Review: Master of the Highlands by Veronica Wolff

Master of the Highlands
by Veronica Wolff
Historical Romance
Berkeley Sensation, 2008
3 geckos (and a tail)

A modern woman finds true love across the ocean-and across time.
A fabulous debut for fans of Diana Gabaldon and Karen Marie Moning

Lily Hamlin is making a pilgrimage to Scotland with hopes for some direction in her life. There she discovers an overgrown maze and a strange stone map-and lands back in time, in the Lochaber of 1654.

Ewen, Chief of the Clan Cameron, must save his people from the brutal redcoats. But then he meets a saucy lass with a peculiar accent, no regard for his title-and an arousing body. Drawn to each other despite their differences, they both realize that they don’t want her to go back to her own time. But with battles brewing, staying is a gamble.

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I love romance, time-travel, and Scotland. I cringe a little when picking up a novel that has all three elements. I’ve been ruined by the fabulous world building and story-telling of authors gone by. I mean, how many different stories within this combo could there possible be? I’m no different in that I drool over the bare chest that graces these covers. You know the one-carved muscles, chest graced in plaid, a gleaming sword in hand. But do I really want to give up six hours of my time reading a story I’ve already read? I picked up this gem because I was at Half Priced Books, it was on the $1 shelf, and I was in a hurry.

Lucky for me, I picked the right book. I had a great romp with Master of the Highlands, staying up until 4:30 in the morning to finish it. With a very hunky, brooding hero, and a strong-willed, modern heroine, I was in time-travel-romance heaven, not even minding that we had stopped (once again) in Scotland.

It was also a historical romance. Ewen, the hero, was a real person, as were some of the events and other characters of the time. Unfortunately, I did not know this until I had already finished the book-had I known while I was reading it, I would have enjoyed it even more and I would have scored it a solid ‘B’. On reflection, it was as if Master of the Highlands was trying to hide from the fact that it was (at least in part) based on history.

What I liked:
The story. It moved along fairly quickly without lagging at any one point.
The characters’ voices were strong. I was especially enamored with the hero’s son, a ten year-old who was challenging, to put it mildly. I’ve known a few kids like that.
The beautiful, detailed descriptions of the world. I enjoy a good romance that reads as ‘literature’.
The flirty, witty dialog was skillfully written.
The hero, Ewen-I fell in love with his protective, witty, powerful persona. Sigh.

What I didn’t like:
There were some continuity issues with the character’s thoughts and motivations, ping-ponging from being in love to denying that same love. It’s typical of the genre, but sometimes there were no reasons given. I got the sense there were some chopped scenes–that “wait, what just happened?” feeling.

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