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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Rock by McCarty is one you won't want to put down!

Highland Guard Series Book 11
Monica McCarty
Pocket Books
ISBN# 978-1-5011-0878-5
December 2015
Historical Romance

The eleventh book in this series follows Robert the Bruce's elite Highland Guard from the time of William Wallace's death to when The Bruce takes Scotland. Each book has dealt with each of his Guard's, their battles, exploits and loyalty to Bruce. With the series almost complete, it is not exactly necessary to read each book in order, but altogether they give a complete picture.

The Rock is Thomas MacGowan's story. The son of the castle blacksmith, he is just a commoner. Yet as a child, he formed friendships with the family in the castle, including Lady Elizabeth Douglas and her brother. He loved Ella from the first moment he laid eyes on her. Everyone, including his father, told him that she could never be his. Thom loved her anyway and when he finally told her, she broke his heart by not returning his feelings as she thought they were just friends. Leaving her and his life as a smithy behind, he had better plans for himself and set out to make them happen.

Lady Elizabeth doesn't understand why Thom can't just go back to being friends. Seeing him again after five years makes her see him in a new light. He's grown into a powerful man and one she can't live without, even if she only wants to be friends. She can't afford to let her confused feelings get in the way because with their stations in life, they could never be together. Even as her brother arranges for her to marry the new Earl of Moray, Thom elicits feelings within her that she can't understand.

Thom has tried to stay away from Ella ever since she broke his heart. Knowing that she is to marry another, he holds out hope that she will admit that there is something more between them than friendship. Time is running out and Elizabeth's brother will do anything to make sure she marries.

I found myself completely absorbed in this book. I have read previous titles in this series, but none captured my attention quite like this one. Thom loves Ella but she doesn't love him, or so she thinks. It takes quite a bit of growing up for Ella to understand what her feelings toward Thom really are. Bound by society's rules, she cannot marry Thom because he's a commoner. Even if they do get together, there are serious repercussions that will happen, so in the event that they can get together, it cannot end well. MacCarty does a great job of historical research, making the reader understand that while Thom makes a great man, warrior and friend, he cannot have Elizabeth. I felt Thom's pain, his anger and resentment towards Elizabeth, but then you also can understand where Ella is coming from. There were a few times I wanted to smack her, but overall, MacCarty leads you down this angst and passion filled labyrinth of romance you don't want to put down.

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones
Rating: 4 1/2

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