Devil of the Highlands
Avon, Feb 2009, $7.99
In 1273 England, Lady Edda asks King Edward to arrange for her stepdaughter Evelinde of d’Aumesbury to marry the “Devil of Donnachaidh”. The stepmother loathes her late husband’s offspring and detests sharing the fruits of her deceased husband’s barony, which is beneath her needs as it is She also wants to punish Evelinde for being the brave daughter of her despicable dead spouse; so assumes the Scottish aristocratic barbarian will be a perfect brute for Evelinde. The monarch arranges for the couple to meet. Each is shocked that their preconceptions re the other is totally wrong. She expected an abusive thug, but he is kind and caring; he anticipated a cold aloof shrew, but she is warm and daring.
After they exchange marital vows, they head to his home in Scotland as she wonders why the nickname as he nothing like his ferocious reputation. She learns the epithet was given to him due to the murder of his father and the alleged suicide of his cousin; everyone assumes he caused both. Everyone except Evelinde until someone tries to kill her. She wonders if her husband is actually insane or is someone trying to make him seem like a berserker murderer; she plans to learn the truth or die trying.
Starting with the evil stepmother, DEVIL OF THE HIGHLANDS is a fabulous medieval romance starring two charming courageous characters. Evelinde is somewhat typical of the sub-genre except that she matures with a keen understanding that the man she loves proves his caring of her and his people through what he does for them. The whodunit adds to a strong thirteenth century tale as the heroine realizes her spouse is the angel of Donnachaidh.