cover image Highland Champion

Highland Champion

Hannah Howell, . . Zebra, $6.50 (380pp) ISBN 978-0-8217-7758-9

Unlike Howell's earlier historical romances set in the Scottish Highlands (Highland Bride , etc.), this protracted tale contains much more talk than action. While hiding out at a monastery, troubled widow and healer Keira Murray nurses back to health handsome Liam Cameron, whom she found beaten and left for dead. Despite the immediate attraction between the two, Keira is wary of Liam's good intentions. Even after he decides to help her reclaim her estate, which was invaded by the bloodthirsty Rauf Moubray, Keira remains doubtful of his affection. While the protagonists' various clansmen, who have joined their ranks, emphasize repeatedly how better off the world would be without the villain, Liam prepares at tedious length for the confrontation with Rauf. But the actual battle is brief and anticlimactic, nothing like the taut conflicts that fueled Howell's previous Highland adventures likewise set in the 15th century. The passion between Liam and Keira will warm readers to their toes, however, and many will appreciate the chance to revisit the affable and honorable Murray and Cameron clans. (Dec.)