Ooo! Ooo! Guys! I just finished reading The Highlander’s Sin, by Eliza Knight, and you’ve gotta read this! It’s not often that I say that, but this time I mean it. Here’s why….
So as you might imagine, The Highlander’s Sin is a romance tale of medieval Scotland. Now, Highlander books are an entire sub-genre in romance and one that’s very hot right now. But I have a confession to make. They’ve never really been my thing. Oh, sure, who doesn’t enjoy a hunky guy in a kilt now and then? Even I am not immune to those charms. It just isn’t a sub-genre that I rush to read, no matter what.
But The Highlander’s Sin reminded me of why I fell in love with romance novels in the first place. The simple complexity of the plot (yeah, you heard me) and the depth of the characters were everything that drew me into the genre in the first place. In fact, those feelings of reading romance novels on the sly without my mom knowing that I had in high school when I read my first romance were so strong that I kept looking over my shoulder in case Mom found out what I’m reading.
The premise of the book is straightforward. The hero, Duncan, is a mercenary priest who has been hired to abduct the heroine, Heather, and to deliver her into the arms of Heather’s family’s enemies. Of course, Heather had plans of running away to join William Wallace’s men in the first place, so being abducted isn’t actually the worst thing that could happen to her. And, of course, Duncan ends up abducting more than he bargained for, because Heather is no drippy-droopy princess. She has a backbone.
Folks, this is everything that great romance novels are made of. The whole point of the genre is to give women a voice that they might not get a chance to have otherwise. Anyone who thinks that women read these kinds of “bodice-rippers” for the throbbing manhoods misunderstands the fundamental nature of women. Yes, we all want to see what’s under a Highlander’s kilt, but more than that, we want to feel as though we are strong, as if we have a voice and a say in our destinies. We want to see a heroine who grabs the reins of her own life in spite of the impossible odds against her and who triumphs over adversity, who opens the door for Love to triumph with her.
Heather is that kind of heroine. Sure, she has her privileged rich girl moments, but she knows that there is more to her than that. She knows that she has some higher purpose in the universe and she is willing to go after that purpose when the opportunity presents itself. As with the best heroines, she makes some missteps along the way and lands herself in more trouble than she needs to. Don’t we all? Heather is very real.
Of course, I attribute all of this to Eliza Knight’s skill with words. It’s so awesome to read an author who actually knows how to write. What is even more cool in my mind is that Eliza is an indie author. AND she writes that well! She is living proof that indie authors are just as talented and professional as traditionally published authors, thank you very much, and is definitely a part of the revolution in publishing. She gives me hope that, given a few years, readers won’t even notice if they’re reading a traditionally published or a self-published book, they’ll find their favorite authors and read them no matter what the format.
I’m glad I found Eliza. As a writer, I’m happy to have her as a peer. As a reader, I’m happy to have found another author whose work I like.