Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki

She'll put her life on the line for him . . .

When Akira Ayres finds the brawny Scot with a musket ball in his thigh, the healer has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to save his life. Even if it means fleeing with him across the Highlands to tend to his wounds while English redcoats are closing in. Though Akira is as fierce and brave as any of her clansmen, even she's intimidated by the fearsome, brutally handsome Highlander who refuses to reveal his name.

Yet she can never learn his true identity.

Geordie knows if Akira ever discovers he's the Duke of Gordon, both her life and his will be forfeit in a heartbeat. The only way to keep the lass safe is to ensure she's by his side day and night. But the longer he's with her, the harder it becomes to think of letting her go. Despite all their differences, despite the danger-he will face death itself to make her his ...

Series: The Highland Duke #1| Publisher: Forever | Genre: Historical Romance | Source: Publisher| Rating: 3 Cups

A gypsy healer rescuing/falling in love with a Jacobite she saved from the battlefield. It has potential to be interesting.
Here’s what’s going on. When Akira finds an injured Highlander under a broom bush, she knows she must do whatever it takes to save his life. Although she hadn’t thought that would include going on the run with an army of redcoats pursuing them. And to make matters worse, her patient is refusing to reveal his true identity.
The Duke of Gordon knows if his true identity is revealed it will put both his and Akira’s neck in a noose so, to keep them both safe, he’s content to just be Geordie. Not only does being Geordie make it safer to hide from the redcoats, it makes it easier to grow closer to Akira. Although how will the healer feel when she realizes he’s a duke?
I enjoyed the premise of the story. A healer of questionable lineage falls for the Jacobite she saves from the battlefield who also happens to be a duke. Not only does it have the commoner/nobility trope, which I enjoy, it has Highlanders and not just any Highlanders but Jacobites, which I love.
For the most part, I really liked the characters. Sure, they had their what-the-heck-are-they-doing moments, but overall, I found them to be likable. Geordie is a Duke fighting against Queen Anne in hopes of restoring her half-brother James Stuart to the throne. He’s loyal to the cause but he didn’t fight under his colors in fear of losing his lands and title. He’s been a bit of a rake in the past which caused his first marriage to end in divorce. Although when he meets Akira, he realizes that she’s the only one for him and he’s willingly to do whatever he can to prove that he’s changed. Akira’s a healer but she’s also a gypsy so she has that stigma attached to her. Even though she’s agreed to aid Geordie, she’s hesitant because of events that have happened in the past, so it was interesting watching how she let herself trust him.
The romance between them was a bit slow, but I enjoyed that. They were both strangers so it was nice to watch their relationship develop and grow as they learned more about each other.
I really enjoyed Akira and Geordie and had fun watching them figure out things, although I struggled with the historical aspect of the book and, at the beginning, it kept me from getting into the book. I mean, I know that authors often use their creative license to bend things to suit their books but, given that George
‘Geordie’ Gordon, 1st Duke of Gordon, was an actual person plucked from history, I was expecting this book to remain somewhat faithful to the actual timeline of history.
Here’s what bothered me the most. The book opens during the aftermath of the battle of Hoord Moor near the town of Dunkeld on August 21, 1703. Hoord Moor is fictional, but on August 21, 1689 the battle of Dunkeld, which Geordie actually fought in, occurred. Yes, in the author’s notes at the back of the book, the author admits to warping the timeline just so the book would fit in with the timeline of this series, but to me, it just doesn’t work. Unless you’re writing alternative historical fiction, plucking out an actual person from history and placing them—and events— in a different time just doesn’t work me.
Also, the fact that she chose 1703 as time to kick up a Jacobite rebellion had me rolling my eyes. In September of 1701 James II (the deposed king) died creating a lull in the Jacobite rebellion that didn’t start up until March of 1708 when James III (also known as the Old Pretender) tried to land, unsuccessfully, on the Firth of Forth.
Even though the book was rife with historical inaccuracies, I just wanted to point out another thing that pulled me out of the book was the fact that she had Geordie, who had just went through his fictional battle, wearing a doublet and a cravat.  The doublet went out of fashion a good twenty years before the actual battle that Geordie fought in, so her Geordie wouldn’t have been wearing one either. Also, no Highland, Duke or not, would have worn a cravat into battle. In fact, during the actual battle of Dunkeld (and most of those following), most of the Highlanders went into battle naked so as not to be hindered by their clothing catching on things.
Overall, I liked Geordie and Akira and I liked watching the relationship blossom between them, but this one was a miss for me. Given the 1st Duke of Gordon fought during the birth of Jacobite rebellion, this book could had potential to be something not seen in historical romance, but the author chose to place Geordie in the eighteenth-century to fit what has become the mold for Highlander romances.  

Does it bother you when authors take
 historical characters out of their own timeline?

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