3 stars

Historical Romance Review: Highland Barbarian by Ruth Langan

Harlequin Historical #41
3 stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Background to Reading Highland Barbarian

Ruth Langan wrote a series of Highland novels over the years, a few of which I’m already familiar with. I’ve read Ruth Langan’s Highland Heather and Highland Fire, the sequels to Highland Barbarian. I enjoyed those two very much and have fond memories of them.

Highland Heather was the tale of middle sister Brenna being used as Queen Elizabeth’s pawn and captured by the enigmatic Morgan Grey, “The Queen’s Savage,” to mend the rifts between the British and Scots. I’d rate it 4 to 4 1/2-stars. Highland Fire was about the youngest sister, Megan, and a story filled with lots of action, amnesia, and a great, strong-willed heroine paired with a yummy Irish hero. That was a 3 1/2 to 4-star read.

In Highland Barbarian, we see the eldest sister Meredith’s story. Perhaps if I had read this before the other books, I would have liked it more.

Highland Barbarian, Ruth Langan, Harlequin, 1990, cover artist TBD

The Plot

After her father’s death, Meredith is now the leader of the Mac Alpin clan and must join in an arranged marriage to an ally. However, her marriage is cut short when her bridegroom is killed, and Brice Campbell, the Highland Barbarian, captures Meredith. Brice has apparently attacked the Mac Alpins many times in the past (Or has he? Is the hero of this story just a patsy for a more obvious, easily-telegraphed villain? Why, yes, he is.)

Meredith tries to escape, is thwarted, and captured again. In time, she makes friends with Brice’s clan members. Slowly she and Brice grow close and fall in love.

But despite her love, Meredith takes flight once more. This time she is conveniently captured by an enemy of Brice who tried to rape Meredith earlier on. Brice saves the day, but Meredith flees back to her people anyway without so much as a thank you.

There’s a mildly amusing part towards the end when Queen Mary switches places with Meredith because they look so similar, being slim redheads and all (as if that’s all you have to do to look exactly like someone: share the same hair color!). Mary wants some alone time with Bothwell, so Meredith will stand in her stead and judge over arguments. And then the villain shows up, and the predictable ending comes to its predictable end.

Final Analysis to Highland Barbarian

I found the story told here to be a by-the-numbers tale filled with same-old-same-old—a good read, but barely. The love between Brice and Meredith was bland, and the action didn’t thrill me. Highland Barbarian‘s sequels are better, more original reads than this one. This wasn’t a terrible book by any means; it just didn’t excite me. I’d give this barely three stars and consider it just worth enough to pass the time.

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