I have had the good fortune to read another book based in Scotland – ‘Highland Blessings’ by Jennifer Hudson Taylor.
Here is the synopsis of this delightful tale:
Kidnapped on her wedding day.
Scotland, 1473. Highland warrior Bryce MacPhearson kidnaps Akira MacKenzie on her wedding day to honor a promise made to his dying father. When he forces Akira to wed him, hoping to end a half-century-old feud between their clans, she struggles to overcome her anger and resentment. Yet her strength in the Lord becomes a witness to Bryce. But there is a traitor in their midst…and murder is the ultimate weapon.
Here is the trailer for this precious book:
And here is the biography of the author:
Jennifer Hudson Taylor‘s fiction has won awards in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Contest and has appeared in numerous national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Everton’s Genealogical Publishers and The Military Trader. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Journalism. When she isn’t writing, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, researching her own family history, and reading. She resides with her husband and daughter in the Charlotte area of North Carolina. Highland Blessings is her debut novel.
The main character, Akira, is a wonderful young Christ follower who had a surprisingly good attitude on the day Gregor Matheson, her intended, abandoned her at the wedding altar and she was subsequently kidnapped by Bryce MacPhearson in order to deliver her to his older brother, Evan, to be his wife:
Akira remained silent. How was she supposed to respond while being kidnapped away from her family and all that she held dear? She had no idea what to expect. All she knew was that she depended upon the Lord to give her sufficient grace to get through whatever she would be forced to endure at their hands. (p. 18)
Upon reflection on his actions against Akira that day, he prayed to God:
“Lord, Vicar Forbes says to honor yer mother and yer father. I’m only trying to do so.” He sighed heavily, wondering if God would hear him after what he had done today. “I really do want peace between our clans. I’m tired of all the bloodshed. Show me how to keep my promise without another war.”
No answer came from the Almighty. Bryce dropped his head in shame. While he had never been an overly religious man, he had no desire to anger his Maker. Had he gone too far this time? (pp. 24-25)
As time went on, Bryce developed fond feeling for Akira:
Something about Akira made his pulse quicken, and he needed to keep his distance to maintain a clear head. He stepped back. Other than Evan, Akira was the only one who had the nerve to challenge his decisions and way of thinking. She made him see different perspectives. Bryce couldn’t decide if it was a blessing or a curse. As much as he hated to admit it, her thoughts mattered, and he had no idea why. (p. 61)
Eventually, Akira and Bryce discussed what had been happening in each of their lives:
“An angel came to Gregor in his dreams and told him he wasn’t to wed me. I was meant for another. I’m not one to argue with the Lord, but I was stunned by this news. I didn’t know what to think. When ye took me I thought that perhaps I was meant to be a MacPhearson bride, but now Evan is gone. I guess God has something else planned. Far be it from me to know what it is.” (p. 90)
Bryce grew pale, then responded:
“Ye were meant to be a MacPhearson bride. You were meant to be my bride.”
Akira wasn’t quite sure that was exactly what God had in mind. Bryce was quite convinced:
The next morning someone slipped a document under Akira’s chamber door. The shuffle noise caught her attention, and she bent to retrieve it. She turned it over and read her name beside Bryce’s on an agreement of matrimony. Last night when he had threatened to wed her by proxy, she didn’t actually believe he would go through with it, but now she held the proof in her hand. Bryce’s bold signature leaped out at her. Vicar Forbes had signed the parchment as well. She looked at her own name in unfamiliar round letters and wondered who had signed on her behalf. (p. 105)
This book has all of the elements of a powerful and interesting novel – romance, suspense, intrigue. Jennifer has all of the elements that keep you turning the pages to find out what will happen next.
Ultimately, Akira came to accept her marriage, and grew to love her husband; their love was strong and mutual:
“My darling,” she whispered in his ear, “God has blessed us beyond measure. He answered all our prayers and kept all His promised blessings. We are indeed fortunate.”
“We are indeed, m’love.” Bryce lowered his head, his warm lips melting upon hers. (p. 296)
I really liked this book! My heritage is, in part, Scottish, so this book really intrigued me. And it didn’t hurt that I just attended the Alma Highland Festival and Games, which deals in all things Scottish; I even tried haggis for the first time, so my interest in Scotland and its clans was piqued! Jennifer did a wonderful job in portraying how feuds can be so long-standing between different people groups that they often don’t know from where they originated. That is a valuable lesson to learn; let’s be forgiving, as the Lord directs. I think Jennifer did a terrific job with her debut novel, and I am sure there will be many more JHT novels to come! In fact, her second novel, ‘Highland Sanctuary,’ is scheduled to release in October 2011.
You can order this book here.
This book is published by Abingdon Press and was generously provided by the author.