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Sunday, October 19, 2008

On a Highland Shore by Kathleen Givens

On a Highland ShoreI'm trying to find another author's work to compare this novel to but I keep coming up short. Kathleen Givens is like a hardy mix of my favourite authors - a gritty Jude Deveraux, a loved up Philippa Gregory, a purley historical Barbara Erskine. This was truly one of my favourite purely historical depictions of Scotland.

The most powerful aspect of this novel was certainly the characterisation. Whilst some reviewers have found this lacking, I felt the protagonists to be diverse and perfectly matched. The antagonist was equally well-crafted and just pure evil. There are many scenes of his doing which are both repulsive and haunting. Well before the end of this book, you'll be cheering for the bad guy to get it!

Many Scottish Clans were the victims of raids just like the ones Givens writes about and this novel truly places your heart in a different time and place. It reminds you that tragedy has followed humankind through history and its effects have not been lessened by the passing of time. Givens did not shy from depicting the rich tapestry of human emotions - emparting on the reader a sense of deeper understanding of Scottish pride and courage.

Weaved within this narrative of a nation is the deeply satisfying love story of Margaret and Gannon. The novel is beautifully layered to keep your suspense and works itself into a frenetic pace by about page 250. The romance plot is centre-stage enough to satisfy a romance reader but possibly doesn't contain the same level of eroticism as other novels in the genre. I think there's too much else going on for the characters to be spending all their time in bed!

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