Scotland, 1455. King James the Second is caught in a bitter feud with the powerful Black Douglas clan.
After the king’s latest insult – the unjust confiscation of Douglas lands – Lord John Douglas, Earl of Kildrummond, fears his quiet realm will be next. In a bid to thwart the king’s ambition, the ailing nobleman deems that his successor will not be a Douglas. Instead, Kildrummond will pass to a distant relation: the landless, wealthless Lachlan Ramsay. There is one catch, however … Lachlan must marry Lord Kildrummond’s illegitimate daughter, Moira MacInnes.
Lachlan does not wish for a wife. Moira does not wish for a husband. The arrangement on offer, however, will give them both the one thing they do wish for: Kildrummond. If they agree to marry – on the understanding that they will have the union swiftly annulled upon the earl’s death – they will both get what they want.
It is a simple enough plan, but can they carry their deception through to the end? When passions ignite, will Moira and Lachlan discover they want more than just Kildrummond?
There is a legend familiar to those who call the island of Fara their home. It is one that is passed down through the generations. From mothers who whisper the tale to their bairns as they float into dreams each night. From starry-eyed lasses who pray to find for themselves the undying love of which it speaks. From elders who know the magic of the thick and inexplicable mist surrounding this, and no other, of Orkney’s islands which rise from the sea off Scotland’s northern coast.
As the daughter of Clan Gallach’s chief, Norah knows the legend better than anyone on the island. It tells of a lady who waits in the mists of Fara for her long lost love to return to her. It’s an entertaining story, to be sure. But it is no more than fantasy. Or so the islanders say. But Norah is not so certain. All her life she’s felt that the legend is more than simple folklore, that the lady of the mist is more real than anyone wishes to believe.
But these are turbulent times, marked by the very real tales of Norse invaders and their brutality. When her people are conquered by a band of fearsome Vikings, one among them will blur the lines between reality and legend like never before. For Norah cannot help but feel that she knows him … from some other time … from some other life …
Tensions rise in the Highlands as the Scots fight for their independence from English tyranny. But amidst the chaos, Robbie MacGillivray and Jane Sewell are able to carve out a sliver of happiness for themselves, however brief and intermittent their time together may be. The odds are against them: he is the dispossessed chief of Clan Gillivray; she is the young, English wife of his enemy, Lord Reginald D’Aubrey, Baron of Dunloch.
Those odds will eventually topple their precariously balanced happiness. Infuriated by the MacGillivray chief’s royal pardon, Lord Reginald will stop at nothing to bring the chief of Clan Gillivray to his death. Caught in the middle of the conflict, Jane must decide, once and for all, where her loyalties lie – with her English King, Edward the Longshanks, or with her love, her Highlander?
And what will she do when the true laird of Dunloch returns?
Author Veronica Bale continues her debut trilogy with the anticipated second volume in the Highland Loyalties series.
Robert MacGillivray, chief of Clan Gillivray and outlaw, has fled his former home of Dunloch Castle to avoid capture by Lord Reginald D’Aubrey, the English baron who has sworn to bring him down. His departure leaves the young and naive Jane Sewell, Robbie’s love … and Lord Reginald’s English bride, vulnerable.
Day after day Jane waits for word of Robbie, growing more and more despondent when nothing is to be heard – until the day that Robert MacGillivray resurfaces in a bold and daring move to reunite and strengthen his clan.
What does this bold move mean for Jane? Will her loyalties remain with Lord Reginald as her husband, or will she find them swaying towards Robbie once more?
Author Veronica Bale’s debut novel, Bride of Dunloch, is a gripping story of love and conflict in the time of the first Scottish War of Independence, and of one young girl’s struggle to determine for herself what is right and what is wrong.
In the watery grey light of a late spring dawn, two forces meet to oppose one another at the main gate of Dunloch Castle, an imposing structure nestled deep in the Scottish Highlands. On the attacking side are the MacGillivrays—a clan dispossessed of its ancestral lands and home because its members would not swear loyalty to the English King Edward the First. Dunloch is theirs, and they will take it back—by any means necessary.
So is the world in which Jane Sewell, a young and naive English girl of noble birth whose hand has been given away in marriage, finds herself. It is a land that is as bloody and brutal as it is beautiful. But when she stumbles upon a wounded Scottish warrior from the enemy MacGillivray clan, her compassionate nature will not allow her to abandon him. Against her better judgement, she resolves to help him in secret.
As tensions at Dunloch intensify, however, Jane finds herself torn between her duty—and her heart. For in these Scottish Highlands, loyalties can change as quickly as the weather …