A Beauty at the Highland Court
by Celeste Barclay
If you are familiar with the series of books from Celeste Barclay, there is a good chance you remember Lachlan Sutherland, brother to Maud and Blair, and heir to Laird Hamish Sutherland. Well, Lachlan is as wonderful a hero as you could have imagined him to be. He is brave and caring, and steadfast in his feelings. If you’ve read the other books, you may also remember the beautiful Lady Arabella. While she is still very beautiful, as we learn more about her, we discover she is concealing terribly ugly pain in her life. Although she is a good person with a loving heart, she has developed an addiction that she uses as a coping mechanism to deal with the serious stresses in her life.
The plot of this book is exciting and takes you on an exhilarating ride to the finish. There is so much emotion within the pages – happiness, sadness, insecurity, melancholy, fear, courage, loyalty, devotion, faith, passion and love are all among the powerful emotional tides that will sweep you through the pages. Lachlan and Arabella deserve their HEA so much, and the more they go through the more you want to see them achieve it. The secondary characters are great additions to the depth of the story, and most of them are wonderfully familiar, giving us glimpses of them outside of their own books .
Quality historical fiction has to strike a balance between transporting a reader to a far away time and place with a sense of believability, and forging a connection for us between the actions and emotions of the lead characters with the sensibilities and frames of reference possessed by modern day readers. Barclay has an excellent record of accomplishing that feat, so it is no small compliment when I say that I thank this might be her best work yet.