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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Heart of the Highlands: The Beast is a historical romance novel by April Holthaus set in the wild lands of medieval Scotland. Part one in the Protectors of the Crown series, the novel weaves the expected intense romantic action into an unexpectedly intriguing political landscape. The Protectors of the Crown are allied to King James V of Scotland and are set to work against the burgeoning threat of English invasion. One such warrior is the Beast, our hero Ian MacKay, who captures nineteen-year-old Keira Sinclair when she is on her way to marry her betrothed, a powerful man whom she doesn’t love. Amidst the war and threat all around them, this unlikely pair first find attraction, then love despite their differences.
Romance fans will find very little to complain about in Heart of the Highlands: The Beast, as author April Holthaus displays a split-perspective narrative which follows both Ian and Keira through their gamut of emotions. The Highlands of Scotland are beautifully described and the political plot between the clans and the warriors is well developed and credible, grounding the whole romantic storyline in a place that feels real. I particularly enjoyed Holthaus’s use of dialogue to make the broad Scots’ accents stand out, and the fact that Keira was a feisty heroine rather than a passive one. Overall, The Beast was a highly enjoyable romance, and I’d recommend it to any reader looking for a lavish, imaginative and high-quality story to lose themselves in for a while.