Wednesday, March 18, 2015

2015 TBR CHALLENGE REVIEW: "Highland Destiny" by Hannah Howell

Highland Destiny (Murray Family, #1)

Highland Destiny by Hannah Howell
For Ages 18+ (Language, Violence, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Medieval Scotland

Zebra -- Published in 1998
Mass Market Paperback, 303 pages
Read in March 2015
Received thru Paperback Swap

Alpha Hero, Highlands, Family Saga

When destiny brought Sir Balfour Murray and his wounded brother down the same road as Maldie Kirkaldy, she offered her services as a nurse even as she tried to deny the desire this dark-eyed knight had ignited at first sight. Soon they discover that they both share a mission of vengeance, but Maldie cannot tell him her true identity—to do so would brand her a spy...

Sworn to avenge his family as chief of the Doncoill Clan, Balfour vows to destroy his greatest foe, Beaton of Dubblinn, with Maldie at his side. Yet Balfour knows that he can no more afford to trust her than he can ignore his lust for his sultry beauty. Now, he is not only determined to unearth her deepest secrets, but also to pursue his passion for her. And nothing will stand in his way...

"Young Eric is gone."

Read for the 2015 TBR Challenge--March--Series Catch-Up.  The challenge is hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian.  

Why I Chose It For My TBR Challenge Read: I know it looks weird to be doing the first book in a series during the month that the TBR Challenge is focusing on "catching up" on series.  I have been a big fan of the Murray Family series since I was in high school, but I have never read the book that started it all.  So, while I am still haven't read the two most recent releases, I decided to finally read Highland Destiny which has been sitting on my shelf for four years.

This book starts off with Balfour Murray, lord of his clan, learning that his younger brother, Eric, has been kidnapped by a rival clan.  The Murray and the Beatons have been feuding for thirteen years ever since Balfour's father was accused of getting the Beaton lord's wife pregnant.  During an unsuccessful attempt to rescue Eric, Balfour and his men meet up with a small, but fiery young woman named Maldie.  She has some healing abilities and volunteers to help with Balfour's other brother Nigel's injuries.  Of course, things get complicated when Maldie is brought to Doncoill and Balfour and her fall for one another.

As a long-time reader of this series, I found it interesting to see the first appearance of the trends that have become synonymous with the Murrays.  Maldie is a small, but spunky heroine and Balfour is a tough-minded knight hero with some vulnerabilities deep down in his soul.  There is plenty of drama that would have been easily solved if the two main characters had just talked to one another.  And, of course, there is Hannah Howells' trademark use of Scottish dialect throughout the entire story.  This is often a turn-off for readers, but I don't find it that distracting especially since I get used to it after a few chapters.

The Murray Family series is one of my guilty pleasures due to the fact that the characters and stories can get repetitive especially if you read too many at one time.  But, sometimes I enjoy knowing what I'm going to get when I start a book.  They are a good palate cleanser since I almost always like the main characters and look forward to seeing them get a happy ending.


1. Highland Destiny
2. Highland Honor
3. Highland Promise
4. Highland Vow
5. Highland Knight
6. Highland Bride
7. Highland Angel
8. Highland Groom
9. Highland Warrior
10. Highland Conqueror
11. Highland Champion
12. Highland Lover
13. Highland Barbarian
14. Highland Savage
15. Highland Wolf
16. Highland Sinner
17. Highland Protector
18. Highland Avenger
19. Highland Master
20. Highland Guard


  1. I know it's kind of weird, but one of the things I love most about reading romances, and then you can read the series out of order. Which makes it fun to read the book that started the whole series after reading others.

    Anyway, I'm not sure if I would like this. I get sooo frustrated with books when the conflict could be resolved by the characters talking to each other. But I'm glad you enjoyed this. Palette Cleansers are always a good thing!

  2. I do believe that I have one or more titles by Ms Howell somewhere in the TBR Mountain Chain, but I can't recall ever having read one.

    It sounds, what with the time and setting and the family thing, similar in tone to the Montgomery series by Jude Deveraux. Have you read those? If so, are they similar at all?

    And heh, about that "unable to hold an adult conversation" thing, I find that I'm more likely to forgive it in a historical romance, particularly if the author manages to at least hint at a reason--however contrived--said conversation doesn't take place until much later (if ever) in the story.


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