Release Date: January 26, 2021
Genre: Historical Romance – Highlander
Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca
Length: 384 pages
Rating: 3 Stars
Highland Defender by Kathryn Le Veque a straightforward and satisfying adventure romance. Although the novel is the second in Le Veque’s Scots and Swords series, Highland Defender works well as a standalone novel.
The story follows Bane Morgan, a shamed Highland warrior fleeing from his past and losing himself to drink in Edinburgh. A woman’s fearful screams trigger his warrior instincts and, in a hilariously zany rescue sequence involving dropped sausages and a weaponized chamber pot, Bane meets Lucia Symington.
Lucia and Bane’s meeting results in the sweet sort of insta-love where two down on their luck people dare to be vulnerable enough to reach out in kindness, and are rewarded with the first hints of something more. They are a low-steam couple, very cute and kissy with some sweetly sensual and well-timed love scenes.
With newfound purpose, Bane dedicates himself to the quest of rescuing his lady by helping her pay off her deceased father’s debt. Setting off to the Ludus Caledonia, Bane reclaims his inner warrior and is prepared to fight for the woman he loves. This gladiator-style fighting organization set in the Highlands is an interesting backdrop which drew me to the novel in the first place. I wish that more of the main conflict would have come from this interesting set piece.
Lucia and Bane are down on their luck, seeking better opportunities for themselves. There is no question that they are good people, which makes the internal conflict quite sparse. This lack of an inner character journey makes for a rather light read. The meat of the story becomes heavily reliant on the whims of the cartoonishly evil antagonists.
The novel establishes firm lines between good characters and bad characters. It’s fun to root for the young lovers and dislike the wild antics of the antagonists, but if you’re looking for nuance this might not scratch that itch. It was a charming and satisfying Highland romance story for a chilly winter afternoon.
I received a complimentary ARC of this book from SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.