Setting: Scotland Highlands, 1170
Sensuality Rating: 7
The last surviving member of her family, Alainna MacLaren is heiress to the rich properties of Kinlochan and chief of Clan Laren, whose ranks have been decimated by a centuries-old feud with a neighboring clan. Desperate to protect her clan, she asks the king to choose a husband for her who is both a mighty warrior and one who will consent to take her surname so that her family name will not die out. Though sympathetic to her plight, the king has the security of all of Scotland to consider and orders a Breton member of his honor guard, Sebastien le Bret, to wed the lady, govern her lands, and build a castle at Kinlochan to secure the western Highlands.
Alainna and Sebastien are powerfully attracted to each other, but each has commitments to clan, family, and king that compel them to place honor first and love second. Despite the pledges, the treachery of Clan Laren's enemies, and threats to both their lives, neither can deny the deep love that grows between them. Whether they will survive and save the clan is another matter.
Strong and true, King's voice resonates with the lyric rhythm of Highland poetry. The Scotland of 1170 comes to life with vivid color, and each character, from the hero and heroine to the smallest player, is sharply drawn and unforgettable. Hearthside tales, the legend of the stone maiden, and the heroine's artistry with stone cutting are only a few of the fascinating details that make this novel unique. --Lois Faye Dyer
From Publishers Weekly
As the leader of her late-12th-century Highland clan, which has been decimated by war and illness since her father's death, Alainna MacLaren has no choice but to abide by the legend of the Stone Maiden in order to save her Scottish clan from oblivion: she must wed a man willing to adopt her clan name. Since each clan is fiercely protective of the lineage of its proud name, Alainna's mission seems futile. Sebastien de Bret, a Norman knight, who was a nameless infant foundling raised by monks, agrees to protect Alainna's clan in exchange for the land the king will give him. He will even marry Alainna in accord with the king's wishes, but he refuses to relinquish the name he has struggled so hard to establish for himself. King (The Heather Moon)--whose research into the territory and time period is evident--strongly draws readers into the plot and her characters' lives. (Mar.)
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