Gathering Storm (Storm Over Scotland #1) & The Daft Days by Maggie Craig

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Jacobite intrigue and romance in 18th century Edinburgh: history, mystery and love across the political divide.

Edinburgh, Yuletide 1743, and Redcoat officer Robert Catto would rather be anywhere else on earth than Scotland. Seconded back from the wars in Europe to captain the city’s Town Guard, he fears his covert mission to assess the strength of the Jacobite threat will force him to confront the past he tries so hard to forget.

Christian Rankeillor, her surgeon-apothecary father and his apprentice Jamie Buchan of Balnamoon are committed supporters of the Stuart Cause. They’re hiding a Jacobite agent with a price on his head in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary: a hanging offence. Meeting as enemies, Robert and Kirsty are thrown together as allies by their desire to help Geordie and Alice Smart, young runaways from Cosmo Liddell, bored and brutal aristocrat and coal owner.

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Publisher and Release Date: Alligin Books, January 2014

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: Edinburgh, 1743
Genre: Romantic Historical Fiction
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 Stars

Review by Jill

Set in Edinburgh in 1743, Gathering Storm is the first book in the Storm over Scotland series by Scottish novelist and historian Maggie Craig. And what a brilliant story it is. This is not a light and fluffy historical romance, but a well-researched and intelligently-written piece of romantic historical fiction.

Professional soldier Robert Catto has been recalled to Edinburgh as Captain of the Town Guard, to flush out Jacobite sympathisers and to help nip in the bud any rebellion against the ruling authorities. In his sights is Patrick Rankeillor, surgeon-apothecary and known Jacobite. Suspecting that Rankeillor is hiding a Jacobite agent, Catto and his guards arrive at the Infirmary on the pretext of checking for illegal corpse dissections. But it is Rankeillor’s daughter, Christian (Kirsty) whom he confronts that evening.

Catto had hoped never to set foot in his homeland again. A complex and appealing hero, he is not without his faults. In his first meeting with Kirsty, he shows her little regard, being deliberately foul-mouthed, hard and dutiful. He’s a man who is not averse to using prostitutes. Yet he’s also honourable, kind and not without finer feelings. Catto and Kirsty’s relationship is fraught with problems, not least of which is that they are on opposite sides of the brewing conflict. By the end of this book, their romance is just flickering into being, and this being a continuing series the book finishes and leaves readers with the promise of a deepening of the protagonists’ relationship.

For readers who enjoy historical fiction with strong romantic elements, a flawed hero, a strong, independent heroine in an authentic, historical Scottish setting Gathering Storm is well worth reading. Highly recommended.

The Daft Days (novella – Storm Over Scotland #1.5) by Maggie Craig

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Being an Account of certain Events which transpired in the City of Edinburgh on Yule Day, in the Year of our Lord Seventeen Hundred and Forty-Three;

& featuring, among Others, Miss Christian Rankeillor of Infirmary Street, Edinburgh

& Captain Robert Catto, Officer commanding the Town Guard of the City of Einburgh: (Mr Catto having but recently been seconded from His Majesty’s 6th Regiment of Foot, known by the Vulgar as “Guise’s Geese”, now serving on the Continent of Europe).

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Publisher and Release Date: Alligin Books, December 2015

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: Edinburgh, 1743
Genre: Romantic Historical Fiction
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars

Review by Jill

Robert Catto, Captain of Edinburgh’s Town Guard, and only recently returned to Scotland, has been invited to share the Yule Day meal with Christian (Kirsty) Rankeillor. Kirsty has been confined to her house by none other than Catto, after he discovered her involvement in hiding a Jacobite agent in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The simmering attraction evident between them in the first book, Gathering Storm continues here. On opposite sides of the political divide of Scotland in mid-18th century, neither Catto nor Kirsty seems able to douse the flame.

This is not a standalone and won’t make much sense if you haven’t read Gathering Storm first. The Daft Days is a lovely, long short-story (or short novella) that continues on straight after the first book in this series, and takes a wonderful, authentic look at Christmas in the Scotland of 1743.

This is an exceptional series by Maggie Craig, and is recommended for those readers who enjoy intelligent, well-written romantic historical fiction. I look forward to Catto and Kirsty’s continuing story in the second book, Dance to the Storm out later in 2016.

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