Title: Masquerade Marriage
Author: Anne Greene
A SECRET LIST
To protect his loved ones and escape the dark fate of his brothers, a noted warrior abandons his identity. Hiding from relentless soldiers who want him dead, Brody MacCaulay vows to protect the woman he loves more than life, more than freedom, more than Scotland. But his presence throws her into danger.
A VOW HONORED
To escape an arranged marriage to an abusive noble, a Lowland Lady weds a stranger to save his life. But vows spoken do not make a marriage, especially when Megan MacMurry holds a different love inside her heart.
A SACRIFICE MADE
Outlawed, and with a price on his head, Brody condemns himself to a life of heartbreak without Megan. Wanting her desperately, knowing he can't have her, he heads alone to certain death...
I love books about historical Scotland. There is something about the people and that time that tugs at my heart and challenges me at the same time. These were people not afraid to die for what they believed in. They held concepts like loyalty, family, freedom, and faith sacred. I think there is a lot to learn from them. Sometimes they were a wee bit stubborn and prideful... but there was a lot of strength and courage in heroes of Scottish history.
This story is a great example of how that sense of honor and self-sacrifice was lived out among not just the giants of history, but so many of the families. It's also a story of how many of them tried to pick up the pieces after Culloden. They had dual desires. Part of them wanted to live to protect their families and fight another day. Another part felt like it was somehow dishonorable to hide and give in to what the English wanted.
Unlike many romance novels, there was no silent, aggressive hero and a damsel in distress. Megan also didn't fit the other extreme ~ She wasn't the kind of woman who had to be in charge all the time, wear the pants in the family and didn't like being a woman. She was just a strong woman who was intelligent, capable, practical and wanted to help the patriotic men who had fought and were in danger of losing their lives. She was willing to risk her own life and happiness to do just that.
Brody fought for a cause he believed in. War changes him inside though. Afterward he isn't sure what he believes and wishes his life hadn't been spared. When he finds out that Megan has chosen him as husband to spare his life, he hopes for happiness with his friend from childhood. He soon learns that she did it as a patriotic duty and was engaged to someone else who died on the battlefield. His presence puts her family at risk and he struggles with that nearly as much as his feelings for Megan.
I enjoyed this book a lot and suggest it to anyone who likes this time period.
In case you haven't read it yet, here is an excerpt:
Like a determined hero, the fugitive warrior strode through the door at the far end of the tiny stone kirk.
Megan’s eyes widened. Her clenched jaw relaxed. Some of her dread dissolved.
“Impressive.” Molly, Megan’s Irish maid, whispered from where they stood together in the vestibule.
He stopped in front of the hand-carved altar and half-turned toward her. Megan pulled in an uneven breath. This Highlander, wearing formal kilts, was no scrawny lad grown older, nor was he a big, hairy Scot with a bushy beard. The tall, strapping soldier stood with legs braced as if about to do battle.
Her heart skipped. Though she’d known Brody when she wore short skirts, this blond warrior was far more than she expected. Her pulse throbbed in her temples. Doubt niggled her brain. Brody was too tall, too obviously a Highlander. How could she hope to pass him off as a Lowland Laird? He appeared to have too big a chip on his shoulder to let her command him.
Brody’s thick sandy hair swept the collar of his linen shirt. Lace-trimmed cuffs matched the white jabot at his muscular throat. A silver broach clapsed his crimson and black tartan to his wide right shoulder. His Claymore, dirk, and thick sword belt startled her.
Megan suppressed a shudder. The English outlawed kilts. With his dress, Brody spat in the face of the English and further imperiled his life. Why?
His intense sapphire stare blazed a trail across the empty wooden pews toward her. His eyes made her feel dizzy as if she just danced a fast reel with a lively partner.
Molly grinned and handed Megan the bridal flowers.
What had she gotten herself into?