I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Highland Duke (Lords of the Highlands #1) by Amy Jarecki
Series: Lords of the Highlands #1
Published by Forever on March 28th 2017
FINAL DECISION: An action packed adventure combined with a romance where the hero is a jerk for most of the story, but redeems himself by the end. I especially loved the heroine who is strong but sweet and genuine.
THE STORY: Akira Ayes, a healer from a Gypsy family finds an injured Scot after a battle with English troops during the Jacobite Rebellion. Akira can’t bear to leave the Highlander to fend for himself and ends up embroiled in his danger. Geordie aka George Gordon aka Duke of Gordon keeps his identity a secret from Akira. He needs to make his way home to hide his participation in the battle because otherwise his life and lands would be forfeit. As the two travel together fleeing the English, Geordie finds he likes how Akira treats him as a man — not as a duke.
OPINION: I found this book to be a rousing adventure story as Akira and Geordie race across Scotland evading the English. That portion of the book was excellent. Geordie and Akira argue, work together, find commonality and care for one another as they race through the countryside. The book had an exciting beginning and didn’t leave off until the two reached Georgie’s home.
For me, the book slowed down a bit when that happened and I think the book lost a bit of focus. As the two fall in love but have to confront the impossibility of them marrying, I thought the book meandered a bit and I was not as interested in the ending of the book as I was in the beginning. Ultimately, however, I thought that the story overall was a success.
Akira is a wonderful character. She has been treated poorly by many people because of her Gypsy heritage. (In the book Gypsies are called Tinkers and are thought of as mere thieves and beggars, reflecting the prejudices of the time). Despite the discrimination and intense poverty she has faced, Akira is a healer. A kind and generous woman. A woman willing to risk herself to save a stranger’s life. She has a progression in this book. Akira begins with fixed ideas of sexual morality, but finds herself having to think about what is important in her life as she and Geordie fall in love but are unable to marry. She is also a woman who can make a duke appreciate being a man.
Geordie is a man who has two sides…the distant duke and the man he finds himself being with Akira. Akira challenges Geordie’s assumptions about his world and about his obligations in it. Akira demands that Geordie consider the common folk and he realizes that she is right and he is ashamed of his prior self-absorption. In order to be with Akira, Geordie must change himself and prove himself worthy of her. I like that he is willing to acknowledge his mistakes.
This is a good start to the new series and I look forward to the next book.
WORTH MENTIONING: Some parts of this book had vague echoes to OUTLANDER but perhaps that is only because I have been reading those book recently.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE HIGHLAND DUKE is the first book in the Lords of the Highlands series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.