cover image The Chief

The Chief

Monica McCarty, . . Ballantine, $7.99 (422pp) ISBN 978-0-345-51822-4

McCarty (Highland Scoundrel ) begins a new Highland romance trilogy, this one set in the early 14th century. While Robert the Bruce attempts to consolidate the clans against the king, clan chief Tormod MacLeod hopes to remain above suspicion as he begins a special ops force, but his allegiance looks questionable after he’s tricked into marrying Christina Fraser, the daughter of a nobleman once imprisoned for supporting William Wallace. Tor faces internal conflict as his growing feelings for his wife battle his warrior code. McCarty devotes too much time to the special ops story line, and romance fans will find little to engage with as Tor remains cold in the face of Christina’s efforts to breach his emotional walls, but readers who deplore “wallpaper historicals” will appreciate not only the romance but McCarty’s efforts to go beyond the superficialities of historical Scotland. (Apr.)