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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

ARC Review: Highland Spy by Madeline Martin

Conner Grant lives his life, but it’s not his to live. A broken man with many sins weighing upon his soul, his guilt leaves him hollow. As a hired killer for King James, he has learned to accept the blood on his hands, but can he accept his part in turning abandoned and forsaken women into spies? Ariana Fitzroy, a beautiful noble turned thief due to familial ruin has nowhere to go and nowhere to run, especially after Conner Grant catches her cheating hands. Without option, she joins his band of mercenaries with the appeal of no longer having to hope for a false win each night just to fill her belly or the fear of being caught and punished for her crimes. Unaware that she will be much deeper in the shadows and involved in much more unsavory activity than in her former life, she plunges into a world of secrecy and danger with zeal. Perhaps more unexpectedly, she finds herself in love with her teacher….the man who gave her independence, strength, and a set of skills most would consider unfit for a lady.

Despite the weaknesses Ariana thought held her captive, she triumphs where others might not. She is a steady, willful, and beautiful heroine with a heart so pure. I loved watching her grow from curious to knowledgeable, from slightly unsure to decisive. The author wrote Ariana with such grace, sheer determination, and strength that I can’t help but admire  her. The love between her and Conner only gave the story more depth and meaning during dangerous times in Scottish history. Their passion developed slowly and became powerful with ease, and I enjoyed every moment of watching it build between the lines. With a hero like Conner, I felt the reality of love and its hopes that come along with it. 

The weaving of the plot through the historical time frame with King James at the forefront of the conflict is unique and I appreciated the twist. As Connor worked toward his former glory, I became thoroughly intrigued with surprise after surprise. Ariana began as a cheat just trying to survive and then became a weapon, a temptress, and again a Lady with her hero at her side. There were many moments that left me stunned, many that left me with a smile, many that left me sad, and many that increased my heart rate. From small ideas to thickened plots of mayhem, from sword fights to unexpected murders, from false accusations to treason, from sweet moments to passionate love…..this book has it all. Therefore, I consider this Historical Romance a hit!

I am also extremely curious as to where this series is going, and which characters will assume the lead roles in the future. I absolutely loved each and every one of them…though I’ll admit I found Percy to be my favorite as a secondary character. Plus, who the hell doesn’t love seeing tough women taking on the world?! Furthermore, I want to know where the future of England and Scotland lies, as well as King James (if at all) in future plots. I can honestly say that I had no idea where the storyline was going and was pleasantly entranced once I learned. What a wonderful book!

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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