Following the disastrous defeat of the clans at Culloden, Scottish Chief’s son Diarmad Ramsay makes his dying father a promise. Diarmad will play the part of Bonny Prince Charlie in an effort to help the true Prince escape the Highlands. With only the fiery Mara MacIvor for guide and with danger on his heels, he must risk all for a Cause in which he no longer believes.
Mara MacIvor considers Ramsay a poor substitute for her beloved Prince. Ramsay may be one of the bonniest men she’s ever met and a braw sight with a sword in his hand, but his disillusionment makes a wide gulf between them. Pursued through the Highlands by Sassenachs and ruthless Highland renegades bent on claiming the price on Prince Charlie’s head, their physical attraction soon becomes a conflagration. But will they ever be bound by more than Diarmad’s vow of honor?
Duty versus love is a theme that threads through this wild trek in the cold, wet Highlands of Scotland in the eighteenth century when Prince Charles Edward, with a 30,000 pounds reward on his head, must escape the clutches of England.
Diarmad Ramsey made a promise to his dying father. He will carry out the mission his older brother Cainnech was to have done. His father says, “Do it for clan honor.”
Dairmad sets out on the “ill-fated scheme” with his guide Mara, a young woman whose family had been murdered. Her loyalty to “The Cause,” makes Diarmad think she is in love with Prince Charles Edward.
Diarmad is a decoy. He looks much like the prince and is supposed to lead the British away from the real Prince Charles Edward, a man he hates.
British soldiers and Scot renegades make life miserable for Diarmad and Mara, as does the cold, the rain, and the lack of shelter they must endure. Neither of them expects to get out of the mission alive.
Things looked hopeless. How the author makes their narrow escapes believable keeps one turning pages. Laura Strickland does know how to weave an attention-keeping story together with elements that make the reader feel right there with the characters.
The sweet reading is the love and the love scenes that are sprinkled throughout the difficult journey. Mara loves this ‘beautiful, maddening, heroic devil of a man,” and Diarmad loves Mara, yet there is someone back home he thinks about that gives him pause.
Once back home, Diarmad has the weight of being the new laird of his clan—a clan hit hard by all the warring that has taken place. Duty and desire have him conflicted. Mara’s heart breaks in a thousand pieces. She plans to leave.
To tell how the author resolves this conflict would be a spoiler. I’ll just say Laura Strickland does a masterful job of keeping all the characters ‘in character,’ gives some really ‘bad guys’ their comeuppance, and manages to give more than one couple a happy-ever-after
Highland historical novels are one of my favorites. Honor Bound was a joy to read.