Highland Chieftain by Hannah Howell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have eight paperbacks in this series adorning one of my bookshelves so I'm obviously way behind series wise, luckily this book can be read as a stand alone.
I've been a fan of the author for years, I love how the stories wrap the Highland culture around you like a warm blanket, sucking you in and not letting you go until the last page.
Highland Chieftain is as expected, action and suspense filled.
Sir Callum MacMillan is left for dead when Bethoc and little Margaret Matheson come upon him. Being the mother figure she is, never one to leave someone in need she tends his wounds and hides him from those who tried to kill him.
While she may seem like a do gooder, it's learned behavior. She's grown up in an abusive home where women hold no purpose other than to cook and rear children. Oh and to be beaten whenever the mood strikes. Her mother passed away giving birth to Margaret but begged Bethoc to never leave the childs side, and it's with good reason though she doesn't know it at the time.
She cares for the baby as well as her "brothers". Boys brought home by her so called father to work the fields. They also feel the wrath of his drunken hands.
Thing is she's not actually his daughter, she doesn't know her father just the way the her mother came to be pregnant and how her family pawned her off on the horrible man who's raised her in order to hide the embarrassment of a pregnancy out of wedlock.
Callum is a collector. He takes in orphans and cannot stand to see a woman or child hurt. He's got a past that drives him, makes him sympathetic to those who've been abused and discarded. And while his secrets make him compassionate to the victims it also makes him oblivious to some things.
While a good man, he's completely blind to his feelings.
Circumstances land Callum and Bethoc working together to right the wrongs done upon her and others in her community. During this time she becomes his lover, he cares for her, takes her to his home and installs her in his room. This is when she realizes what that makes her look like to others. She's not happy with being known as his mistress or his lover but she still wants to be with him so basically accepts whatever he has to offer.
But can that be enough?
Callum introduced her to her father, she has options now so it's time to make a decision. Can she be happy at Callum's side or will she take her siblings and move on?
It's been so long since I sat and read a Hannah Howell novel, I was reminded why I fell in love with her writing years ago. Highland Chieftain took me back to the Murray's and it was like I never missed a thing. I'll have to catch up and acquire the rest of this series for my bookshelves.
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