When a Schoolteacher Encounters Highland Smugglers, a Touch of Fairy Magic Brings Romance in Laird of Secrets, a Scottish Historical Romance by Susan King
--Scottish Highlands, 1823--
To fulfill the requirements of her grandmother's will and claim her inheritance, Fiona MacCarran must marry a wealthy Highlander, and soon. Her teaching position in the remote Highland glen where her brother is the excise officer offers little hope of finding such a husband until she meets Dougal MacGregor, Laird of Kinloch. Fiona longs to be in the arms of the handsome laird who knows the secret of local fairy lore. He's also a notorious rogue and whisky smuggler.
Moving his finest whisky—and fast—is how Dougal MacGregor protects his people. It ought to be simple, but nothing is easy after Fiona MacCarran arrives. With a valuable cache and an age-old legend to protect, he cannot allow the sensual schoolmistress to distract him. After all, a Highland rebel and a law-abiding lass who is sister to the customs officer—can't have a future together.
But when a conflict threatens the glen and its magical secret, Dougal and Fiona must work together to protect the people—and soon realize that only sweet surrender will save them as well.
Publisher Note: Previously published as The Highland Groom, the story has been edited by the author for today's readers. Readers who appreciate romance set in historical settings with fantasy elements will not want to miss the newly-updated Whisky Lairds Series.
The Whisky Lairds Series
Laird of Twilight
Laird of Secrets
Laird of Rogues
Whisky and fairies and (Scots) Gaelic, oh my
I am a woman who drinks single malt—but from Islay, not the Highlands—and loves the history and making of it. The author clearly knows her subject—and were she to write a book without Scots, set in pre-Waterloo English ‘Society‘, there would not be any whisky found in clubs or Great Houses.
Real people doing real-people things with historical accuracy—and malt whisky!
Well developed characters, and I didn’t wince once. Not at all damning with faint praise, but I encounter so little historical fiction lately that get the whisky facts correctly, and I’m fed up with overwrought sensibilities as plot.
Let’s get to the story. There’s a legendary ‘fairy whisky’, made from a single (water) source by the lairds of a glen near Loch Katrine. I haven’t read the first installment in the series, Laird of Twilight, so I haven’t met Fiona’s family. They’re the backbone of this series.
Fiona’s twin brother’s story is the focus of Laird of Twilight, and both of them are interested in rocks /geology and fossils, which is why we meet Fiona and another brother, Patrick, hillwalking and looking at rocks.
Watching them is the laird of Kinloch, seeing her as if a fairy-woman. We keep hearing about how much a scoundrel he is, but it’s just bad press—he’s an honorable and responsible laird, even if there’s smuggling involved. Appearances deceive a fair amount in this novel!
Fiona accepted a term as a teacher to the glen’s children, from several motives, including fossils. Her brother Patrick is a customs officer, so Kinloch is wary of trusting her, lest what she knows about his activities should pass to customs.
It’s clear they find each other interesting, but they each have their secrets. Oddly enough, each have secrets about fairies. They move slowly, learning each other.
There’s a scene early on that is reminiscent of a scene in The Court Jester, involving a cart, deception, and coughing.
The author paints scenery well with words—I saw Mrs. McIan’s cottage very easily, and describing nature and its beauty makes me want to be there. I want to sit down and sample the glen’s whiskies—even if I do prefer “alcoholic bog water”, as my husband called it before he’d had any, from Islay.
I have to wait until budget allows to read the first, and the forthcoming, books, but they’re on the list.