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Child of the Mist    by Kathleen Morgan order for
Child of the Mist
by Kathleen Morgan
Order:  USA  Can
Revell, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

In 1560s Scotland, a man and a woman from rival clans are brought together in an attempt to forge peace. Niall Campbell, tanist of the Campbell clan, recently suffered the death of his wife and newborn child. The loss has hardened his heart, and he runs with a band of men who roam the countryside robbing and taking lands for their clan. He is known as the Wold of Cruachan.

Anne MacGregor is well-thought of as a healer who believes in Christ. As she helps deliver a baby, the village is raided by the Campbells. Some think they see Anne performing witchcraft to save the child when it stops breathing. Niall steps forward and saves Anne's life, which comes back to haunt Anne when her father arranges for Niall's capture a short time later. The MacGregors plan to kill Niall, but Anne intervenes and tells why his life must be spared. In order to end the feuding between the clans, a binding yearlong handfast is forged between Anne and Niall. Now, Anne must leave her family and the lands she has known her entire life to live with the Campbells, amongst whom is the unknown traitor who arranged for Niall's capture. Can their union develop into love? Will there be an end to the fighting?

The story is exciting from start to finish. The main characters are extremely well described, each one's motivation clear. Anne is a headstrong, yet caring heroine. Her belief in the Lord is strong, even when every circumstance seems stacked against her. Niall is hurting in the beginning, and his transformation is deliberate and believable. The development of their relationship is realistic and never seems forced. The combination of action, adventure, intrigue, romance, and history makes for a thrilling read. Even those who are not usually drawn to historicals will find something to like in this first in a new series, These Highland Hills. All is tied together neatly in the end, and subsequent books will focus on different characters.

The historical language is written as it is spoken, which makes the rhythm difficult to catch on to at first. Once you get with the flow, it is easier to follow. A glossary of Scottish terms (such as tanist and handfast) would have been helpful to those unfamiliar with the words used in the story. The Christian message is subtle, but makes an impact. Themes of love, forgiveness, and trust are gently woven through the plot. Child of the Mist takes a look at 16th century life through the eyes of two people fighting for their land and freedom. It's an excellent example of a romantic Christian historical.

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