Review of Heart of the Highlands: The Beast by April Holthaus

I've always been extremely picky when it comes to historical romance because I find it difficult to deal with the different setting and the terminologies and culture that go with the time frame. But I've decided to give Heart of the Highlands: The Beast a chance because the book has won several awards and it was highly recommended. And to be honest, I had the hots for the man on the book cover. So here's what I thought about this story set in 1500's Scotland.

Title: Heart of the Highlands: The Beast (Protectors of the Crown Book 1)
Author: April Holthaus
Publication Date: July 2015
Published by: Grey Eagle Publishing, LLC
Genre: Adult Fiction, Historical Romance
Source: Copy Given by Tour Organizer


For hundreds of years, Scotland has battled the English for their freedom. Now, they face a new enemy. In a divided world between politics and religion, the young King James V faces the threat of his own people rebelling against him. As civil war breaks out among the Highland clans, James recruits a secret group of warriors for protection. He calls them the Protectors of the Crown.

Ian MacKay has one mission; to defend the crown no matter the cost. Along with his men, Ian's mission is to hunt down one of the most dangerous men in the Highlands. But when the daughter of an enemy enters his life, his heart becomes captured instead.

Keira Sinclair has lived a life of peace and simplicity until now. With her clan on the verge of losing everything, she is forced to wed a Laird from a neighboring clan to ensure that hers survives. During her travels to her new home, her carriage is attacked and Keira is taken hostage by a ruthless man.

Caught in the middle of a war that she does not understand, will Keira's secrets be safe, or will she succumb to the Highland warrior who now threatens to capture her heart?


Going through the first few pages of Heart of the Highlands: The Beast, I was greatly intimidated when I realized that the story takes place in Scotland during the 1500s. I have to admit, my brain's Scottish accent (the one I use when I picture the scenes happening in my mind) needs some serious work and so I worried if I could truly immerse myself in the dialogue and the scenes. But lo and behold, when I got to Ian MacKay's POV and saw the action and rawness of the setting, I was hooked. 

I loved that, as the story unfolds, the complexity of the plot deepens. There were a lot of hidden ties, unclear agendas, and treachery happening at every corner. This isn't just a simple historical romance about how a man and a woman came together and encountered a speed bump on their way to their happy-ever-after. No, this amazing tale also involves matters of character, politics, war, alliances, etc. It's some serious Game of Thrones-level sh**. 

I would be remiss if I don't talk about the chemistry between Keira and Ian. From their first meeting, I already knew that their relationship would be explosive and intense. The strength of our hero matched with the feistiness of our heroine makes for a fun read. Their exchanges were definitely amusing. 

I have to point out though that, in the book, Keira referred to Ian as a cold-hearted beast a bit too often for my liking. But in my opinion, he doesn't really deserve that description. From the very beginning, he has shown her tenderness and consideration that belies her assumptions of him. I mean, maybe it's because of the customs or -- I don't know. This is why I've always found historical romance to be tricky territory sometimes. 

Anyway, this is excellent work, in my opinion. The characters were not dull and one-dimensional, there's a lot of backstory that we only got a glimpse of, the future still has a lot to behold, basically the foundation has been perfectly set. I'm excited for what's in store for these characters in the future.


When I opened the book, I never expected the story to turn out the way it did, and that's a good thing. Sometimes, when you've read one too many romance books, it can be quite predictable. And I'm glad Heart of the Highlands: The Beast broke away from that mould. 

I definitely enjoyed every minute I spend reading it and getting to know it's characters. I felt excited, nervous, scared, curious, maybe a bit turned on *cough cough* all while absorbed in the intricate storyline of Heart of the Highlands: The Beast. I look forward to reading the following instalments in this series because I want to find out more about Ian and Keira's future (the ending was too abrupt, in my opinion) as well as his brothers. 



2017 Reader's Favorite Book Award Honorable Mention
2016 World's Best Story Award 2nd Place Winner
2015 RONE Award Nominee


Barnes & Noble


April is an Award-Winning Author for her Scottish Historical Romances. For more than ten years, she has worked full time in the direct marketing business, but developed a passion of historical romances through her love of reading, history and genealogy.



Book image provided by iRead Book Tours

No comments

Powered by Blogger.