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Book CoverSybil’s review of Highland Warrior (The Campbell Trilogy, Book 1) by Monica McCarty
Historical Romance released by Ballantine 27 Jan 09

Highland Warrior is the first novel in Monica McCarty’s 2nd back to back Scottish trilogy. Before I do anything I must give mad props to Monica for the amount of research she has put into her tales and to Ballantine. At a time when many publishers are cutting pages, word count, and more it is beyond delightful to see Ballantine allowing an author pages to show she did her homework and provide some background to readers who would like to know more. Hell people, there are footnotes in the author’s notes! For those of you lusting for more knowledge, you can find it on Monica’s site. The Lamont has decided it is time for his daughter to marry and the Highland gathering at Ascog would be the perfect place for her to find a husband, at least that is the hope.  Argyll’s Henchman, Jamie Campbell, figures the games are the easiest way to discover if clan Lamont is hiding the outlaw Alasdair MacGregor.  Jamie knows the last thing Lamont would want is his daughter married into a clan he has been feuding with for years.  Hopefully the unease will make finding the outlaws that much easier.

Problem is after Jamie helps Caitrina out of a tight spot, they can’t get their mind off each other.  Like many long term family feuds, it is hard for them to connect their feelings for how they are suppose to feel about ‘certain’ people or actions.  As well as each character has to learn that rumor isn’t fact and to learn not judge a book by the cover.  This is much harder to do when Jamie learns that Alasdair isn’t with the Lamont Clan and rides out, only to return to a mess of mass destruction his brother creates when it turns out that Jamie was in fact correct.

I had a tough time getting into Highland Warrior for a few reasons. First because the ‘Romeo & Juliet’ theme has never been my favorite type of plots. I know given the time period being torn between clans was not at all odd but man it generally goes on forever so knowing that going in, it was tough sitting down for, because when it works it works well and when it sucks – it is HELL ON READER EARTH. And, dude, I have books to read. The first two chapters are also clunky, so it was easy for me to put the book down, but once it hit about chapter four I was into it and I liked it (Highland Outlaw is my fave).

Monica McCarty has done her homework and her history is amazing and believable. Catrina is a fully drawn character who goes from spoiled, would-be bride to would-be savor of her clan. I would love her a hella lot if it wasn’t for the really dumbass thing she does toward the end that made me want to shake her. I did understand it but thought Jamie had earned her trust by then and it seemed really just too ‘this needs to be done for the plot’. Jamie was grand. Almost too much so.  He is a yummy highlander hero all the way around but totally understanding and wants Catrina to trust him for him.  And he is good with a sword.

I have now read all three novels (can’t do a Duckies Do Series since they aren’t all out yet) and ‘THE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING’ plays something of a part in each one of them (not so much the middle book). I think this has more to do with trust issue, which leads back to the feuding families and centuries of bad, bad blood. From what I understand Clan Campbell is often cast as the ‘bad’ guys in romance novels with the Lamont and MacGregor clan’s more in riding in the hero seat. McCarty does an excellent job of showing, war isn’t easy and it is rarely black and white.

Highland Warrior isn’t a perfect book but it is a great start to a fabulous trilogy and what she does well is wonderful.

sl_thumbnail.jpgGrade: B- 


The ruthless enforcer of Scotland’s most powerful clan, Jamie Campbell is the most feared man in the Highlands. Raw physical strength coupled with cunning political acumen make him a powerful force with whom few men will dare to reckon. Determined to see the Highlands tamed of its lawlessness and unrest, Jamie’s objectives are clear: under the guise of seeking the Chief of Lamont’s daughter’s hand in marriage, discover whether the Lamonts are harboring any outlawed MacGregors. But guise turns to desire when he meets the beautiful spitfire who rules the household with a dainty iron fist. The fierce Highlander never expects that the woman he wants above all others will test his duty and loyalty to his clan to the breaking point.

Cosseted and adored by her family, Caitrina Lamont has no intention of abandoning her beloved father and doting four older brothers for a husband-especially a Campbell. But Jamie Campbell is nothing like the parade of suitors that Caitrina’s father usually traipses across their hall. His raw masculinity threatens her in a way no man ever had before. But when Caitrina’s idyllic world is shattered, could the man she blames for her tragedy become her only hope for the future?

Read an excerpt.

Other books in the series:

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