Title: The Ghost (Highland Guard #12)
Author: Monica McCarty
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Genre: Historical, Romance
Format: eBook, Paperback
Page Count: 416
Rating: 4 Stars
An undercover warrior and her sworn enemy play a seductive game of cat-and-mouse in New York Times bestselling author Monica McCarty’s sexy new Highland Guard novel.
Joan Comyn swore allegiance to Robert the Bruce the day she witnessed England’s barbarous king torturing her famous mother, Scot patriot Bella MacDuff. Now the mysterious beauty slips into men’s hearts like a specter and entices England’s most illustrious barons to unwittingly divulge their secrets, then shares them with her king. Known only as the Ghost even among her Highland Guard brethren, Joan has become the most wanted traitor in England.
The man determined to uncover her identity poses her biggest threat yet. Alex Seton once stood with Bruce but now fights for the enemy. Though Joan knows she must avoid the handsome warrior or risk discovery, his knightly chivalry touches a place in her long since buried. When his suspicions grow apparent, Joan realizes she must do everything in her power to stop Alex from revealing her mission and convince the powerful fighter to join forces with the Highland Guard once more. But as the ultimate battle in the great war approaches, will Alex choose love or honor?
♦ Personal Thought ♦
I’m not ready to say goodbye to this series yet!!! At the same time, I am relief that my favorite people in this series finally found their happiness.
This book served as closing chapter of the Highland Guard series nicely; and brought back into fold the two people who had been lost to the English side. Well, sort of. 😉
And the best about this installment was that it told not one, but two Highland Guard members. Granted, one of them considered as a traitor most of the pages, but still! And not only that, we finally got to meet the only female member of the Highland Guard up close and personal!
Of all the warriors introduced in this series, with vastly different characters and personalities, I freely admitted not to have taken to every one of them.
In fact, on The Raider with Robbie Boyd as the main character, which we all knew where Alex Seton made the astonishing decision to turn his back on the Highland Guards, I blamed Robbie for his treatment of his then partner. Granted, it was not ALL Robbie’s fault that had Alex snapped – but the hefty amount of prodding was his. That feeling Alex had, that he never felt truly accepted as part of the brotherhood, that he didn’t fit in, I sensed it since book #1. But that also MADE the whole saga to this moment, to this book!
On the heroine side, I remember quite a few scenes from The Viper where Bella moved heaven and earth to get her daughter, this Lady Joan Buchan, and bring her back home to Scotland. There were heartbreaking moments between mother and daughter. And of course, that first time Alex and Joan glimpsed of each other. Back then, I had my suspicions (more like hope) that they would be together. But The Viper being one of the earliest installment of the series, I forgot all about it.
Then this book came. Showing the horrifying times from Joan’s view. They brought back the feeling of reading Bella’s suffering. This doubled the squeeze in my heart throughout reading. Added to that the disaster that struck when she was fifteen (I am sure loyal reader of this series could quickly guess what had happened) had me cringed in imagined pain.
To sum up, the lead characters (Alex and Joan) hadn’t had it easy; the tragedy in their life shaped them into strong characters. They did what they hoped would bring good to Robert the Bruce camp and – in extend – the people of Scotland. They fought from behind enemy line, so to speak. For Alex to also not fit-in in English side due to his Scotland blood, just like his being born in England being thrown in his face while fighting among Bruce army was an irony. That he was put under the command of the person who executed his beloved brothers was an even more bitter pill to swallow. That Joan decided to do what she did for years at the expense of her innocence, was courageous and daring!
Like most loyal readers of this series, I always knew (or hope) that Alex would return to the Bruce Guardsmen’s fold. I just dreaded the way he was going to do it. I shouldn’t. As always, Monica McCarty beautifully spun the tale through heartbreak, hardheadedness, and some critical incidents before coming together in as expected ending.
And let’s not forget the romance side of the story where we found out that Alex Seton was a true one in a million gallant knight, indeed. I might suspect this on Saint, but I guess the author just managed to surprise me with this side of Dragon (though I probably should not be surprised). Alex’s gallantry met Joan’s stealthy movement was an unlikely but fitting match. Plus, the attraction had been brewing for a good many years whether they wanted to admit it or not.
All good thing aside, I was a bit miffed by Joan’s recklessness in this book what with her being that famousGhost and all. On blast from past side, it gave Alex chance to be her knight in shinning armor. On other crucial matter though, it really put a damper on her reputation. I know, I know, she had to go through all that for the story to culminate. I guessed I just hope more the stepdaughter of Lachlan MacRuairi.
Another thing was the epilogue. On the one side that being told from the Bruce’s POV seemed fitting to close the saga. On the other hand, it felt like something coming from out of the blue with this installment – supposedly – belonged to Alex and Joan’s POVs. But that’s just me. I would supposed I’m in the very minor number with this opinion.
ARC is kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the exchange of a fair and honest review.