From birth, Catriona Campbell and Alasdair Og MacDonald are enemies—for he is the second son of her clan’s most powerful foe. Yet from the moment they meet, they know they will lie in each other’s arms someday. Their love, though centuries forbidden, comes at the most dangerous of times, as they become pawns of war . . . and of history. For rebellion has been stirring, and under the orders of King William III, a bloody price will be paid at Glencoe . . .
This “stirring” love story set against the backdrop of a notorious massacre is “well worth a Highland journey” (Kirkus Reviews).
“Roberson’s world of 17th-century Scotland is atmospherically real.” —Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Jennifer has a bachelor of science in journalism from Northern Arizona University, with an extended major in British history. She spent her final semester in England at the University of London, which enabled her to do in-depth research at museums, great homes, and cathedrals of England, as well as in Scotland's Edinburgh, Loch Ness, and Glencoe. Prior to becoming a full-time writer in 1985, she was employed as an investigative reporter for a morning daily and as an advertising copywriter for a major marketing company.
Jennifer grew up in Arizona and used to compete in amateur rodeos. Her primary hobby now is the breeding, training, and exhibition of Cardigan Welsh corgis and Labrador retrievers in the conformation, obedience, and agility rings of AKC dog shows and trials. She was the Cardigan Welsh corgi breed columnist for the AKC Gazette for six years and is currently on the board of directors of the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Club of America. She lives near Phoenix with (currently) six dogs and two cats.
Read an Excerpt
Cat Campbell, flattened behind the bug-ridden peat pile to hide herself from Robbie and the lass but a stone's throw down the hill, was at first aghast that her brother would dare such thing, this forcing a kiss from a woman — — no, a lass still is Mairi Campbell, not so much older than me — — but Robbie had always been a lad who took, be it from his sister or younger brothers, and now, at eighteen, was counted a man. He was eldest, he was heir, he was Glen Lyon's future; they had no choice but to give to the one what he wanted, who would one day be laird.
Cat grimaced. Robbie would take it today, given the moment!
But he wouldn't be given the moment. His father, for all Glenlyon drank, still held authority. Robbie would have to wait.
But not just at this moment, with Mairi Campbell.
Cat scowled. The pungent odor of drying peat cut out of the hillside filled her nostrils, left its taste in her mouth. But it was not her mouth which claimed her attention, now; the mouths glued together below, seeking, sucking, smacking —
"'Tis her," Cat muttered. "Her as much as Robbie." And as bad, she decided, as a ram with a ewe, or a dog with a bitch, if somewhat more polite; Mairi, at least, seemed to want the attention.
Cat's lip curled. The movements were confusing, and without dignity. How could Mairi expose herself so? How could she let Robbie dictate what she would do?
"Not me," she declared to the peat. "I'll no' give up so much of myself like — like ... that — "
And likely a bairn would come of it; often the ewes and bitches settled after consorting with the male. Which put in her mind her father, and the mother she barely recalled.
Cat grimaced. Disgusting indeed, that her mother would permit such liberties, such indignities of person. Five children of it, not counting the bairns who died. And Robbie, born first of them all, seemed wholly intent on starting a string of bairns even as his father before him.
Mairi Campbell, Cat decided, was a fool. Unless she wanted a bairn; or possibly wanted Robbie.
That was a thought worth considering. Cat scowled over it and turned her back on them, leaning instead against the pile of peat squares while she contemplated the unexpected and alien idea of having a sister.
The crowd in Inchinnan, a hungry hound, was fed on anticipation. Alasdair Og MacDonald, in its midst, was less a hound than others, but nonetheless sensed it, smelled it, tasted it. If the captive were not brought out soon, the Marquis of Atholl — the victor conducting the execution — would soon find himself struggling to control the very men who had supported him against the man he meant to die.
Dair chewed absently at his bottom lip. A hound starved for too long — And wanting blood for blood, to pay back the loser for his temerity in trying to replace one king with another. They hate him as much for his title ... And for his name, his heritage; for the blood of their kin spilled during decades of his power, and the decades before his birth: he was the ninth Earl of Argyll, Archibald Campbell, once the most powerful man in Scotland. Now naught but a traitor condemned to die.
The square was filled with Jacobites, Highlanders sworn to King James despite his Popery; he was, after all, a Stuart, and therefore Scottish — and they had not fought for James so much as against Argyll and Clan Campbell, and cared little enough for the political vagaries of England. What concerned these men, lairds and chiefs and tacksmen, was the ending of Campbell power.
It was mid-May and warm; warmer yet because of so many wool-swathed men packed together. Dair was aware, as always, of his father's huge body overshadowing his own. They had named him for his father, then called him Og so as not to confuse others in reference, but by adolescence Dair knew very well the distinction was unnecessary.
A stirring ran through the crowd. The hound shifted stance, hackles rising, then moved aside sullenly as the master brought out the miscreant who would die for his heritage and clan affiliation as much as for his belief in a king other than James.
Caught in the shuffle as the crowd was parted, Dair saw nothing of Argyll as the man was led out. He saw only his own father's fierce face, nearly buried in beard and moustaches, and the glitter in hard eyes. "Campbell," MacIain muttered, "your cattle will be in my glen before the month is done."
Dair looked beyond to the center of Inchinnan's square. Beside the Mercat Cross stood the Maiden, the woman whom no man desired. The guillotine machine was lashed to a wooden platform with wheels at each corner, so it might more easily be taken from place to place. The steel blade, raised high, was as yet unblemished by the gore of Argyll's death. It glinted in clean Highland sunlight. How many necks will she kiss —?
But the thought was broken off as MacIain's callused hand came down on his second son's plaid-swathed shoulder and closed so tightly Dair nearly grimaced. "Count your cows," the laird rumbled. "With each drop of his Campbell blood, count it a cow for Glencoe!"
The warping of the crowd left a channel between oceans of kilts and plaids and gave Dair a clear view. Surrounded by the enemy, the ninth Earl of Argyll walked steadily to meet the Maiden.
"Traitor begets traitor," MacIain muttered. Then, in a lion's roar: "Traitor begets traitor!"
Argyll's step faltered as he heard the shout and the response it prompted; the eighth earl, his father, had also been charged a traitor. Dair knew this day was the genesis of legend: because father and son were executed, they would say the loins were tainted.
He glanced at his brother. It was John, not he, who was heir; John, not Alasdair Og, who would be judged by his predecessor. He was himself entirely free to act in whatever manner he chose — with my loins left out of it!
Argyll stopped altogether as he reached the enemy from whom the shout had issued, the white-haired Glencoe giant known to all as MacIain. There Argyll held his ground, if briefly, to match fixed, unwavering gazes; to witness an enmity and spite that were yet mutual but would be, very shortly, a one-sided affair, because only a man with a head on his shoulders could nurse a Highland feud.
Nostrils pinched in Argyll's aristocratic face, as if he smelled a foul odor. Unlike MacIain's it was not a warrior's face, not the face of a man who wielded a sword but who wielded the words that would set men against men, Scot against Scot, Highlander against Highlander.
The Earl of Argyll disdained his soiled kilt and torn coat, the spatters of flung mud, the ruffling of his hair by an impudent wind uncognizant of his rank. His bare head, naked of bonnet, struck Dair as oddly vulnerable: a thistle on too slender a stalk. Would the executioner, once his task was completed, catch a fistful of the graying hair and hoist the grisly prize?
Argyll's face was stubbled and grimy. The bruised mouth, so tautly compressed, loosened to emit a curiously flat voice. "There were Campbells before me. There will be Campbells after me. But what will they say of Glencoe when all the MacDonalds are dead?"
It silenced those near enough to hear. In the mass of shorter men, MacIain had no need to raise his voice, to lift a hand, or rely on artifice in stance or gesture to hold the attention of his kin, or the others in the square. He smiled. He jerked his head toward the guillotine. Teeth gleamed briefly in the mass of curling white hair. "Dinna keep her waiting, your woman. She despises a cold cock, aye?"
In the male roar of approbation for the vulgar sally, Argyll was escorted to the Maiden. He offered no statement, no declaration of innocence; he had backed the wrong man and now would die for it, as his father before him, the powerful marquis, had been executed for his beliefs.
But as the Maiden's blade descended, Argyll, leader of Clan Campbell, locked eyes with MacIain. The gaze was broken only as the blade dropped and the neck was severed, and the wind-ruffled head toppled onto stained wood in a gout of arcing blood.
MacIain's eyes narrowed. His head rose a fraction, lifting his bearded chin. Nostrils flared once above the grandiose sweep of dual moustaches. Even as his mouth tightened the flesh by his eyes hardened.
This hunt, then, was finished, but there would be another. Dair, like his father, like his brother, knew too much of Campbells to dismiss the great clan's power with the death of a single man. There would be another.
Uneasily Dair muttered, "There is always another man."
The Earl of Breadalbane, Grey John Campbell, had never been a man who forsook opportunity when it behooved his plans. In his expensive Edinburgh town house near Holyrood Palace, Breadalbane received the news of the Earl of Argyll's execution with the grave concern and deep regret due the bereaved; Argyll had been his nephew. He closeted himself in his private quarters, poured himself whisky, then walked deliberately to the mullioned window overlooking Canongate.
All was darkness, save for a winking necklace of palace lamps, and the diffused glow of distant torches atop the massive rock hosting Edinburgh Castle. Breadalbane stared fixedly at the black bulk of castle. He was a robust man not dissimilar to his dead nephew: clear gray eyes; a narrow, prominent nose; thin, compressed lips; and the fair skin and reddish hair, now graying, not uncommon to Highlanders. He was no longer young, at fifty, but neither was he too old to comprehend or appreciate the politics of the situation.
Breadalbane drank most of his whisky, savoring the pungent, peat-flavored taste. He envisioned the execution; the report said Argyll had coupled with the Maiden in a brief, deadly embrace.
Argyll is dead.
A tremor of unexpected emotion caused the tide of whisky to slop against costly glass. The earl stilled it instantly, squeezing the glass with thin, well- groomed fingers; he was not a man given to physical display, lest it hand claymore to the enemy.
Argyll's death was significant. The enemies of Clan Campbell would move to replace the traditional strength of Argyll's clan — and Breadalbane's — with another, possibly even the tumultuous, thieving MacDonalds, that most despised of all clans, though particularly by Campbells; specifically by Breadalbane. MacDonald holdings were wide-ranging, their numbers vast.
Taut lips parted in a brief rictus of enmity. "Their women are rabbits," Breadalbane murmured, "and their men rut upon them like boars. 'Tis why they steal the Campbell cows, to fill their gawping mouths!"
Argyll is dead.
Breadalbane stood transfixed a moment, staring blindly into darkness. Clan Campbell was in one fell slice of the guillotine blade rendered leaderless.
Argyll is DEAD —
Abruptly he barked a brief, satisfied laugh and raised a mute toast to the executed. He in his nephew's place now commanded Clan Campbell. And he in his own place would find a way to destroy the MacDonalds.
The Laird of Glenlyon let the reeds slip from his mouth. No more keening wail of pipe-song; he was left now with nothing but a clutch of raddled leather hugged against his ribs.
Christ Jesus ... He exhaled heavily, emptying his lungs as the bagpipes had emptied, wishing he might give way to a belly-deep moan as evocative as the instrument's wail and wheeze. But there was no one to fill him again, to set lips to his reeds and breathe new life into his spirit, that he might once again fill the air with a rousing pibroch, a battle rant so stirring that he would go down against the enemy knowing himself invincible.
He was not invincible. The battle he fought was personal, and the enemy himself.
He looked around his room, marking sparse furnishings, an interior as naked as his own. Chesthill was not a huge, imposing manor such as the English had, or rich Lowlanders. It wasn't even a castle, and certainly not a palace. It was, simply, a stone-built Highland house, large enough for Glenlyon, his daughter, his sons, and a handful of loyal Campbell servants. He was laird over all of Glen Lyon, but he wasn't a rich one. He wasn't a poor one. What he was, was bankrupt.
It was dark, save for smoky light exuded from the oil lamp on the table next to his elbow, beside the decanter and brimming silver cup. It cast but piecemeal illumination; the lamp glass was caked black with the soot of oily smoke, so that only the smudged blots made by fingermarks let the light shine through cleanly.
If there were another way ... Glenlyon stirred sharply in the chair: an awkward, involuntary spasm of denial, of acceptance, of an abiding despair impinging on desperation. His movement brought forth a final brief wheeze from the bagpipes. He did not take up the reeds again or set aside the pipes; forgotten, he allowed the instrument to fall slackly between his ribs and the chair as he reached for the cup of whisky.
As he drank, taking solace in the harsh seduction of the liquor, he heard the scratching at the door. No, no — not now — But wishing away solved nothing. If such things as that had power, he'd be a man of honor again, a man with dignity, with all his debts paid off and his heritage unencumbered.
The scratch sounded again, more importunately. He was tempted to ignore it altogether; a servant, receiving no answer, would go away. But he knew the sound. It was Cat, not a gillie; wearily, falling back against his chair, the fifth Laird of Glen Lyon called for his daughter to enter.
She was dressed for bed, as she should be at such a late hour: a tattered tartan plaid doubling as shawl was pulled haphazardly across thin shoulders clad in dingy nightclothes. Her hair was braided carelessly, one loose strand hanging beside her face. It was, like the braid itself, a brilliant, unmistakable red, even in wan light; he had not bequeathed his daughter the yellowed strawberry of his own now-graying hair, nor the watery gray-blue eyes through which he watched the world.
Acknowledgment pinched; he had sired handsome boys, and one unhandsome daughter. What will I do with this lass? What man will have her?
Barefoot, Cat came into the room and stopped but two paces from the open door, as if wary of his mood. She left herself escape; Glenlyon's smile was warped as he recognized the foresight, the care with which she approached the man who had sired her.
He was not so fou, so drunk as to be blind to her resolution. He saw it in her eyes, in her jutting chin, in the stubborn set of her mouth. "Tomorrow," she said.
"Tomorrow," he agreed; there was no need to elaborate.
Blue-green eyes held steady. "Can I come?"
The wide mouth — too wide for her face, he thought absently — tightened fractionally. "You promised me I could go to Edinburgh."
"You will go — but not tomorrow."
She raised her chin. "I'm thirteen, now."
He smiled. As he lifted the cup to his mouth the welcome tang of whisky filled his nostrils, begging to be swallowed. Saliva flowed into his mouth. He savored the peat smell, anticipating the bite, the taste, the warmth, the empowerment — and the escape. "So old?"
It was challenge, not question. "No longer a wee bairn."
He swirled liquor in his cup. The pungency of the whisky, reinforced by the motion, made his eyes water.
"Why can I not go tomorrow?" The plaid slipped off a shoulder; she dragged it up again. In the brief, impatient motion he saw the texture of prominent knuckles newly scraped raw, glistening wetly in lamplight. "You'll be taking Robbie —"
It stopped her in full spate. Straight but eloquent eyebrows slid closer to her hairline. "You willna be taking Robbie ..."
"I said so." The waiting was done. He drank, gulping steadily. He saw the sharpness of her attention center briefly on the cup, as if she blamed whisky for his intransigence, and then her gaze slid aside. "I'm taking no one, Cat. No one but me was summoned."
"Summoned!" Astonishment was plain. "Who can summon you? You're Laird of Glenlyon!"
His hand shook. Whisky slopped over the rim of the cup, trickled between clenched fingers, dripped to his kilted thigh where it beaded briefly on wool, then soaked in slowly. The addition of his other hand temporarily stilled the trembling, but Glenlyon was aware of it nonetheless. The tremors, he knew, were merely outward manifestations of the soul shriveling within.
"Who?" she repeated.
The mutinous set of her mouth slackened. "Oh."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Lady of the Glen"
Copyright © 1996 Jennifer Roberson.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Having become a Diana Gabaldon fan, I did not hesitate to read The lady of the Glen when she (Diana) recommended the book. It is indeed a romance,historically based on events that did occur in the bloody & devious history of the Highlands subserviance by the English. A fast research into the Glencoe Massacre will show exactly how throughly sneaky,vile,underhanded, and awful the English crown was to the native people of Scotland . There was no 'human rights doctorin'at the time, fire & sword was the way of the British Crown.And to with stand the certain slaughter and unspeakable atrocities laddled out by the Government hunta, people were force to turn against their own family ties to survive. This novel shows all the layers of the political ,social, & moral tribulations Scotland and her people went thru. The fact that a novel can interweave a love story with the history,albeit a bloody one, is a major coup. You meet the herione 'Catriona', a woman in a household of stubborn men,trying to make them see the foley of their pride,'Dair' the young man who must follow in traditions footsteps, even if it means the loss of all that is dear to him,the Fathers, Cat's & Dair's, neither willing to give an inch,willing to sacrafice all that is special to them for the sake of Stubborness, and the family on both sides that pay the price for the foolishness, This book paints a picture of the depths men are willing to go to,to obtain what they think is 'necessary'. I felt this book was on a par with Diana Gabaldon's series, I wished there was more of Catriona's & Dair's life to share.
This was a very good book and an enjoyable read. I really enjoyed the two main characters, Catriona (Cat) and Alasdair (Dair) a lovely Romeo and Juliet story. A pleasant change to have the heroine not be drop dead gorgeous. Their characters were well drawn, intelligent and displayed great chemistry. I enjoyed their playful banter as they "courted" and afterward when they become lovers. LOL when she became worried after their first time together in bed, as her brothers had always told Cat her tongue would shrivel a man's --- well you know what. Even though when Cat and Dair get together they are a loving and lusty couple, the sex scenes are mostly left to the imagination and not overly drawn out, which helps make this book more appropriate for a younger reader than many books available these days. The author was able to convey much just with the subtle sexual banter betwen these two, it was very funny and sweet. Although there is the "romance" of the book with the two main characters, this is more about the massacre of Glencoe, a little known piece of Scottish history, and a very sad tale for so many members of this clan. Don't let the cover of the book fool you, this is not a Julie Garwood type of book where the story is mostly fluff to place the H&H in in order to write steamy love scenes. And I'm not knocking Garwood, I loved Ransom -- this is just a different type of book altogether despite what it appears from the cover. If you are looking for a light book heavy on romance and light on the history, this book is not for you. All in all quite an enjoyable read.
I loved this book, I guess I'm just hooked on Scottish history, even thou this one has a love interest ,it shows how the clans of Scotlan defeated themselves, rather than letting the English do it.
LADY OF THE GLEN by Jennifer Roberson is an interesting medieval Scottish Historical Fiction set in 1685 Scotland. For a romp through 17th century Scotland you must read "Lady of the Glen". It is riveting tale of treachery, betrayal,savagery and a splendor set against a Scotland background. Catriona Campbell and Alasdair Og MacDonald know they are destined to be together although,their clans are enemies, but can their love outlast the times? They are used as pawns of war,during the dangerous times between England and Scotland, will their love survive? Please be aware as with most Highland stories, the language is unique to them, if you don't read many Scottish stories, it can be a bit confusing, but "Lady of the Glen" is an enjoyable read and one not to miss. Very emotional, yet a very satisfying read! I enjoyed Dair and Cat's story and learning more on the Massacre of Glencoe on February 13, 1692. I love Scottish tales and "Lady of the Glen" is a unique tale of love, sacrifice, betrayal and the struggle to survive during the 17th century in a country England wants badly enough to murder the innocent and guilty alike,every Scot under the age of seventy was to be murdered. What a tale! Well written with engaging characters and an intriguing storyline. Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4 HEAT RATING: MILD REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
A very good book. It was sometimes hard to understand the Scottish dialect especially at the beginning, but once I got into the flow of it, it helped immerse you in the story. Cat and Dair are strong, honorable characters that I liked instantly. My only complaints are that the lead up to the climax seemed to drag in several places and I wished that more time had been spent getting to know Cat and Dair as a couple and how they dealt with the aftermath of the betrayal that upended their lives so drastically.
A tale as beautiful as that of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, the story of the forbidden love of Catriona Campbell and Dair MacDonald touched my heart. The bold highland maid was an ideal heroine and the romance she found with an enemy is a classic theme. Roberson's elegant storytelling brought this tale to life and captured my heart.
Scottish history has been a passion of mine for quite some time, and the story of Glencoe, as horrific and tragic as it was, remains most intriguing. It's surprising that more novels aren't written based on that event, but Ms. Roberson's retelling is good. The romance itself is rather implausible...while inter-clan marriages occurred all the time, I have a hard time swallowing one between such hated enemies. But I guess that's what makes it such a good yarn. You might want to brush up on your history a bit before undertaking this book...it will make much more sense if you get a general background of the people and events of the time.
I discovered this book while searching for literature/historical romance and was intrigued by the setting (Scotland) and the description given by the publisher. I didn't expect this book to be more than an average read but I was wonderfully surprised to enjoy every word of this story. It was well researched and was a part of history I was unfamiliar with. It is a tragic story that needed to be told both for its' cruelty and for its' courage. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys history come alive with real people as well as anyone who just likes a great story. I intend to find out more about Scottish history because of this book. Enjoy!
I really like Jennifer Roberson's books and all but this one was so bad that instead of not being able to put it down, I couldn't pick it up. There was no action, no plot, no suspense. It was incredibly slow. The two main characters seemed just to indifferent to each other. The main character, Catriona, was an idiot. It was very predictable. I didn't like Alasdair either. He didn't have a mind of his own. I recommend that you give the book a try and see if you like it for yourself. It was well written and everything but the plot was dry and used up.
I do not usually read this type of romance, but a friend loaned it to me, so I tried it. It was a good book, and hard to put down book. I have been in love/ hate relationships before and this sort of reminded me of them... the author did a good job with character and plot.