Title: Noble and Blessed
Author: Laura Strickland
Genre: Scottish Historical Romance
Captured by Gaels in a vicious raid, Caledonian shaman Tally is taken by force to the western kingdom of Dal Riada, where he falls into the hands of the Celtic chief's daughter, Alanna. Having lost every freedom, and fearing he may also lose his faith, he makes the goddess a sacred promise. If she sustains him, he will live for her and one day make it back home.
Alanna, daughter of one of the three most powerful men in the area, has refused every influential match her father has proposed. She lives an independent life training ponies for war chariots and makes her own choices. But when she sees the young Caledonian slave with magic in his eyes, she knows herself lost.
Alanna will do anything to keep Tally with her, but Tally is willing to die rather than remain a slave. Can the love growing between them survive?
Even though Tally is a Caledonian shaman, he’s not immune to the ravages of war. After a brutal battle, he is taken captive along with several others. They make the slow trek back to where the Gaels call home and he becomes a worthless slave. When the chief’s daughter, Alanna, makes a deal to win him as a slave, Tally knows he must bide his time until he can make his escape.
Alanna trains ponies and is quite an independent woman, especially for the time period. She refuses to marry any suitor her father proposes. But when she lays eyes on Tally, she’s drawn to him. She works side by side with him, getting to know him. The more she tries to lure Tally into bed, the more he resists and the stronger her desire is to claim him for her own. He opens her eyes to his plight and the result of war she’s been brought up to believe is the natural order of things. She begins to question everything she’s known while falling in love with Tally. When he runs away and is beaten within an inch of his life, she must choose between her love for Tally and her family.
Noble and Blessed is an emotional love story between a free woman and an enslaved man. The rugged landscape, along with the war-torn society which Alanna and Tally find themselves in, makes for an enthralling read. The paradox of Alanna runs its course as the story progresses. She’s lived a sheltered life and never thought about what it might feel like to be a slave but all that changes with Tally. Can love bring peace to warring clans? It’s a beautiful thought and one that’s addressed in this book.
The romance is slow-burning and I really enjoyed witnessing Alanna and Tally’s torment. Laura Strickland pens a realistic romance for the time period and should be given credit for making it as real as possible. The ending made me cry, so be warned.
If you’re looking for a sweeping Scottish historical romance with intensity, pick up Noble and Blessed today. Don’t worry about it being book three, it’s a standalone.
Favorite Character/Quote: “After a lifetime spent warring, peace lay here in her arms.”
My Rating: 5 stars
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Award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Born and raised in Western New York, she's pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Although she enjoys travel, she's usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario, with her husband and her "fur" child, a rescue dog. Author of numerous Historical and Contemporary Romances, she is the creator of the Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city. Noble and Blessed is the third book in her new historical Hearts of Caledonia series.
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Author Amazon Page http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Strickland/e/B001KHSACW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Reviewed by: Mrs. N