Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Hunter TLC Book Tour: Review

The Hunter
(Highland Guard #7)
Monica McCarty
Mass Market Paperback, 380 pages
Ballantine Books, June 25, 2013
Historical Romance

This is my first McCarty novel, and it surely won't be the last!  Furthermore, I definitely want to catch up by reading the previous books in this great series! 

As is evident from the "Author's Note" at the end of the book, McCarty has done her research well.  This novel is based on real people.  The Lamont family really existed, and one of them was even named Ewen.  Robert the Bruce was also a historical person.  He was the King of Scotland, and  really was involved in the war against England for Scottish independence. 

Against this fascinating background, McCarty has created a very compelling, very sweet romance.  Ewen Lamont, otherwise known as "The Hunter" for his expert tracking skills, is a very handsome young Scottish patriot.  He's a member of the Highland Guard, a fictional band of secret 'phantom warriors' who harass the English forces at every opportunity. 

Aiding the Scottish war effort is a group of couriers who secretly deliver messages to Robert, thus enabling him to send his Highland Guard to ambush the English with deadly accuracy.  These couriers include nuns and priests, incredibly enough.  In the book, they are known as 'couriers of the cloth'.  One of them is 'Sister Genna' an Italian nun.  Except that she's not really a nun, nor is she even Italian.  She's really Janet of Mar, the fictional twin of the real-life Mary of Mar.   Her identity is kept secret so that she can carry on her work. 

Ewen and 'Sister Genna' meet when she and a young novice named Marguerite are accosted by English soldiers while on a 'pilgrimage'.  Ewen and MacLean (another member of the Highland Guard), who had been sent to look for 'Sister Genna', suddenly appear, and attack the soldiers.

Ewen is instantly attracted to Janet, whom he of course believes to be a nun.  However, he's also upset that a woman is engaged in the dangerous activity of carrying messages to the Scottish king, in the middle of a war.  He makes it clear to her that he totally disapproves of this, even as he fights his growing feelings for her.

The author introduces some interesting psychological conflicts into this gradually blossoming relationship.  Ewen has issues regarding his late father, while Janet has been carrying a burden of guilt regarding her twin sister, Mary.  She feels that she must somehow atone for this by continuing to assist Robert the Bruce as a courier.

Ewen becomes more and more intent on protecting Janet, while she contends that she doesn't want to be coddled, and is perfectly capable of taking care of herself.

The plot moves along quickly, alternating between danger and the tensions --psychological as well as sexual -- between the two leads, thus ensuring a page-turning, very entertaining read. 

The action scenes in the novel are very well done, and I kept reading to see how Ewen and Janet would get themselves out of one scrape after another.  Janet is not only adept with her words, which can sway even hardened soldiers, but she's also very handy with a knife. 

Now, as for the love scenes....ah, the love scenes.....Ms. McCarty has a very nice touch with these, infusing them with just the right amount of longing, passion, and sweetness!  There's enough description to tantalize the reader's senses, but it's all very romantic.  I don't like erotica, which is much too graphic for me.  These lovely scenes were indeed sexy, but they were also laced with the tenderness and care that only people truly in love can feel.  

Some of the other Highland Guard members also make an appearance in this novel, as does Robert the Bruce himself.  In spite of his fierceness and authoritative manner, he actually does respect Janet as a person, which I found to be highly unusual, considering the time period. 

For historical romance fans, this novel is a pure delight!  It is the story of two strong personalities who ultimately realize that they can't live without each other, and learn to compromise in order to do so.    Furthermore, the historical setting creates a perfect backdrop for all the emotional intensity of this relationship.  I really enjoyed the ride!


Reviewer's Note
I'd like to thank TLC Book Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour, as well as for providing the review copy I read for the preparation of this review.
Since I am committed to giving honest evaluations of the books I read, this did not in any way influence my views of this novel.   

Purchase Links

Monica McCarty

Author Bio

Monica McCarty is the bestselling author of The Recruit, The Viper, The Saint, The Ranger, The Hawk and The Chief, the first six books in the Highland Guard series, and the Highlander Trilogy -- Highlander Untamed, Highlander Unmasked, and Highlander Unchained.  She has also written the Campbell Trilogy -- Highland Warrior, Highland Outlaw, and Highland Scoundrel.

Her interest in the Scottish clan system began in the most unlikely of places: a comparative legal history course at Stanford Law School. 

After a short but enjoyable stint as an attorney, she realized that her career as a lawyer set against her husband's transitory life as a professional baseball player was not exactly a match made in heaven.  So she traded in her legal briefs for Scottish historical romances with sexy alpha heroes.

Monica McCarty lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and their two children.

Monica McCarty Online

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  1. Good action scenes and good love scenes make for a great combination - I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

    1. Hi, Heather!

      Oh, DEFINITELY!! And I thought that Monica had the perfect proportion of each, which is why I enjoyed this book so much.

      You're welcome for my participation! I was happy to be a part of this tour.

      Thanks for the great comment!! : )


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