Guest Review: Devil’s Highlander by Veronica Wolff

Posted August 17, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Judith‘s review of Devil’s Highlander (Clan MacAlpin, Book 1) by Veronica Wolff.

After Scotland’s civil wars, the orphaned brothers and sisters of the MacAlpin Clan reclaimed the abandoned Dunnottar Castle as their birthright. Hardened in battle and haunted by family secrets, these fiery Highlanders must rely on each other as they right the wrongs of their troubled history.

Cormac MacAlpin lost his innocence too young–he has always blamed himself for the kidnapping of his twin brother, Aidan. He turned away from his childhood friend, Marjorie Keith, denying the propect of happiness with the young woman who loved him, even as a child. Now a tormented war hero, working as a fisherman, Cormac is speechless when Marjorie comes to him with an appeal for help–a poor city boy she has been caring for has disappeared, reminding her of long-lost Aidan. their bond of shame once thwarted a budding romance and threatens to again–but Cormac and Marjorie are adults now, with needs too powerful tokeep locked away.

There is perhaps no greater force that shapes human lives than guilt and shame. We like to think that love makes the world go round, as put forth in a popular song, but in truth I have found that so many people are impacted by events that make even the greatest and nicest happenings unacceptable, all because of lingering guilt and shame. So it was with Cormac and Marjorie–each laced with guilt over Aidan’s kidnapping 13 years earlier, so much so that they have moved out of each other’s lives. Marjorie is convinced that Cormac hates her; Cormac, on the other hand, believes that his failure to protect his brother and the horrors of war make him unworthy of Marjorie’s love. Oh brother . . .

A goodly portion of this book does detail how the efforts to find Davy bring these two together, forcing them to talk, remember, open their hearts, explore their guilt, and try to find a path down which they can journey, at least as friends if not more. Of course, this is a romance novel, so we know that it is a love story. But don’t be fooled: this is not your usual love story and these two don’t find an easy resolution to their difficulties. First there is the finding of Davy; then there is the whole matter of enslaving poverty stricken boys, taken off the streets while their are working or playing, all because the greedy slavers have convinced themselves that they are giving these kids a “chance at a new life.” (And we all know that the rationale for slavery down through the generations where varied and and widespread.) This is just one. Then there is the whole matter of the missing brother, and throughout the telling of this tale the author keeps inserting people and happenings that are unexpected and vastly interesting. I don’t think very many people will figure this book out easily.

So, in the final analysis, I have to say that this is a very enjoyable novel, quite entertaining, and a good read. I do think that some of the latter chapters are somewhat ponderous, but perhaps that is just me. However, I was very glad to have read it, and I hope that those who find joy in reading of the Clans will find this book equally inviting.

I give it a rating of 3.75 out of 5.

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

The series:

Devil's Highlander (A Clan MacAlpin Novel)

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place.

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