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A Rose in the Storm
by Brenda Joyce
(HQN, $7.99, PG) 978-0-373-77770-9
Set in the Highlands, A Rose in the Storm takes a piece of history from 1306 and bases a story surrounding the conflict between King Edward of England and Robert Bruce. Bruce is the rightful heir of Scotland and is trying to take over power of Scotland from King Edward. Caught in the path is Margaret Comlyn who is Scottish, but is promised by her family in marriage to an ally of King Edward.

Castle Fyne is Margaretís dowry and she arrives a few months prior to her wedding to get it ready. Soon after arriving, the castle is sieged by the Wolf of Lochaber, Alexander MacDonald, the ruthless legend and rival to the Comlyn family. Alex takes Margaret as prisoner, but she is surprised at his gentleness and caring. Margaret struggles with her sense of loyalty to her family, even though she doesnít understand the alliance with England, and her feelings starting to develop for Alex.

Alex is a warrior and will always do his job for his allies, even if it means being merciless. Taking over Castle Fyne was a huge accomplishment for Bruceís cause, but he is now faced with Lady Margaret and a sense of protection he feels obligated to provide, above and beyond what would be required for a prisoner. His obstacle though, is getting through Margaretís family loyalty and making her realize what they could have together.

A Rose in the Storm is the second book of Brenda Joyceís Scottish Medieval Series. Itís full of history and suspense, but the romance is lacking. Much of the story is surrounding the battles and sieges that occur. The romance is there, but definitely secondary.

The book is also long and, while educational, it does linger a bit in parts. On the plus side, I learned a lot. The history part of the story interested me enough to look into the real Robert Bruce and it led me to a lot of the pieces of history that this story is modeled after.

From a romance perspective, A Rose in the Storm is disappointing.

--Nichole Howell

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