Monday, 16 August 2010

Rivals for the Crown

Author: Kathleen Givens
Genre: Historical Fiction (Scotland)
Published: 2007
Type: e-book
Series: 2nd book in the series
Series Order:
  1. "On a Highland Shore:

First Line: "Rachel! Rachel, wake up!"

Synopsis: It's the year 1290 in London, England. Rachel and Isabel have been best friends their whole lives even though many around them disagree with Isabel befriending Rachel who is a Jew. When King Edward, also known as Longshanks, decrees that all Jews must leave London immediately the two friends are separated but swear to see each other again. Isabel stays in London and becomes a lady-in-waiting to the Queen and Rachel moves with her family to Berwick, Scotland where they start rebuilding their lives by opening a small inn.

Meanwhile, the 7-year old Queen of Scotland dies on her way to take her thrown. This causes a rivalry for the Scottish crown between John Balliol and the Bruces. King Edward sees this as an advantage to his desire to rule Scotland as well. Longshanks sends in English troops who terrorize the Scottish citizens until a rebel leader known as William Wallace (aka Braveheart) and his men manage to reunite the warring clans.

During all this chaos, Isabel is terrorized and must flee England. She runs to her friend Rachel for safety. There they meet Highlander cousins Kieran and Rory who fall in love with the women and are put through many trials keeping the women safe as well as keeping their country out of the clutches of England.

My Thoughts: This was a very easy read, which was what I was totally in the mood for. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, "On a Highland Shore" and this book deals with the same family but a generation later.

If you've read any Josephine Cox books this book has the same feel. Easy to read, good suspense and action, enough love scenes to make it interesting but not a 'bodice ripper' by any means. The characters are believable and Givens is able to help the reader picture what life was like 700 years ago during a very tumultuous time in history.

One of the only negatives I can say about this book is that I felt like I had missed a storyline or two. I had read "On a Highland Shore" a few months ago and still remembered the storyline pretty well. In this book when Givens referred to storylines involving Davey and Nell I was confused because I didn't remember reading about that part of the families lives. Apparently I'm not the only one who noticed this since it has been discussed on various forums. I felt like I missed out on a book because there is such a huge jump in time and it really wasn't referred to clearly or resolved. I guess she wrote the third book before the second? Nevertheless, you could read this book as a stand alone book but I recommend reading "On a Highland Shore" first to get a good idea of the love story between Rory's parents.

If you're in the mood for a book set in Scotland with political intrigue, some good-looking men in kilts and some romance then this one's for you.

My Rating: 3.5 stars


Mommydoodle said...

Thanks for reviewing this book Laurie. I didn't even know this was a series!! I read, "On a Highland Shore about a year and a half ago and don't really remember the characters very well. Davey and Nell don't ring any bells for me. Maybe we should have a little chat about that book before I dive into this latest story.

Laurie said...

I'd love to chat with you about it. Some people say that this series reminds them of "Outlander" but I disagree. It's not nearly as deep and, at times, disturbing as Outlander was. Plus, I didn't fall in love with Rory and Isabel like I did with Claire and Jamie.

Mommydoodle said...

Hmm. Interesting. I wouldn't compare it to Outlander at all. I did find the viking raids very disturbing - more so than anything I'd read in Outlander. Maybe that's because I read O before I had kids and Highland Shore after having 3 babies.

Laurie said...

The viking raids were vicious but I think Outlander had more shocking things happen in it. "Rivals for the Crown" has some shocking parts in it as well but I think it's fight scenes aren't as brutal.

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