Merrimon Book Reviews

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Blood on the Tartan
Blood on the Tartan by Chris Holmes
by Chris Holmes

Scottish history and romance

Blood On The Tartan is Scottish historical romance set during the mid 19th century during the Highland Clearances. Chris Holmes puts the history back into historical romance in a manner that heightens the romance. The reader is easily drawn into the scene and characters through this author's depiction of the historical world.

Catherine Ross remembers her childhood the Scottish clearances of Glencalvie all too well. When mass evictions appear eminent, threatening to empty the glens of her people to make way for sheep, Catherine rallies her people and becomes the center of resistance. Constable Ian MacGregor is sworn to uphold the law and he takes his oath and his honor seriously. Torn between his love for Catherine and his job, Ian must decide. Can their love survive? Can they survive the approaching battle?

Chris Holmes stands out as a historical romance writer in his creation of characters. Catherine is defiant yet a certain calm steadfastness emerges in the midst of her defiance. Ian is a man of honor, torn in his loyalties, yet both tender and intelligent. He knows how to stand up for his love and work behind the scenes. Catherine and Ian's love develops gradually, ever increasing in depth as the two characters discover their love not only through their physical attraction but also through their actions towards one another. The secondary characters add intrigue, emotional and historical authenticity. The time and place setting is dramatic, the romance riveting, though not overplayed, giving a richness and depth to this read that will appeal to romance and historical fiction readers.

I adore this Scottish historical romance! Blood On The Tartan has more history than some historical romances --- but never dry history in this book! Readers will find themselves completely immersed in the scene, the history and the characters. Chris Holmes creates a multi-dimensional theme of justice in his depiction of all the nuances and forces at work from the laird down to the land tenants. This intricate historical detail emanates from the story itself, heightening the suspense and the reader's understanding of the history in a vivid manner as if it were current and present. The extra historical detail just makes their life stories more memorable and lasting because the emotions were grounded in events.

The ending is quite special and bridges links with Catherine's mother's story as well as opening up this romance to an expansive view of Scottish history and ancestry. Blood On The Tartan is a must read for romance and historical fiction lovers of Scottish heritage.

Publisher: Highland Press (October 2007)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews

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