The Ghost by Monica McCarty
Description: Joan Comyn swore allegiance to Robert the Bruce the day she witnessed England’s barbarous king torturing her famous mother, Scot patriot Bella MacDuff. Now the mysterious beauty slips into men’s hearts like a specter and entices England’s most illustrious barons to unwittingly divulge their secrets, then shares them with her king. Known only as the Ghost even among her Highland Guard brethren, Joan has become the most wanted spy in England.
The man determined to uncover her identity poses her biggest threat yet. Alex Seton once stood with Bruce but now fights for the enemy. Though Joan knows she must avoid the handsome warrior or risk discovery, his knightly chivalry touches a place in her long since buried. When his suspicions grow apparent, Joan realizes she must do everything in her power to stop Alex from revealing her mission and convince the powerful fighter to join forces with the Highland Guard once more. But as the ultimate battle in the great war approaches, will Alex chose love or honor?
Oh my. My heart breaks for the end of this series. I think when I started reading the Highland Guard series, there were three books out. Now, this is the very last one and what an adventure it was. Monica McCarty has combined historical characters and battles with lush descriptions and transports her readers back to medieval Scotland and the Scottish War for Independence. The concept for the series, that Robert the Bruce recruits a secret army of the very best Scottish warriors to help regain his throne, is a brilliant one. While the heroes in the series are larger than life, the heroine are equal brave and intelligent. None more so than the last heroine. Joan Comyn is the daughter of a previous heroine, the historical Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan. Her mother is famous for disobeying her husband and crowning Robert the Bruce at Scone. For this, she, when captured by the English, is hung in a cage from the walls of Berwick castle. Her daughter, Joan, is taken by her father to witness her mother’s captivity. That spurns Joan’s anger against the English. When she gets older, she becomes the last member of the Highland Guard, a spy known as The Ghost. The hero, Alexander Seton, was a former member of the Highland Guard known as The Dragon. However, two years prior to the book, he deflected to the English side. Luckily for Joan, he does not know the identity of the spy. Aside from the history and the chemistry between Joan and Alex, the book presents the question of loyalty. While Alex has regrets about switching sides, he felt that he could no longer engage in the unknight-like guerilla warrior that the Highland Guard was waging. His ultimate desire is the end of the war and the protection of his people who live on the border. While he couldn’t achieve that as a member of the guard, he tried to do so from the English side. The question of loyalty is a prevailing part of the story, adds depth to the historical romance novel. Overall, an extremely satisfying end to the series, even if I didn’t want it to end.
Rating: 5 out of 5!
Received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Your review makes me want to read this series. It’s been a long while but I’ve always been partial to novels with Scottish medieval settings.