The MacLeods are a strong clan, united with their fellow Scots to resist English rule. But when their leader, the Black Wolf, is struck down in battle, it is up to his daughter to keep the rebellion alive. Megan knows she must act quickly or risk losing the fight for their ancestral lands. Desperate, she secretly assumes the Black Wolf's mantle, fooling their enemies into thinking he's still alive. If she can keep going for a bit longer, the clan's future will be secure
Rolf St. James has been sent by the king to settle the Scottish lands once and for all. He's not about to let a woman get in his way, no matter how desirable he finds her. He must put aside his attraction and fulfill his duty to permanently quell the rebellion, regardless of the cost.
Rolf represents everything her father hated, everything she's been fighting against. But as the days pass and Rolf's code of honor reveals itself, Megan finds it's not so easy to hate him anymore. Can she risk her people's future for a chance at personal happiness?
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Glen Grudie Scottish Highlands
Megan MacLeod hurried across the snow-covered ground, her long skirts swirling around her boot-clad legs. The wind howled through the pine trees, snatching the breath from her lungs and causing the wool plaid of green, blue and yellow to stream out behind her. As she reached the bank of the frozen loch, she paused, drawing the plaid across her face and trying to shield her skin from the bitter cold.
Bracing her lambskin boot against a large boulder, she listened to the sounds of the wintry glen, the fierce whistle of the wind and the groan of the barren branches heavily laden with ice and snow. It had begun snowing in earnest. Oversized flakes chased each other through the air before settling on the ground, creating a thick white carpet. She could not see the water for it was hidden beneath the snow and frozen beneath an inch of ice. It was the contrast of seasons. In the summer hundreds of animals flocked to this spot to partake of the loch's sparkling clean water. But now in the dead of winter, the river was still and game was scarce.
Today, however, she had not come to the loch's edge seeking food. Instead, she had hoped to hear the crunch of hooves on the cold earth and the unmistakable murmur of men's voices as they returned to the camp. To her dismay, nothing other than the rush of the bitter wind disturbed the regal silence of the forest.
She glanced up at the sky, trying to determine the time. Although she suspected it was just past midday, the horizon was gray and full of clouds. A bad omen. It meant that the storm would continue and perhaps grow worse. Usually the weather didn't bother her, not even the damp, chilling cold that was typical of Highland winters. She was accustomed to it, having lived all of her twenty years in the rugged splendor of the glen she called home. Yet for more than a week the weather had been unusually frigid. This day seemed the worst yet. Deep-seated cold permeated the air and the wind grew stronger. Megan knew full well that poor weather could interfere with, even hinder, the men's raid. They had been due back hours ago.
In frustration, Megan clenched her plaid together, the heavy wool bunching beneath her icy fingers. The raids against the English had become more than just an act of defiance. They were necessary to feed the many hungry mouths of clansmen and their families. Stripped of their rightful heritage, they had been forced to live in the hills like animals, stealing, harassing and resisting the English with whatever methods they could employ. It was not a life Megan had envisioned for herself or her family, but it had not been a path willfully chosen.
Narrowing her eyes against the wind, Megan pictured Castle Kilcraig, the proud ancestral home of the MacLeods of Gairloch. The enormous walls and the jutting twin towers had always been a place of security and pride for generations of MacLeods. But all of that had changed with the Jacobite Uprising and Scotland's crushing defeat in the fields of Culloden six years earlier. Despite the fact that her father had never openly supported the young Stuart prince's claim to the throne, the English had invaded their home anyway, ordering Robert MacLeod to sign an oath of fealty to the English King. When Robert refused, the English had cast him and his family from the land that had belonged to them for centuries.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Thorn & the Thistle is a historical romance that really wraps one up in the plot. Julie Moffett knows how to rouse readers with a strong, stubborn heroine and keep them entertained with drama, action, and passion. I've always been a fan of historical fiction novels that take me back hundreds of years to Scotland or England, but this is my first time reading a story that sort of gives me both in one. Megan lives in a time where the Scots resist English rule and war could very well be on the rise between the two countries. And while the majority of the novel is set in Scotland, following as Megan takes the lead in the rebellion after her father's demise, one can't overlook the moments where the curtain is opened to the background of Englishman Rolf St. James. Rolf is commission by the king to bring peace to lands in Scotland, but it's hard going with the legendary Black Wolf causing problems. When he captures Megan believing she could be a bargaining chip against the Black Wolf, the plot thickens with Moffett's promising characterization and heart-racing storytelling. There were times when I wasn't all that crazy about Megan, but she proved time and time again that she was no weak character. Stubborn characters have the tendency to come across as being horribly over-the-top or spiteful, but Moffett balances Megan's stubborn streak with her fierce loyalty and ability to think and understand. Her ability to love, even if that love is for someone she's been raised to hate, is what's most admirable, though. Rolf was a mysterious character that turned out to be everything one would love to see in a romantic interest: an honorable gentleman. Though the romance was a little slow, or more so interrupted by the drama between the Scots and English, Moffett deserves an A+ for the passion readers will see ignite. The historical element is strong, but Moffett delivers on entertainment so that the story remains engaging and unpredictable. I recommend The Thorn & the Thistle to romance readers of all kinds! *eGalley provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* Also posted on Lovey Dovey Books