The course of true love never did run smooth – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 1, Scene 2
Cathy Maxwell’s THE SCOTTISH WITCH is Book Two in the Chattan Curse series. The series focuses on a 17th century curse cast by a Scottish witch, Finella, on the Chattan family,
When a Chattan male falls in love,
strike his heart with fire from Above.
Book 1, LYON’S BRIDE, introduces us to the Chattan Family in the Regency Era - Neal, Harry, and Margaret. Neal, Lord Lyon, wants children, so he seeks a bride he cannot love. He falls in love with his matchmaker and falls ill from the curse. Inspired by his brother's love, Harry sets out to save his brother in Book 2, THE SCOTTISH WITCH.
Hear my soul speak. Of the very instant that I saw you, Did my heart fly at your service - The Tempest, Act 3, Scene 1
Maxwell provides readers new to the series with another prologue (different from LYON'S BRIDE) to join Harry in his desperate mission. He travels to Scotland to search for a witch to reverse the curse, leading him to Portia Maclean. Like Harry, Portia has Scottish blood but lived in England. Like Harry, she came to Scotland to save her family. Like Harry, she feels romantic love has no room in her heart. When they first meet, with Portia in disguise as a witch, they feel a mutual bond. In their second meeting, at the Christmas assembly, they feel a mutual attraction. As they engage in a passionate affair, they inadvertently open their hearts to the other … but also to the curse. They feel Finella’s wrath surrounding them .... but they find an unexpected ally.
|My picture of Glenfinnan.|
Doubt that the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move his aides, Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love – Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2
Maxwell steps outside the Regency Ballroom with the “paranormal elements” akin to Shakespeare’s MacBeth. I applaud her for setting THE SCOTTISH WITCH in Glenfinnan – oh, the symbolism! Glenfinnan is where Bonnie Prince Charlie returned to Scotland to reclaim the throne ... and Glenfinnan is where Colonel Harry Chattan returns to his ancestor’s crime to reclaim his brother's life. The Glenfinnan Viaduct delivered Harry Potter aboard Hogwart’s Express to his destiny … and Glenfinnan delivers Harry to his destiny with Portia. I have walked through Glenfinnan, traveled over the viaduct, and scoured the Highlands in search of crumbling castles – Maxwell’s storytelling took me back to this beloved vacation.
Image by Nicolas Benutzer via Wikipedia
Maxwell is known for her heartfelt characters and she delivers in THE SCOTTISH WITCH. Readers will sympathize with sweet sisters Portia and Minera; hiss at the selfish gentry Lady Maclean and Lady Emma; and cheer for the hapless dog loving General. Harry is the pièce de résistance with his transformation from the alcoholic womanizer to the desperate brother begging for Neal’s life – a scene that I will never forget. Or as a lovestuck rogue bursting through the church door to ... oh, you have to read the book yourself. I also applaud Maxwell for subtly addressing social issues of addiction, loneliness, and post traumatic stress of war weary veterans.
Thank you, Cathy, for reminding us that love is everlasting!
I received a print copy of THE SCOTTISH WITCH from Avon for this review.
|My picture of Loch Ness|