Between A Highlander And A Hard Place by Mary Wine
I felt really sorry for Athena, the heroine of this story. Fleeing London disguised as a boy because her other options were unpalatable at best (become a wealthy man’s mistress or go to jail for setting fire to his house when he attacked her) she keeps ending up in dreadful situations caused by most of the men around her behaving like complete asshats. It’s no wonder she’s had an absolute gutful of being pushed around and told what to do when she runs across Symon, Laird Grant, who saw her dancing with abandon at a maypole and followed her for a week, arriving just in time to help her escape being sold into a brothel.
Symon’s a decent man, but he’s a clan laird and accustomed to being obeyed. Even though she’s drawn to him, Athena really doesn’t want to be. She owes him her gratitude, but she’ll give him nothing more, and he’s not the kind of man to take it.
Symon and Athena played off each other really well, and there was a build up for a second intriguing romance between Symon’s cousin Brenda and another clan chief. The court intrigues of both Elizabeth Tudor and King James VI of Scotland (as a teenager) were touched on, sixteenth century politics catching up the protagonists in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
There was obviously a great deal of research put into making this book historically accurate, with enough detail to make it feel as though the reader is really in the sixteenth century, though the author delicately glosses over some of the less savory details of everyday life in that time period. Dysentery and smallpox really aren’t sexy, after all!
I really enjoyed the read and I’d definitely read Brenda’s story, along with any other Highlander books this author writes. I’m giving this five stars.
Between A Highlander And A Hard Place is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.