Captured by a Laird (The Douglas Legacy, Book 1)

Written by Margaret Mallory
Review by Steve Donoghue

Mallory kicks off this new “Douglas Legacy” series with a vividly memorable scene: fiery-tempered Lady Alison Douglas, the sister of powerful Earl of Angus, at long last freed by the death of her hated husband, the Laird of Blackadder Castle, burns her marriage bed publicly in the castle’s courtyard. It is an act of defiance that comes as no surprise to her brothers, warrior-lords of the Douglas clan, but it signals only provocation for David Hume, the laird of Wedderburn, who storms Blackadder Castle with the aim of forcing a marriage with Lady Alison.

In the swords-and-kilts world of Scottish Highlander romance, it is the plot equivalent of Regency parlor-games, but Mallory invests her storylines with an expertly-handled narrative momentum; the clashes between Hume and Lady Alison are intelligently and wittily done, made all the more interesting by Mallory’s well-taken decision to make both hero and heroine very noticeably flawed human beings. And the book’s more standard romantic entanglements are counterbalanced by extensive historical research, to the extent where the various political machinations several times almost steal the show from the course of true love.

Future volumes in the series are eagerly anticipated.