Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Date of publication: September 24th, 2019
Series: Royal Highlander
Highland Jewel—Book 2
Highland Sword—Book 3 (expected publication date: March 31st 2020)
The next book in the new lush Scottish historical series from USA Today bestselling author, May McGoldrick.
Maisie Murray is the picture of docility, quiet and compliant in the eyes of her family. To her activist friends, however, she’s a fearless crusader for women’s rights. In the wake of the Peterloo Massacre, Maisie and a friend found the Edinburgh Female Reform Society, and she carries the banner for universal suffrage.
Niall Campbell, a hero of the wars, a decorated officer of the Royal Highland Regiment, is battle weary and searching for stability in his life. A fierce warrior by training and a poet at heart, Niall walks away from the shining career that lies ahead of him, to the dismay of his superiors. In saving his sister when a protest turns violent, he meets Maisie. Their relationship begins as one of experience versus idealism, of scars versus hope. Soon, however, he finds in Maisie the heart he longs for.
When Niall’s sister is arrested and disappears, he quickly realizes his life is not his own, for the British authorities have a mission for him to accomplish in exchange for his sister’s freedom. Overnight, Maisie loses Niall, her friend, and her home. And the wake of the riots that sweep through the cities of Scotland, Maisie’s own sister Isabella is branded a traitor to the crown, and the family must flee to the Highlands. Here in the heart of the Highlands, Maisie runs into Niall again. He has a new name and carries a message of hope―but Niall has a task to complete―and their future rests on their ability to overcome the forces that divide them, or―for the future of Scotland―she must stop the man who owns her heart.
Caroline stared down at a carriage that had been brought around from the stables.Highland Jewel by May McGoldrick
Highland Jewel has been on my must-read list since I read Highland Crown. I usually don’t get excited for 2nd books in series. They can be used as a filler book, or the characters aren’t as good as book 1. I have very rarely read a series where book two not only keeps up the pace from book one but exceeds it. Highland Jewel did that.
Highland Jewel’s plotline was fast-paced and well fleshed out. There was no lag in the plotline, which surprised me. There was also no dropped storylines, which thrilled me to no end. What I liked is that the author took the storyline back to before the events in Highland Crown. She was able to make a believable storyline for Maisie while keeping true to the events in Highland Crown. I loved it!!!!!
Maisie surprised me. The picture the author painted of her in Highland Crown was turned upside down. I would have never expected her to be a crusader for women’s rights. What stunned me even further was that she was doing this in an era where women had zero rights. Her passion for what she did carried off the pages. I didn’t understand why she didn’t come clean to her sister and her husband with what she was doing. It puzzled me for most of the book. But a crucial scene with Archibald answered that for me.
I loved Niall. I liked how he had an open mind. When he opened up to Maisie and explained that his parents raised him like that, I started to love him. For a man in that time to think as he did was amazing. He might not have agreed with what Maisie and his sister did, but he supported them. I did feel bad that he was pressured to do what he did. But, he ended up getting the last laugh in the end. Loved it!!
The romance between Niall and Maisie was bittersweet. I loved watching them fall in love. That scene in the coffee house was terrific. Just two people talking and getting to know each other. Their forced separation brought tears to my eyes. What Maisie had to endure, and because of what Niall was forced to do, it made their reunion bittersweet.
While Highland Jewel can be read as a stand-alone book, I would advise reading Highland Crown first. That way there is no confusion when the book goes back to eight months previously, right before the events of Highland Crown.
The storyline with Cinaed was continued into this book. It is essential to keep that storyline in mind because everything that happens in the latter half of the book centers around it. Cinaed’s mother is discussed more, and the real reason she sent Cinaed away is revealed.
The storyline involving Fiona was intriguing. She was part of the same feminist movement that Maisie was. I did raise my eyebrows when she was arrested and held. I had a feeling why, and my feeling was right.
The end of Highland Jewel was exciting. I loved how Niall and Maisie’s storyline ended. Talk about giving me a heart attack at one point. I almost hyperventilated!! The storyline with Cinaed and his mother took an exciting turn, as did the storyline with Fiona. The lead into Morrigan’s book was excellent!! I can’t wait to read it.
I would give Highland Jewel an Adult rating. There is sex. There is no language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I would reread Highland Jewel. I would recommend it to family and friends.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**