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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Bilson

The Rebel Wears Plaid by Eliza Knight

I absolutely love the concept of this new series based on some of the real-life women of the Jacobite rebellion. The three women we meet in this book nickname themselves ‘Prince Charlie’s Angels’, and the heroine of this book is Jenny, sister of a clan laird who’s gone over to the despised English cause. Jenny is determined not to betray her beloved Scotland, though, and has worked for the cause to become the leader of a large band of rebels, gathering arms and supplies in preparation for the prince’s return.

Toran Fraser is… less decided about where his loyalties lie. The head of his clan is a notorious turncoat, working for whichever side looks to be dominant at any given time, and his mother’s death was laid at the door of none other than Mistress J… the rebel leader whose identity he has just discovered. And who has just saved his life after he rescued his cousin from execution.

There are some strange dichotomies in the way Jenny’s character is written; she’s a rebel warrior, leader of men, skilled fighter, brilliant chess player and strategist… blushing, innocent virgin… the switch is honestly a bit jarring. Honestly, I’d have preferred Jenny as maybe a widow a few years older, it would have made more sense with the rest of her personality traits. I really did like, however, the way Toren chose to accept and support her as leader, basically saying he was happy to do things however she needed them done. It made me buy into their relationship completely.

Unfortunately, there’s one massively glaring flaw in reading Scottish romances set during the early years of the Jacobite rebellion, and that flaw is called Culloden. It’s a spectre on the horizon anyone who knows their history just can’t ignore, and it means I cannot fully buy into any happily ever after which doesn’t take the reader past 1746 and show the couple finding some way to a safe future together. Now, it’s possible the author will get that far in the timeline with this series and give us a happy ending we can believe in, but right now, the HEA has too finite a life for my liking.

Overall, this is pretty solid, but the uncertain future and the contradictions in Jenny’s character mean it’s not getting top marks from me. I’ll give it four stars.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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