Title: Shadow Music (Highland's Laird #3)
Author: Julie Garwood
Summary (Back Cover):
For Princess Gabrielle of St. Biel, Scotland is a land of stunning vistas, wild chieftains, treacherous glens, and steep shadows–skullduggery, betrayal, and now murder. Prized for her exquisite beauty, the daughter of one of England’s most influential barons, Gabrielle is also a perfect bargaining chip for a king who needs peace in the Highlands: King John has arranged Gabrielle’s marriage to a good and gentle laird. But this marriage will never take place. For Gabrielle, everything changes in one last burst of freedom–when she and her guards come upon a scene of unimaginable cruelty. With one shot from her bow and arrow, Gabrielle takes a life, saves a life, and begins a war.
Within days, the Highlands are aflame with passions as a battle royal flares between enemies old and new. Having come to Scotland to be married, Gabrielle is instead entangled in Highland intrigue. For two sadistic noblemen, underestimating Gabrielle’s bravery and prowess may prove fatal. But thanks to a secret Gabrielle possesses, Colm MacHugh, the most feared man in Scotland, finds a new cause for courage. Under his penetrating gaze, neither Gabrielle’s body nor heart is safe.
I was surprised by how interesting the story is. It's just not about romance as what I like most of the book is the history that being described in the book. I've never read about Scottish settings before and this one really amazed me. It's quite slow at the beginning, telling the myth of St. Biel and all about so many competitive barons, lairds and even the King of England is portrayed as ruthless and arrogant. It sounds pretty fierce of how they fight each other to own others land and kingdom. But it really works for me.
Gabrielle character is witty, stubborn, hard-headed but kind, gentle, naive and really brave. She saved Colm's brother from grave danger, nearly being cut into half, and tend him to a healer but keeping it secret to save the predicament of saving him from starting a war between the Highland's Lairds. Her act of random kindness put herself in a shame as she being accused, but she decided to not defend herself. Being banished from her country, her father and her homeland left her alone except 4 guardians and Colm's wing man, apparently Gabrielle's husband's cousin suggested that he takes her under his protection.
Colm is a warrior, never do love as he thinks love is woman's talk. He's mysterious, bold and I can't stop imagine him in a Scottish outfit. Every time at the parts when he avoided to see or meet Gabrielle are the most cute part and it's funny how it makes Gabrielle crazy just to have a moment to talk to him whenever he keeps avoiding her. Their characters are in a perfect chemistry and I feel connected to them. Their love is sweet, gentle and honest. The only flaw, it has so many secondary and even tertiary characters to remember. It's quite distracting.
All in all, it's a pleasant read and very enjoyable. Recommended to all historical fiction/romance.
Credit: This book review is link up to Book Review Party Wednesday at Cym Lowell Blog.