In 14th Century Scotland amid Highland Feuds and Clan division, rugged men fight for their birthrights and their place in history. The MacCollum and Campbell Clans are bitter enemies, especially for the son of the Laird MacCollum, Rory, the fabled and lethal Wolf of the Highlands. When his betrothed is killed at the hands of his enemies, Rory has sworn vengeance on all named Campbell. Darkness pervades this warrior to the point of poisonous destruction. Each day the darkness creeps forth, changing him and embattling his psyche. Each day, the blackness is becoming harder and harder to quell. Only Love can save him from the impending darkness, but his heart is walled.
After years of self enforced exile in England, Rory returns to Scotland to seek his own destiny. On his journey, Rory aids and rescues a young woman who is broken and battered from a terrible accident. Rory knows he has to save her. In saving her, is it possible to save himself? His heart gradually opens, only to find this woman is his most sworn and hated enemy. Amid lies and betrayal, can Brielle’s love save Rory from the Darkness that seeps through his veins? Can her love prevent him from the self destructive course he has been destined to run?
Publisher and Release Date: Amazon Digital Services 9 January 2013
Time and Setting: 14th century Scotland
Genre: Historical Romance with paranormal elements
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars
Review by: Susan
Dream sequences, Highland-style feuds, heart wrenching tragedies, scores settled between families, a love lost and a new one found are some of the elements which Ria Cantrell incorporates into her love story, Celtic Fury. The first book in Cantrell’s Celtic Storm series has shards of paranormal activity as visions of Caitlyn McLeod’s spirit appear in the dreams of her husband Ruiri “Rory” MacCollum and in the mind of Gabrielle Val ‘Cour’, the woman who is destined to help Rory live again and the sister of his sworn enemy, the Campbell clan.
Many aspects of the tale are predictable, such as Rory’s finding the distraught Gabrielle lying on the side of the road after her carriage topples over and subsequently falling in love with her before he discovers she is a Campbell. Their love story is at the center of the tale as Rory MacCollum, nicknamed the Wolf of the Highlands, must find a way to overcome his hatred of the Campbells so that he can allow himself to love Brielle, free from the shadow of her family’s wrongdoings. His internal struggle resonates with the reader and evokes sympathy for him. A large part of the tale is expressed through narration so many scenes are told to the reader rather than shown through the characters actions.
It’s an easy read, reminiscent of the storytelling of Sheryl Woods, Linda Lael Miller, and Maggie Anderson. Similarly to these authors, Cantrell concentrates on family bonds such as Rory’s relationship with his father Caleb and his sister Bronwyn. Other families are also important to the tale such as the MacDougals, who form an alliance with the MacCollums; and the Brandhams whose son Andrew is married to Rory’s sister Bronwyn. Cantrell’s story has endearing characters that show the importance of family ties and how these relationships, when healthy and nurturing, can produce a crop of well-adjusted men and women.
In Celtic Fury, the reader watches these characters and their families grow, overcoming misguided perceptions and forgiving small slights made against them. It’s a phenomenon that many readers experience in their own lives which will enable them to connect with Cantrell‘s characters. The author ties everyone together at the conclusion leaving no cliffhangers but rather a satisfying smile on the reader’s face.