Tag Archive | Scottish Medieval Series

ARC Book Review-A Sword Upon The Rose by Brenda Joyce

The Sword Upon The Rose
Scottish Medieval (2)
Brenda Joyce
Harlequin HQN
E Book
Published June 2014
384 Pages
Medieval Historical Romance
ISBN:  9780373778850
Authors Website 

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Joyce takes you back to the Highlands, where the battle for land, liberty and love rages on…

A bastard daughter, Alana was cast away at birth and forgotten by her mighty Comyn family. Raised in solitude by her grandmother, she has remained at a safe distance from the war raging through Scotland. But when a battle comes close to home and she finds herself compelled to save an enemy warrior from death, her own life is thrown into danger.

Iain of Islay’s allegiance is to the formidable Robert Bruce. His beautiful rescuer captures both his attention and his desire, but Alana must keep her identity a secret even as she is swept up into a wild and forbidden affair. But as Bruce’s army begins the final destruction of the earldom, Alana must decide between the family whose acceptance she’s always sought, or the man she so wrongly loves.

My Review

I received a ARC copy in exchange for a honest review 
Alana, is known as the bastard daughter and has been hidden away, and along with her gift or foresight, she is feared among many, and used by her own family. She is the niece of the leader of the Comyn family, but is hardly treated as such. When Robert Bruce and his forces start attacking her families’ holdings, her uncle is desperate to find a way to stop him, with using Alana as the means of doing it. But when she has a vision, of a fierce warrior being betrayed and almost killed, she knows that she must save him, she doesn’t know why, she just knows that she must. While answering summons, Alana and her grandmother, come across a battle on a holding, and she sees the man from her vision, and manages to barely save his life, and a fierce attraction between Alana and the infamous Iain of Islay begins. Alana withholds her true identity from him and her gift, knowing that he could very well hand her over to Bruce and have her killed. So she must keep silent. But when they meet again, a sensual embrace turns into a love affair that will take Alana and Iain amid the dangers of the war that could tear their love apart, or bring about a match never to be broken…

A Sword Upon The Rose is the second book in this series, and  it follows up where the first book left off. I have to say that this story aroused many sensations, and it is pack with plenty of historical information, that only adds a certain depth to this romance, which leaves a feeling of intensity from beginning to end. It begins with Alana having a vision of the infamous Iain. Then she meets him for the first time shortly after, and for the first time Alana feels the tender touch of a man, a man who is powerful and a warrior and fighting with Bruce, but treats her far better than anyone except for her grandmother has ever done. As tensions rise between the two armies, Alana soon faces a difficult choice, the loyalty to her family or loyalty to the only man she has ever loved. Alana feels torn in two, but she knows in her heart who has her loyalty and her heart, and no matter what the future holds, she knows she needs to take a chance on that one person who cares more for her than anyone ever has.

The characters in this story are very moving and there seems to be a pull the readers feels for them, almost without fully realizing it. The hero, Iain, is a hardened warrior, loyal and has had to make difficult choices. He is very sensual and possessive and is the type to give you weak knees. Alana hasn’t had the easiest life either. Being born a bastard, and has always felt unloved most of her life, but she has such a inner strength that is admirable and I couldn’t help but find myself endeared to both of these characters, they seems so good for each other. However it isn’t all roses and daisies, this story isn’t for the faint of heart, its not a light romance, but has a deep and is full of turmoil and conflict, but is one of the most satisfying romances I have ever read.

Rich in history significance, intense in the engaging plot, powerful in this love story that tugs at those heart strings, and will create a beyond memorable experience of stepping back in time, and feeling every riveting display of emotion that engages the reader from the beginning. A GLORIOUS TALE TO TREASURE!!

My Grade 
4.5 Blossoms

Heat Rating 

Other Books In Series 
A Rose In The Storm

Book Review-A Rose In The Storm

A Rose In The Storm
Scottish Medieval (1)
Brenda Joyce
Published June 25 2013
438 Pages
Medieval Scottish Highlands
ISBN: 978-0-373-77770-9
Authors Website

Join New York Times bestselling author Brenda Joyce for an epic story of undying love and forbidden desire in the Highlands…

When Rivalry Becomes Passion

With warfare blazing through Scotland, the fate of the Comyn-MacDougall legacy depends on one woman. Recently orphaned, young Margaret Comyn must secure her clan’s safety through an arranged marriage. But when an enemy invasion puts her at the mercy of the notorious Wolf of Lochaber, her every loyalty—and secret want—will be challenged.

And A Kingdom Is At Stake

Legendary warrior Alexander “The Wolf” MacDonald rides with Robert Bruce to seize the throne of Scotland. But when he takes the fiery Lady Margaret prisoner, she quickly becomes far more than a valuable hostage. For the passion between them threatens to betray their families, their country . . . and their hearts.

My Review 

Lady Margaret, has returned to her mothers home, at Castle Fyne, which is now part of her dowry. With Margaret betrothed to a Englishman, she knows she has little choice in the matter. She only hopes she will have a good match like her parents did. Right before she heads south to get married, she wants to visit her lands, remembering her childhood there. She and her brother arrive, and get a welcome she hoped they would receive. But shortly thereafter a army of hundreds come upon the Castle, and their leader Alexander MacDonald, “The Wolf” demanding she surrender herself in order to save her people which are few and don’t stand much chance. However Margaret, knows her mother would defend it with her life, so Margaret knows she has no choice but to defend it herself. After battling and fighting, her people are injured and dying, so she raises the white flag and surrenders herself, her people and the Castle Fyne into the hands of Alexander MacDonald, knowing she doesn’t have any choice. Her people are her top priority. When she meets Alexander face to face, a beautiful specimen of a man, she is intrigued by his manner toward her. He is hard, and unrelenting, but there is a certain desire that builds between them. Margaret feels herself slowly switching loyalties, when she begins to give her heart away to this warrior, who is fierce and protective, and wants only her.

A Rose in The Storm is the most recent release from Brenda Joyce, and is the first in her newest series, which is set in the medieval era in Scotland. I have enjoyed Brenda Joyce, and she has done fabulous work, and I do love it when she does historical’s, especially with the Medieval sub genre. When I saw that this was finally available at my local library, I snatched it up. I have been reading quite a bit of regency’s so its refreshing to read something different and from a different time frame. A Rose In The Storm is set in the early 1300’s in Scotland, when amidst fighting the English, the different clans were having to decide where their loyalties lie. This story does involve Robert Bruce, whose goal was to take over the Scotland throne. In the beginning it starts with Bruce building up his army and followers, and Alexander is one of his top warriors. Alexander is well known for never having lost a battle, a fierce warrior and passionate lover. His goal is to capture the Lady Margaret but more importantly seize the Castle Fyne, due to its strategic location. He has no wish in harming Margaret, just the opposite. Even though in the beginning they are enemies, and Margaret will do anything to escape or try to find information that would be useful for her family. We see that Margaret starts to develop feelings for Alexander, and he returns them, both are a bit stubborn in being fully honest with each other, although Alexander is more upfront with Margaret. There is quite a bit of conflict that rises up in this story, and the more you progress in the story, the higher the intensity level.

The characters both the main and sub characters were vividly etched into the story, and written in such a way, that you can’t help but feel enthralled by these in depth characteristics that captivate you. Alexander was a wonderful hero, tough, masculine, sensual yet very protective and passionate. He was great to get to know, War is life for him and he loves a good battle. It is a part of who he is and Joyce definitely writes him well into the story he comes to life in the readers eyes. Margaret I had no complaints about. I think I enjoyed her tenacity and strong willed personality from the first chapter. At first you see that she doesn’t seem to be a fighter in any way, since she just accepts a match she doesn’t want. But when she refuses to surrender to the “Wolf” and fights and works with her people to save her home, you can see that although she is stubborn and doesn’t think things through, she will fight for those she loves at any cost. I really enjoyed how this story turned out in the end, even though there were a few sub characters I really fell in love with, and didn’t like their ending, it does go with the history books. You can tell that Joyce has definitely done her homework, and I love how she brings this era of Scotland to life with the details and intensity of the time period. So if you are a history buff like myself, this type of book is one of the reasons I adore historical romances. You learn so much about the history and life of these people who had a passion for life and to fight for what they believed in, and there is much evidence of it in this story.

Overall I fell in love with the drama and passion of the time setting, the lively character, the escalating intensity of the plot that seemed to carry you away back in time. There was so much packed in this story that it overwhelms your senses, guaranteed to require a tissue or two or three. It will enthrall you from the first page to the last. EXTRAORDINARY!!!

First Line 
“It is too damned quiet.”

Favorite Quote 
He kissed her. His mouth was hard, uncompromising. But it was not hurtful or unpleasant. Her heart began to thunder, her blood to rage. And her every imminent protest died. She reached for his shoulders, almost helplessly. And his kiss changed.
It became hungry. 

My Grade 
4 Blossoms

Heat Rating 

Other Books In Series 
A Sword Upon The Rose