Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: True Highland Spirit

True Highland Spirit (Highlander - Book 3) by Amanda Forester

Publication Date: March 6, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Genre: Historical fiction, Scotland
Pages: Paperback, 390pp
ISBN-13: 978-1402253072
ISBN: 1402253079

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Amanda Forester on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Books in the series: The Highlander's Sword (2010), The Highlander's Heart (2011), True Highland Spirit (2012)

CoverArt: Click on the picture for a larger, clearer image of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from True Highland Spirit



Morrigan McNab is a Highland lady, robbed of her birthright and with no choice but to fight alongside her brothers to protect their impoverished clan. When she encounters Sir Jacques Dragonet, she discovers her fiercest opponent...

Sir Jacques Dragonet is a Noble Knight of the Hospitaller Order, willing to give his life to defend Scotland from the English. He can't stop himself from admiring the beautiful Highland lass who wields her weapons as skillfully as he does, and endangers his heart even more than his life...

Now they're racing each other to find a priceless relic. No matter who wins this heated rivalry, both will lose unless they can find a way to share the spoils.


Amanda Forester has a knack for writing about the Scottish Highlands, her people, and her customs. Forester's latest book in the Highlander series, True Highland Spirit, once again celebrates the indomitable spirit of a proud people. Forester's attention to historical detail gives credence to the story, giving it a believable, authentic feel. Her characters are strong and multi-layered and her plot is both adventurous and intriguing. This is a can't miss title for Highlander fans!

Being of Scottish decent I am always interested to see how authors approach writing about the Highlands. In some cases Scotland and her people are portrayed as somewhat rough and barbaric and in some instances they are labeled as religious heretics or less than worthy of their own freedom. I always appreciate an author who understands the Highland spirit and what it means. These people were warriors, they fought and bleed for what they believed in, from the strong warrior men to the women who loved and stood beside them. Amanda Forester writing is a celebration of the Highland determination, resilience and spirit.

Morrigan McNab was a woman who had to fight for everything she had. When her parents die she is forced to use whatever means possible to help her clan survive, from highway robbery to petty thievery. She is one strong woman. She has a good head on her shoulders and she knows how to get what she wants. I thought Forester did a fantastic job of creating a woman that was almost afraid to be feminine. She just didn't know how to do it. She certainly wasn't whiny or bratty and she could fight as good as any man, but when she comes face to face with her own femininity in the guise of wayward minstrel, she starts to wonder what it really means to be a woman. She was a great character, very real and believable, loyal to the point of sacrifice.

Jacques Dragonet, was not what I was expecting in a hero. First of all he wasn't Scottish. When most people read a Highland romance, they imagine a dark brooding hero in a kilt. Not in this book! The lead male is a French Knight. He isn't fighting any inner demons nor does he expect to bed every lass he comes across. He was raised as a monk and with only one goal in his life, to protect Scotland from English rule, he doesn't know any more about romance than Morrigan does. The two are well suited for each other and create quite the sparks when they finally do come together. Both characters are well written and fun to read about. 

Forester uses a lot of historical detail and references and it is obvious that she's done her homework. But the book doesn't come across like a documentary or a work of nonfiction. Forester gives her history a spin of her own and makes it stand out in Highland fiction. In a genre that is heavily saturated with Scottish tales, Forester book stands out as unique and different, using humor and adventure as well as romance and a smidge of mystery to give the reader a real Highland novel. To put it mildly, I was impressed! And after reading a ton of Highland romances, that kind of hard to do!

True Highland Spirit is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Amanda Forester holds a PhD in psychology and worked for many years in academia before discovering that writing historical novels was way more fun. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two energetic children. True Highland Spirit is the third novel in her Highlander series. Her previous novels include The Highlander's Sword and The Highlander's Heart. 

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