Ballantine, Jan 27 2009, $ 7.99
In 1608 on the Isle of Bute, off Scotland, Lord Lamont hosts a Highland gathering at his Ascog Castle in hopes of finding an acceptable husband for his not always biddable daughter Caitrina. He hates using his offspring as pawn, but feels for the sake of the clan’s safety he must arrange a marriage that brings a strong alliance with it. She understands the need and accepts her role, but prays that her fiancé is not a Campbell; a clan the Lamont tribe has feuded with for years.
Due to the pleading of her younger brother Brian to rescue a kitten from a tree, Caitrina climbs up, but her sibling leaves once she gives him the feline before helping her down. The Privy Council’s enforcer Jamie Campbell arrives in time to help the damsel in distress out on a limb; that is after taking his time as he admired the view. In spite of the clans’ disputes and Caitrina’s trepidations, Jamie marries her. However, whereas he sees the world as black and white, she sees a rainbow. They fall in love, but their marriage remains fragile as he remains inflexible unable to understand that chastisement is not always the best response to right a wrong. When his beloved almost dies, Jamie begins to comprehend how fortunate he is to have Caitrina as his wife and to have her love as he begins to understand justice without passion leads to injustice.
The opening of Monica McCarty’s latest Highland saga, The Campbells, is a terrific character driven historical romance that showcases a great author cleverly using a seventeen century setting to make a point about modern day justice. Love is not enough as Jamie as the enforcer never cares about circumstances when he doles out punishment in the name of justice. Caitrina is his opposite as she feels strongly all the pertinent information needs to be considered before determining the best fairest course of action. Fans will relish their dispute over what justice truly is.