Review of A ROGUE IN A KILT by Sandy Blair (see her website)
Zebra Books, December 2004
Sir Angus McDougall has one chance--if he can marry a Lady within three months, his Lord will grant him a fief of his own. The only problem is, Angus's reputation goes before him. 'Blood' is known for eating his enemies' livers on the battlefield and few women are prepared to put up with that--expecially the kind of noble woman he needs to win the bet and his property. Things only get worse when he runs across a beautiful woman in the woods--a woman he believes he's accidentally injured when he tries to save her from a wolf.
Birdie 'Shame' is among the last of her kind--a pagan, worshipper of the Goddess, and a Spae/healer, using the Goddess's power to take the injuries of others onto herself. Weakened by saving her friend the wolf, Birdie can't resist when Angus drags her from her safe glade and sets off across Scotland.
Angus doesn't know what he has in Birdie--other than a beautiful woman who just doesn't meet the qualifications he needs for his fiefdom--but others do, and they want her back. A witch/healer is a useful tool for a medieval Scottish lord--especially one who intends to make war on his neighbors. Killing Blood McDougall would just be a bonus.
It doesn't take Birdie long to fall in love with Angus, but that only makes her problems worse. In Medieval Scotland, being a Pagan isn't a choice, it's an execution waiting to happen. Hidden away in her glade, she was safe, but Angus insists on dragging her out in public. Unfortunately, although he claims her as his 'woman,' he remains steadfast on his goal to find a noble woman to wed. Naturally, life doesn't make that easy for him.
Author Sandy Blair (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Blair) combines humor and adventure in an exciting second novel. Birdie is the perfect innocent, brought up by herself, protected from the world but now a woman and ready to experience it. Although Angus has seen the world, he too retains a sort of primative innocence that makes him a perfect match for the feisty Pagan. Blair's wit shines through in the continued confusion and miscommunication between the Knight and the Pagan--I found the scene where Birdie became convinced Angus was merely fattening her up to eat her especially funny.
Fans of Blair's first book, A MAN IN A KILT (see our review) will be happy to see Duncan and Lady Beth again--as they cope with combining modern ideas and industry with the charm of Medieval Scotland.
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