Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Aloha to Monica McCarty and THE ROCK - A Highland Guard Novel


New York Times bestselling author Monica McCarty continues her Highland Guard series in this eleventh steamy historical romance set against the sweeping backdrop of the Scottish Highlands.

The first time he caught sight of Elizabeth Douglas, Thomas MacGowan thought she was a princess. To the son of the castle blacksmith, the daughter of the powerful Lord of Douglas might as well be. When it becomes clear that his childhood companion will never see him as a man she could love, Thom joins Edward Bruce’s army as a man-at-arms to try to change his lot. If he’s harbored a secret hope that he could close the gap between them, he faces the cold, hard truth when Elizabeth comes to him for help. She might need the boy who used to climb cliffs to rescue her brother from the hands of the English, but she would never see the son of a smith as a man worthy of her hand.

Aberdour Castle by Andy Hawkins (link)

Thomas is climbing the castle wall ... but which Douglas castle? 

How about Aberdour Castle in Fife?  From Historic Scotland (link),

Aberdour Castle served as a residence for three noble families over a period of 500 years – the Mortimers, Randolphs and Douglases. The present complex of roofed buildings and ruined structures perfectly illustrates how a medieval castle could be extended and modified over time.

First built to provide its owner with a secure place of strength, it was later enlarged in several stages until it became an extensive, outward-looking residence surrounded by delightful gardens and pleasure-grounds. It tells the visitor a great deal about changes in architectural and domestic fashion, as well as about the developing fortunes of the noble families who owned it.

Balvenie Castle by Anne Burgess (link)

Or Balvenie Castle in Moray? From Historic Scotland (link),

For over 500 years, Balvenie Castle served as the formidable stronghold of the great lords who ruled over this part of north-east Scotland. The immensely powerful ‘Black’ Comyn earls of Buchan built it in the 13th century. When they were forfeited in the early 14th century, because of their alliance with the ill-fated John Balliol, the stronghold passed to the mighty ‘Black’ Douglases. And when the Douglases too were wiped out around 1455 by James II, the victorious Stewart king entrusted it to a kinsman, John Stewart, Earl of Atholl. It remained with his descendants for the next 250 years. Today’s visitor will find important, and impressive, remains dating from all three dynastic families.

File:Bothwell Castle 20080505 - south-east tower.jpg
Bothwell Castle by Otter (link)

In South Lanarkshire, the Black Douglas ruled over Bothwell Castle.  From Historic Scotland (link),

Bothwell Castle is one of the outstanding monuments of medieval Scotland.

It owes its origins to Walter of Moray, from a northern aristocratic family, which acquired Bothwell in 1242. He (or his son William, known as ‘the Rich’) began the mighty castle in a spectacular display of feudal pride.

Their dream was never completed, probably because of the outbreak of the Wars of Independence in 1296. What they did achieve is the great donjon – the circular keep tower.

Not surprisingly, the Morays’ great castle figured prominently in the Wars of Independence with England. Siege followed on siege. The most momentous was Edward I’s great siege of 1301.

After the wars, Bothwell Castle passed to another powerful noble family, the Black Douglases. They remodelled it in a form not envisaged by their predecessors. This is also impressive, with an array of fine-quality later-medieval secular architecture. After the Black Douglases were overthrown in 1455, the castle reverted to the Crown, and its later history was relatively uneventful.

Tantallon Castle by Phillip Capper (link)

I am giving away a print copy of THE ROCK to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Which Douglas castle do you like?  Here's a complete list at this link.  

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, January 2, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, January 3.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

File:Newark Castle - geograph.org.uk - 1127867.jpg
Newark Castle in Selkirkshire
Image by Walter Baxter (link)


  1. Newark Castle, Selkirkshire caught my eye, probably because I was born in Newark NJ. Tho it's a empty ruin, the pictures show it to be very tall and in an excellent location.

  2. I like Bothwell Castle, The circular keep tower and the way it is located on a hillside appeal to me.

  3. I like the Hermitage Castle, but I do love castles in general.

  4. I'm really loving all these castles! I would totally love to live in Tantallon Castle because it looks really strong and could withstand many attacks. Thanks for the chance to win The Rock, I love Monica's Highland Guard series!

  5. I love everything about castles. The Newark one here is on a poster in my home.

  6. I liked the Ormond Castle on the Black Isle

  7. I love them all! There is something magical about old castle ruins. Thanks for the post!

  8. Bothwell Castle is the one I like the most.

  9. Newark Castle is the prettiest. I have family ties to the Ashton Castle. Have you ever been there.

  10. Confession...she had me at the cover. Love his kilt, um, I mean tartan!

  11. Balvenie Castle, Moray, held by James Douglas, 7th Earl of Douglas calls to me. I've read a lot about Black Douglas, and have actually just finished reading The Striker. I'd love to read The Rock. Thank you for the chance to win.

  12. Love all of them and would love to visit them! If I have to pick, I'd go for Bothwell....

  13. All of the castles look interesting, but Balvenie Castle is my favorite.

  14. I love all the castles. I think Botheell Castle appeals to me the most.

  15. It was hard to choose but I like Grangemuir House, Fife.

  16. I would love to visit a castle or two someday since they hold so much history and has seen so much. I really like the look of Bothwell Castle, it has a lot of character to it. Love those covers of the Highland Guards series!

  17. There are so many castles it's hard to choose just one I'll go with Newark Castle someday I hope to visit a castle thanks for the chance and happy new year

  18. There are so many castles it's hard to choose just one I'll go with Newark Castle someday I hope to visit a castle thanks for the chance and happy new year