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Highland Hope*

Punctuation and Spelling Error Hamper Enjoyment

I love a good Highland romance and especially enjoy a series set around sisters (being one of five myself). This is the first book of this series about the MacAlister sisters. The book opens with a prologue of the traumatic and dramatic scene that happened in the girls’ childhoods, the death of their father. His parting words to them set them each on a personal journey to fulfill his dream for the clan and them. The two younger girls are encouraged to explore their individual talents for the benefit of their clan, but the older sister—whom this book is about—has a much more cut-and-dried path. She is meant to become the laird of their clan. Before his passing, her father taught her about the business and managing aspects of leadership (which her mother carried on), and she also learned how to fight by joining in the sparring between the men and boys. After the prologue, this book starts with the girls’ mother’s funeral. Hope, the oldest, is still young, and she knows she’s going to have a fight with the clan council to retain her lairdship. Her father also had a requirement that she had to be wed before she could lead.

This is quite a complicated story, but I’ll stop here in describing it in detail. Suffice to say, a young man enters the story who bears a strong grudge toward the clan, though some of the council very much desire that he takes over (undermining the lady laird). I found the character of Hope to be a fasting one. It made me question whether or not women were actually called “lairds” if they held a position of leadership in their clan. I know that women sometimes did act as leaders when there was no male heir or the male heir was too young to take over. But would a woman actually be called a laird? It just seemed odd to me. But that’s not really super important. She is a super strong and tough female, both mentally and physically, a match for any man on just about any level. I liked her strength. I honestly didn’t understand why she made the initial decision that she did about the man in question. I don’t feel like there was enough reason or discussion/thought of the reason for it to truly make sense. It felt like it was just needed for the plot, and I don’t like it when plot points feel like that. I had a tough time liking the hero. He just had such a chip on his shoulder about what happened in the past and the way he kept negatively thinking about the heroine, well, it just all rubbed me wrong.

There are also some substantial issues with grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage in this book. It doesn’t seem like the novel was professionally edited, and this book has been out for some time. Commas were used willy-nilly, sometimes added where they should not have been—causing problems with meaning, requiring a second look to figure out—at other times being completely omitted, like the required comma between independent clauses in a compound sentence joined by a coordinating conjunction. There are even some wrong words—sometimes just a typo but other times just flat out incorrect meaning as well. For instance, exulted and exalted were mixed up twice, so I’m thinking that was an error of understanding by the author. A spelling one was cursed versus coursed. For all these reasons, I do not feel like I can wholly recommend this book. If you don’t mind a hero who takes a while to warm up to or egregious errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage, you might enjoy this Highland tale.