I have often wondered if there is such a thing as fate. Are we set upon a predetermined path? Is destiny at work throughout our lives, determining who we fall in love with, our purpose in life, our partner or soul mate, and the manner and time of our death? The hands of fate are but one of the underlying themes in this great tale written by Kathleen Givens.
Gannon MacMagnus is a beautiful, strapping man, half Irish and half Norseman....a proud man, a decent man, an honourable man. He has left his home in Ireland to accompany his uncle to Scotland to help those who have been raided by a band of vicious Vikings. It is here that he encounters Margaret MacDonald...his destiny. Margaret MacDonald is the eldest daughter of a prominent laird in Scotland. She is betrothed to a powerful man, Lachlan, a cousin to the King. But when Lachlan betrays Margaret with her best friend, she is determined to end the betrothal. But as the times dictate, Margaret is to wed Lachlan for the good of her clan. But this becomes the least of her worries, when upon her return home from court, Margaret and her brother and sister discover their village in ruins, every man and women brutally murdered and the carnage left for them to see. Margaret must somehow rebuild her life and help her people. She is told her destiny is to be with "the golden one" and that she will "fight dragons". Is Gannon her golden one? Will she choose the right path and be forever happy or die a tragic death?
I was totally engrossed with this story. I have never read a book set in the early 13th century, or one that deals with Norsemen in Scotland. I was intrigued by the history of this time period, including the battles for land and the raids by the Vikings on the people living on the Western shores of Scotland. But what truly held me were the characters created by this author. I was immediately taken with Gannon. His strength of will and commitment to his family and people were remarkable. But I feel that it was the heroine, Margaret, that took center stage. She was one strong-willed, loving, smart and determined woman. She was not one to be easily bullied by men, something rare for a female of the time. She knew what she wanted....a safe land for her people, a place to call home, and true love with a partner who would honestly listen to her. I could feel her emotions so often in the story...I felt her outrage at her betrayal, her overwhelming grief at the loss of her family, and the soaring of her heart when she looked at Gannon. Although this is a historical romance, it is so much more. There isn't the usual happy fluff. This is an intense tale filled with the political and social realities of the time. There are suspenseful and sometimes graphic battle scenes that kept me on the edge of my seat. Woven within all of this is the emotionally satisfying love story of Margaret and Gannon. I could not put this book down and I highly recommend it to all readers. You will gasp, cringe, cry and laugh. You will become immersed in a time and place that could be both brutally harsh and epically beautiful. And you will want to read more...just as I do.
"On A Highland Shore" is my second book in the Highlander Reading Challenge for 2011.
It also counts as book #6 in the 2011 Historical Romance Challenge.
Check out the book trailer!
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