Monday, February 6, 2012
Kathleen Morgan is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and Child of the Mist certainly doesn't disappoint.
Set in the 16th century Scotland Highlands, the story opens with a grim scene. That of Naill Campbell watching helplessly as his beloved wife and child die in childbirth. We later learn that it had been their fourth stillborn child.
Then the tale jumps a year to the life of beautiful MacGregor clan heir Anne MacGregor who is known throughout her lands as a healer - though some call her a witch because of her Old Ways of healing.
One evening she is sent to the home of a peasant couple having their first child. While she is attending to the laboring mother, cattle thieves raid the town - men from the hated Campbell clan. When one sees her breath life in to the still young babe, he calls her a witch and wants to kill her. She stands her ground and is then released by a kind - yet still hated - Campbell warrior.
Soon the same Campbell man who saved her life - who also happens to be the Campbell clan heir - is captured by the MacGregors. Anne tells her father that the man saved her life and she was honor bound to save his in return. So instead of killing the man, the MacGregor chieftain gives him his daughter - Anne - in an effort to end their decades-long feuding.
Anne and the Campbell heir, who of course of Naill from the first scene, are handfasted. Meaning they are like-married for a year and a day. After that time they may either have a real marriage or they may go their separate ways. Anne doesn't want to be married - let alone to a thieving, murdering man like Naill Campbell (who is called the Wolf). And Naill had only lost his beloved wife a year before and is not ready to commit to another, let alone love her, at all.
Naill and Anne set forth for Campbell land where they face many challenges. One being Naill's handsome cousin Iain, who fancies himself in love with Anne and thinks his cousin is a rake and will treat her poorly. The second - and biggest problem - is that someone on the inside of the Campbell clan has betrayed Naill and wants to see him dead.
Who is the traitor? Naill suspects many. His cousin Iain tops his list because of his affections for his psuedo-bride and Naill is jealous. But his Uncle Duncan would be second in line behind Naill himself for the title of Chieftain. Hugh, a cousin, is also in the heir line-up, as is another cousin, Malcolm. Any one could be working against Naill and trying to claim the Chieftainship for himself.
Of course, many problems arise for our young couple. At first they hate each other. Then of course, they fall in love but their own stubborn prides get in the way and despite loving each other, they do not trust each other. Thrown in the fact that many townspeople, Naill's family included, call Anne a witch, and it's a recipe for a disastrous relationship except for the love the couple have for each other even though they refuse to admit it or do anything about it.
In the end, what will happen? Will Naill discover who the traitor is before he loses not only his life and title, but the woman he has grown to love? Will Anne's homeopathic healing abilities get her arrested for being a witch? And of course, will love prevail and the couple wind up together or will the traitor, Iain's affections and the couple's own differences come between them?
Child of the Mist is a very quick-paced book and a fairly easy read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of her series called These Highland Hills. She also as a series called the Brides of Culdee Creek, of which I have read Book 1 and loved.
I give Child of the Mist 4 out of 5 stars and highly recommend the author to anyone who likes romance without the smut. Right now it's FREE for the Kindle (as of 2/6/12), so scoop it up and read it!