is one of my all-time favorite characters that Ms Howell has written about! Highland Angel which was and is book seven in “The Murrays” bestselling series. This current release “Highland Chieftain” is book 21 of the same series, which can be read either as stand alone book, or Highland Angel and Highland Chieftain can be read a duet. If this is a new author for readers or reading out of book series order. I being a loyal follower of Ms. Howell for over twenty five years, again was totally captivated. Another heartstring puller so have some tissues handy, but also heartwarming and humorous moments as well. A delightful read from start to finish. Overall an enjoyable and satisfying read, in other words a delightful read from start to finish!
This novel’s heroine is Bethoc Matheson a young woman who recently lost a mother due to complications during childbirth. Her mother who had lived in a fantasy world with a heart broken from a past love. Which often resulted in Bethoc caring for herself and her foster brothers and being ignored and basically raising herself. She knows she could leave but knows she must protect her brothers and sister no matter the cost. Plus her step father Keir was extremely brutal and abusive since her mother's death. Oh he still gave them his occasional beating she and her mother mostly but since her mother's passing it seemed regular and more brutal and frequent. In addition plus he was drinking excessively all the time. The one promise her mother asked of Bethoc was never to allow her now two year old sister out of her site. So now Bethoc always her wee sister Margaret strapped to her back. She also protected her six younger brothers from ages six to sixteen the thing was she could not remember her mother carrying any of them beside the four she lost. Bethoc was wondering why it took until now question where her brothers came from was her memory just faulty or had they been stolen
The hero of the story is Sir Callum MacMillan, Laird of Whytemont. Callum who washes up ashore, nearly was murdered and drowned, except an angel named Bethoc Matheson and her wee sister Margaret had healed him. He was in bad shape with a broken leg, lacerations plus other wounds and abrasions. the leg was the worst of his injuries. Bethoc goes to the business of setting his leg even though not a healer, but did the best to her ability and bring him to her secret hiding place. Bethoc innocent of the world as she has never been anywhere. She has a special gift where she can smell people's scents like their auros whether they are good or evil. Though she has never been trained in her gift, but somehow she senses he is good man and very Bonnie as well.
Bethoc soon realizes these bad men were trying to kidnap the five year old boy her step father Keir recently brought home. She starts asking her brother's questions she never thought to ask before. Bethoc has much guilt over it, as they were all stolen to help in the fields. Keirs comment about her mother only birthing lassies makes her starts to question. As the four deceased babies her mother did bare. Plus she does not remember her mother miscarrying.The guilt surrounds her, though her brothers seem okay with it as most were orphaned or living on the street. To them it was better than starving, plus her brothers truly did seem to enjoy working,cultivating and watch things grow. Well until they discover some untruths and one of her brothers is beaten badly and Bethoc herself is beaten for not answering questions about a man. Keir is suspicious, drunk and seems to have problems of his own that could put all of their lives in jeopardy!
As for Bethoc and Callum their attraction seem to grow instantly! She was surprised that they have both grown up with abusive, unhappy childhoods. Although she knows she is way beneath him. As he is a Laird and expects him to leave her as soon as he is healed. Yet the bad men are still looking for the boy Callum feels responsible for. The boy is best at Bethocs home as her father recently addicted him. Callum is aware and knows protective Bethoc will keep the lad safe until he is healed. At the moment Callum is useless with a broken leg and hopes his men will find him soon and they can retrieve the lad.
Bethoc stays to protect her brothers, even when she finds out who her true father is. She knows what a different life she can have, she won't abandon the boys as they are her family to her.
Then thing just turn worst! Bethoc is framed for a murder she didn't commit! The bad men are still out looking for the young lad and to finish the job and murder Callum!
It seems the people in authoritative positions running her village, are falsely accusing female relations and or wives of horrible misdeeds! These are women who are wrongfully being accused, which can turn deadly! As these female relative heirs and or wives are innocent! They are legally entitled and left by the deceased original property owners! Who is the mastermind giving orders of this evil scheme? Whose pockets are they filling? The kind elder Laird or someone else?
The definite scene stealer who knows how to get a kiss from pretty mon, is two year old Margaret. A female with a limited vocabulary that knows how to get what she wants,
This books is plot within plot and so much more filled with in this riveting emotional adventure and so much more. It is layered with mystery, suspense, murder, mayhem, treachery, brutality, lies, betrayal, heartbreak, abduction, and intrigue. In addition is is filled friendship, healing , loyalty, title difference, family, trust, hope, healing and love!
A book I couldn't put down! All Murray series worshippers and Scottish romance readers do not want to miss. For me this read was a bit of heaven on Earth! Well done Hannah Howell as you penned your 21st Murray book! It is an exquisite read I plan on revisiting. So off to my keeper bookshelf!
This book was absolutely phenomenal and so much more! I definitely recommend Highland Chief by Hannah Howell.
I was give this eARC from the Kensington Publishers in exchange for an honest review through netgalley.
This review are my own words and thoughts with no other outside influences.