Highland Barbarian by Ruth Langan is a solid start to her series about the Mac Alpin clan, but it is not as exciting as the rest of the sequels are.
Illustrator: George H. Jones
Imprint or Line: Harlequin Historical #41
Published by: Harlequin, Mills & Boon
Genres: Historical Romance, Highland Romance
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader
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 of 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 4.5 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 .5 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 this one more.
After her father’s death, Meredith is now the leader of the MacAlpin 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 in a raid. Brice has apparently attacked the MacAlpins 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 is 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 inconveniently captured by one of Brice’s enemies who tried to rape her earlier. 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 of 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, with more original stories 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.
|Rating Report Card|
A Time of Treachery and Deceit
Scottish noblewoman Meredith MacAlpin feared for her life when the infamous Brice Campbell spirited her away to his mist-shrouded castle. For it was said that the legendary Highland Barbarian was the man responsible for the murderous raids on her people.
When Brice Campbell killed the wrong man in a desperate attempt to prove his innocence and bring peace to the warring clans, his enemy Gareth MacKenzie vowed to destroy him. But the highland laird had found new strength in the arms of his precious captive, and together, they would prove the powerful MacKenzie wrong.