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Royal Highlander #3

Highland Sword

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Scottish pride, persuasion, and passion—this is Highland romance at its breathtaking best. From USA Today bestselling author May McGoldrick comes Highland Sword, the third book in the Royal Highlander series.

Fleeing to the Highlands after her father’s murder, fiery Morrigan Drummond has a score to settle with Sir Rupert Burney, the English spymaster responsible for his death. Trained to fight alongside the other rebels determined to break Britain’s hold on Scotland, she swears to avenge her father’s death—until a chance encounter with a barrister as proud and principled as she is presents her with a hard choice…and a bittersweet temptation.

Aidan Grant has never encountered another woman like dangerous beauty Morrigan—and he has the bruises to prove it. Yet she could be the key to defending two innocent men, as well as striking a death blow to the reprehensible Burney. Convincing Morrigan to help him will take time, but Aidan is willing to wait if it means victory over corrupt government forces and freedom for his people…and Morrigan’s hand in marriage. Can two warriors committed to a cause stand down long enough to open their hearts to a love fierce enough to last…forever?

314 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published March 31, 2020

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About the author

May McGoldrick

73 books464 followers
May McGoldrick, Nik James, and Jan Coffey are pen names for USA Today bestselling authors Nikoo Kafi and Jim McGoldrick. Together, they have crafted over fifty fast-paced, conflict-filled historical, contemporary, and Western novels, and two works of nonfiction.

Nikoo’s education and training was in engineering. She worked in robotics and submarine shipbuilding. Before earning a PhD in sixteenth-century Scottish and English literature, Jim pursued a hundred and one jobs, including a decade in submarine construction.

Storytellers at heart, Nikoo and Jim were always searching for careers that gave them time for both family and writing. Then, after thirteen years of marriage, they recognized each other’s creative strengths. Nikoo is all about characters and feeling. Jim is about action and sense of place. Their first attempt in writing fiction together produced their award-winning novel, The Thistle and the Rose. Since then, their stories have touched the hearts and minds of millions of readers all over the world. Their work has been translated into over a dozen languages and counting.

Nikoo and Jim are four-time Rita Finalists and the winners of numerous awards for their writing, including the Daphne DeMaurier Award for Excellence, the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewers’ Choice Award, three NJRW Golden Leaf Awards, two Holt Medallions, and the Connecticut Press Club Award for Best Fiction.

The authors make their home in California.

Here is a complete catalogue of May McGoldrick, Nik James and Jan Coffey’s work, in chronological order.
Each book stands on its own.


Macpherson Clan Series
The Thistle and the Rose
A Midsummer Wedding (novella)
Angel of Skye
Heart of Gold
Beauty of the Mist

The Intended
Tess and the Highlander
The Dreamer (Highland Treasure)
The Enchantress (Highland Treasure)
The Firebrand (Highland Treasure)

Much Ado About Highlanders (Scottish Relic)
Taming the Highlander (Scottish Relic)
Tempest in the Highlands (Scottish Relic)

Arsenic and Old Armor

Pennington Family Series
The Promise
The Rebel
Borrowed Dreams
Captured Dreams
Dreams of Destiny
Romancing the Scot
It Happened in the Highlands
Sweet Home Highland Christmas (novella)
Sleepless in Scotland
Dearest Millie (novella)
How to Ditch a Duke (novella)

Royal Highlander Series
Highland Crown
Highland Jewel
Highland Sword

A Prince in the Pantry (novella)
Ghost of the Thames

Made in Heaven
Thanksgiving in Connecticut (novella)

The Winter Road (novella)
High Country Justice
Bullets and Silver
Silver Trail Christmas

Trust Me Once
Twice Burned
Triple Threat
Fourth Victim
Five in a Row
Silent Waters
Cross Wired
The Janus Effect
The Puppet Master
Blind Eye
Road Kill
Mercy (novella)
Tropical Kiss
When the Mirror Cracks


Marriage of Minds: Collaborative Fiction Writing
Step Write Up: Writing Exercises for 21st Century

Sign up for the May McGoldrick, Nik James, Jan Coffey Newsletter
Visit their author websites


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Displaying 1 - 30 of 240 reviews
Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,217 reviews292 followers
February 8, 2021
Translation widget on The blog!!!
Morrigan Drummond este o tânără curajoasă, care luptă pentru ceidragi, nu se dă în laturi de la un antrenament dur alături de oamenii cumnaților ei și este capabilă să ucidă un om dacă acest lucru ar salva viața unui nevinovat.
Pe Aidan Grant îl cunoaște când acesta o împiedică să ucidă pe cineva. Atunci are loc o mică luptă iar tânăra este convinsă că nu-l va mai vedea prea curând...
Și mare-i e surpriza când îl revede în fortăreața Dalmigavie!
O poveste plină de tachinări și momente tensionate, de emoții ținute în frâu și amenințări ce pun în pericol viitorul. Alertă și plină de suspans, “Sabia scoțiană” reprezintă mai mult decât o poveste de dragoste cu final fericit. Este o lecție de curaj!
Impresiile mele le găsiți aici:
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,588 reviews1,467 followers
March 31, 2020
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
May McGoldrick is a husband wife writing duo, I picked up the Highland Sword because there is another husband and wife writing duo  I adore and wanted to see if they could do for me in Historical Romance, what Ilona Andrews does for me in Urban Fantasy. They fell a little short, not really their fault as the bar is extraordinarily high. Which means Highland Sword is a good read but from this one book I’m not running out to buy their entire catalogue, which seems pretty expansive.

Highland Sword is the third book in the Royal Highlander series. I have not read any of the other books for the series and don’t think you need to in order to be able to enjoy this book. There do seem to be quite a few characters from the first few books and even cameos from characters in other series written by May McGoldrick.  I felt like I didn’t need to know any of those stories to be engaged by this one.

Morrigan blames Sir Rupert Burney for the murder of her father; he is also guilty of a few other crimes against her. When she sees him walking on the street, naturally she tries to kill him but ends up meeting a man that might be able to love the fighter of a woman she is. She might also have given said man a few bruises, accidentally of course.

Aiden needs Sir Rupert if he is going to save a few fellow Scottish men from being tried and executed. He wasn’t expecting to get jumped in broad daylight by a woman, let alone that she would fight so well. Even worse, he needs her to help him get information out of Rupert if he wants to have a chance of winning the trial.

Morrigan and Aidan definitely take their time circling one another. It takes a long time for them to agree on the attraction between them. Morrigan’s past leaves her feeling like no one will ever accept her. Her present makes her feel like a man will never want a woman more interested with training in the yard with weapons than being at his beck and call. Aidan plans on being a politician and should really pick a wife with some social status to help his future career. He just can’t get the fiery Morrigan out of his head and tries to spar with her both verbally and in the yard in attempts to win her heart.

This was the last book in this series so there is the culmination of bringing down a bad guy mixed in with everything else. This is a time of transition when Scotland and trying to earn a voice in English politics instead of waging another war. It is based in a lot of historical facts with fictions blended in. It did make me want to know a little more about this time in history.

Unfortunately, because I didn’t know any of the other characters or story lines from prior books it seemed to take a little while for anything to really develop in the story. I also struggled with Morrigan and never really connected well to her. I did love Aidan though and he carried a lot of the story for me.

Overall, it was a decent read with a strong heroine and a man willing to take a woman as she is.
"Family can inflict the deepest cuts and the sharpest pain.  Disloyalty. Jealousy. Vindictiveness.  The marks they leave rarely show to those on the outside.  If you can survive, you become hardened to the world perhaps, but stronger."
Profile Image for Amarilli 73 .
2,165 reviews70 followers
October 25, 2022
2,5 - E niente, dopo aver concluso anche l'ultimo volume, posso dire che questa trilogia proprio non mi è piaciuta.
In altre serie la coppia May McGoldrick si era rivelata senza dubbio brava, sia nel costruire storie d'amore credibili, sia nelle rievocazioni storiche. Ma qui ci troviamo di fronte a un frangente storico relativo unicamente alla Scozia, e non un periodo di quelli avvolti nel mito e nel fascino medievale (che, ad esempio, avrebbe potuto avere una risonanza maggiore: vedasi highlander e affini).
Certo, ho letto altri romanzi ambientati in una Scozia post Bonnie Prince e post Culloden, ma qui la narrazione si fa troppo nozionistica, troppo dettagliata. Devi essere un'appassionata del periodo e di quelle vicissitudini per provare qualche brivido d'interesse.
E a me, in tutta sincerità, importava poco o nulla.

A ciò si aggiunga che la Storia qui predomina, lasciando in secondo piano il romanzo: si ha costantemente l'impressione che i personaggi svolgano la loro funzione ai fini dell'ambientazione, più che avere un ruolo autonomo, quindi i sentimenti sono sviluppati lo stretto necessario. E si sente. Come al solito, tutto ruota intorno a Cinaed, presunto figlio segreto della regina Carolina, perché intorno a lui si è formato un gruppo per proteggerlo e difendere i diritti degli scozzesi contro i soprusi inglesi.
Avevamo già conosciuto Morrigan, quando era sfuggita alle guardie che avevano fatto irruzione in casa, uccidendone il padre. Lei, la matrigna e la sorellastra Maisie sono fuggite nelle Highlands, unendosi ai patrioti.
Quando Morrigan s'imbatte in una spia inglese lo insegue, finendo per prendersi a pugni, letteralmente, con Aidan, avvocato, che starebbe alla stessa parte, ma vuole la spia viva.
Diciamo che vedere Aidan che pesta Morrigan me lo ha fatto andare di traverso: non puoi autodefinirti difensore degli oppressi e prendere a pugni una ragazza per difendere le tue idee. Il resto è politica, lotte, aggressioni, maneggi vari e lei che s'innamora inaspettatamente di questo tizio che non merita nulla.
Nel complesso, lievemente infastidita e annoiata 😑.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,825 reviews836 followers
March 31, 2020
This story touches on real-life historical events with the British and Scots at odds, Scots enduring harsh conditions and oppression by the ones who were supposed to rule and protect them. I’m not well versed at all in the history that is the backdrop for this story, but it seems that the human condition is the same in any time period gone by.

I loved Aiden and Morrigan’s story, at odds at first, with lots of back and forth, while the sexual tension sparked between them. Love the fun push and pull! Both had their motivations, each striving for right, and the good of their people, but I felt the care and devotion between them. They thought of others before themselves and it was inspiring.

Okay, so am I the only reader who can’t put their thoughts together for a proper review? I’m sure my words don’t properly highlight this story, but I can tell you that I really enjoyed Highland Sword! It managed to take me away from all the Covid-19 worries and entertain me. The perfect escape!

A copy was kindly provided by St. Martin's Paperbacks in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for WhiskeyintheJar.
1,273 reviews517 followers
March 6, 2020
3.5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Uprooted from her home after her father's murder, Morrigan has fled to the Highlands. There, with her step-mother, step-sister, and their husbands, they continue to fight to get out from under the yoke of the English.
Aidan has soldiered for England and now as a barrister, he fights to bring justice to his fellow Highlanders. With his brother at his side, he works to establish rule of law in this turbulent time.
Politics, entrapment, spying, blackmail, and love come alive in the highlands.

Her insides burned with sadness, and rage.

Highland Sword is third in the Royal Highland series and would work best read after the first two. The connecting thread in the series is Cinaed Mackintosh (Highland Crown), he is the secret son of Queen Caroline and looked upon by rebel Scots as to be the true king and savior of Scotland against the harsh treatment of England. In book one, Cinaed marries Morrigan's step-mother and thus begins her connection to the plot thread. The beginning of this and a lot of the story focuses on the turmoil of Scotland at the time. Morrigan's father was killed in a raid where rebels were thought to be meeting. The authors center the misdeeds of the English on the character Sir Rupert Burney to help draw a clear picture of what was happening at the time. Sir Rupert appears in all three books and works as a spy master for the Home Office and abuses his power by blackmailing and orchestrating entrapments.

Her feelings for Aidan Grant were beginning to confuse her. She wanted some distance from him, but at the same time she enjoyed having him near. She was attracted and yet still afraid. Not afraid. Cautious.

Our hero comes into the picture as he is chasing down a man he thinks has worked for the Home Office and Sir Rupert and can give testimony against them, therefore saving his current clients from the noose. The man, Robert Sparrow, ends up being Morrigan's uncle and the source of a childhood trauma, he raped her when she was twelve years old. After a scuffle in an alleyway, Aidan and Morrigan meet and Aidan is intrigued by this woman who gave him a black eye. When Sparrow is moved to the castle Morrigan is staying at, he's dying of cancer, she is forced to confront her past.

The political climate and historical setting is done very well, you're going to have to enjoy stories leaning heavier on the historical part of historical romance. I loved the character of Aidan and how calm, strong, and easy he was with Morrigan. Unfortunately, we don't get a lot of him and the political threads did steal away from their romance; they just didn't spend enough time together for me. Aidan was constantly on the move trying to build his case for his clients and Morrigan was stretched thin herself. While Aidan was working to defeat Sir Rupert in the courts, Morrigan finds allies and turns a blackmail situation against her to her favor.

With one sweep of his hand, he cleared the desk. Books and papers crashed fluttered to the floor. He lifted her onto the edge.

The emotions between the two were felt, even though their time on page was too fleeting and left me wanting more. Morrigan's struggle with facing her past was dealt well in that it wasn't the center point of her character, it shaped her but didn't define her and I wish such villains were done more in this way. Her thoughts and feelings regarding not wanting to burden her family with knowledge of her pain and not be a detriment to Aidan's budding political career provided some deep emotional moments. There was a lot being said in this series, governments utilizing the law and courts in underhanded ways was the main message in this one, and I appreciated the historical details and weaving of real people, places, and events. This had an exceptional hero who I wish had more time to shine with the heroine as their relationship was sweet and flaring at times. If looking for a historical series that will give you plenty to go off and learn about on your own, Royal Highland does that, along with compelling and loving heroes and heroines.
Profile Image for Milena.
723 reviews78 followers
March 22, 2020
3.5 stars

Highland Sword is the third and last installment in the Royal Highlander series by May McGoldrick. I enjoyed the first two books and was looking forward to reading Morrigan's book. I liked Morrigan's and Aiden's story but found it a little slow. My favorite couple is Isabella and Cinaed, and I was happy that they still had a big part in this book. Overall, I enjoyed this trilogy about three strong women and the men who love them, steeped in Scottish history and politics, and I would recommend it to historical romance readers.

*ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Profile Image for Barbara Rogers.
1,483 reviews137 followers
March 18, 2020
Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Series: Royal Highlander #3
Publication 3/31/20
Number of Pages: 320

May McGoldrick has brought the Royal Highlander series to a nice tidy end with this book. The loose ends are nicely tied and the last of the ladies has finally gotten her HEA with a very likable hero. The story is well written and well-plotted. It was nice to have a visit from previous characters and to finally see Cinaed find the life he wanted.

Times are dangerous in Scotland. The English are cracking down on the Scots because they are afraid of an English uprising similar to the one in France. Instead of making laws that would make life easier for the masses, the English passed heavier and heavier tax levies. Workers were having meetings to protest those laws, and the English were infiltrating them, attacking them, and then trying them for treason. In the first book (Highland Crown), we got a look at one of these attacks first hand. Isabella Drummond and her husband are both gifted doctors who take care of anyone who comes into their clinic. Just after an attack by the English, their surgery clinic was filled. Then, the soldiers attacked the clinic killing anyone inside. Isabella’s husband was killed, but she managed to escape with her sister, Maisie (Highland Jewel), and her stepdaughter Morrigan. After harrowing adventures across the Highlands, they are all safe at Dalmigavie Castle. But, never fear, the evil spymaster for the Crown, Sir Rupert Burney, isn’t through with them yet.

We’ve surmised that Morrigan Drummond had secrets – and boy does she. She has been training with the men at Dalmigavie Castle and her skills are sharply honed. When she sees an old enemy in Inverness, she is off after him without thinking of the dangers to herself. He is in her sights – she almost has him – and some dunderheaded idiot attacks her! After she leaves her attacker bleeding on the ground, her quarry is lost. She has no choice but to return to her party and head back to Dalmigavie Castle.

Aidan Grant is a barrister from Edinburgh and he goes around defending those falsely accused of treason. He’s been looking for a witness who can clear his current clients – and he’s just spoken with him. As he is leaving, he sees this woman following his witness – and she has a knife. He has to stop her because that witness is the only thing that will keep his clients from hanging. As he tries to stop her, he ends up bleeding on the street. Not exactly how he expected things to work out, but at least his witness escaped.

Aidan’s next stop is Dalmigavie Castle to meet with the Son of Scotland and to find a place to safely keep his witness. Lo-and-behold, who is also at the castle? It is that termagant who tried to murder his witness.

I loved Aiden and Morrigan working through their enmity – and then their attraction. Aidan’s patience was wonderful and the way he supported and cared for Morrigan was delightful.

I loved that all of the ends were tied up and all of the appropriate people got their rewards or punishments. While this is the end of this series, there are some characters I would hope would have their own books at some point in the future.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Tracy Emro.
1,757 reviews44 followers
March 23, 2020
Morrigan Drummond follows her greatest enemy into an alley with murder in her heart, but before she can act, she meets Aidan Grant who is protecting the man she wants dead. Morrigan makes it clear that she is not to be underestimated. She gives him a through thrashing and manages to escape, but not without losing her blade and taking a couple of knocks herself.

They meet again days later when Isabella is called to tend a sick man brought to Dalmigavie by barrister Aidan Grant and his solicitor brother, Sebastian. Isabella asked Morrigan to accompany her and she is shocked when she realizes the man she fought is the man Isabella is meeting. She hopes he will not tell Isabella of their first introduction – she also learns that the man she hates more than anyone is the man Aidan is trying to have Isabella save. She is grateful that he keeps her secret and thinks that they will have no further contact – but that thought is blown away when his witness sees Morrigan and tells everyone that he is her uncle.

Aidan needs the man’s testimony and approaches Morrigan for help. They soon start an unlikely friendship and gradually they fall in love, but there are secrets that Morrigan hasn’t shared and when a common enemy threatens to reveal her secrets, Morrigan will have to make a choice – share her fears and shame or lose the man she has come to love.

This was a well written, intense story with a lot of emotion and sensitivity triggers – parts of the story are truly heartbreaking and difficult to read, but Aidan manages to keep the story from becoming oppressive. I feel a little torn in this review, I liked the story and felt the romance suited the storyline, but I also felt that some parts dragged and the romance was really downplayed. Considering the subject material, the story was executed perfectly, but I still wished for more. This is the third book in the series and I recommend reading the books in order – this installment ties up all the loose ends and provides both closure and comeuppance| I enjoyed the book and would be happy to recommend it!

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provide to me by NetGalley and the Publisher.*
Profile Image for Zoe.
1,788 reviews160 followers
April 17, 2020
Spirited, intricate, and suspenseful!

Highland Sword is set in the Scottish Highlands during 1820 and features the fiery, resolute Morrigan Drummond, a loyal relative of the heir to the Scottish throne who is bound and determined to revenge the death of her father no matter the cost and with or without the help of the handsome, barrister Aidan Grant.

The prose is authentic and precise. The characters are intelligent, focused, and driven. And the plot is a push-pull tale full of family drama, political intrigue, historical facts, retribution, action, adventure, danger, and romance.

Overall, Highland Sword is an engaging, meticulous, entertaining read by McGoldrick that in my opinion could have used just a little more heat, but is nevertheless still a highly satisfying finale to the Royal Highlander series.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Debby *BabyDee*.
1,140 reviews58 followers
January 28, 2020
I thank the author and St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for the opportunity to read and provide a fair and honest review. All opinions herein are my own.

The Royal Highlander Series so far has just been okay for me by May McGoldrick. So when I received Highland Sword, I was hoping that the story would entertain me a bit more than the other two books.

The story was well written but a bit slower than I like. I did enjoy the main characters but wanted to see more romance in their relationship although they have two very different personalities and backgrounds. The strong romance I was expencting was just not there for me and several times I found myself drifting and trying to get back into the story because it dragged a bit. I wanted to contribute it to the plot but not sure if was the plot changes or the characters that were coming in/out of the story that sometimes made it difficult to continue with my reading.

In summary, I did love the strong female characters and the liberation the men afforded them in the story. It was refreshing. I also enjoyed the action scenes and the twists and turns. Did it do better than the first two? About the same for me. If there is another in the series, I would love to read and hope it hits above my other ratings in this series.

Profile Image for Lucia.
431 reviews78 followers
July 14, 2020
I really have a problem with books that have “highland” or “highlander” in their titles, set in Scotland, but are written like regency books. I often find regency books a bit boring so when I go for “highland” books, I really hope to spend time with braw highlanders and their lasses, not gents and ladies... which is what is happened in Highland Sword. I guess the cover should have given me a hint.

All in all, it was an okay read.
Profile Image for Suzanne.
1,596 reviews
April 16, 2020
This book was about half historical fiction and half romance. It's the third in the Royal Highlander series, and focuses on Morrigan, a fiesty and determined fighter, who has trained with weapons, in part to cope with a difficult secret. We also see many of the characters from the earlier books in the series, at least in passing. This book would be ok to read as a stand alone, but possibly more satisfying having read the earlier books.

One thing I always appreciate in romances, and it happens all too infrequently, is when the characters communicate about the problems that keep them apart vs. going silent and avoiding. I added a star for that :). I didn't feel a lot of fireworks between the two main characters, but I did really like this historical setting and context.
Profile Image for Niki (mustreadalltheromance).
1,128 reviews78 followers
January 31, 2021
Morrigan Drummond's life has been upended since her father's murder forced her to leave behind her life in Edinburgh and make a new life in the Highlands with her remaining family. Determined to take back some control, Morrigan trains with the fighters of her new adopted clan and hopes for the chance to take her revenge. But when she meets a clever and highly moral barrister who shares similar views, she's tempted to abandon all her plans, despite knowing there can never be any real future between them.

Former soldier turned barrister Aidan Grant is intrigued by the fiery and unique Morrigan from the first time he sees her, even if she is attempting to assassinate his key witness. She could be integral to his attempts to destroy English spymaster Sir Rupert Burney, but gaining her agreement to help will take some doing, as will convincing her to turn their mutual feelings into a marriage. But Aidan is patient, especially when the end goal is so important, both for himself and the people of Scotland.

Man was this book a slow burn. Morrigan had an incredibly tragic past which only made her relationship with Aidan all the sweeter, although I think this could've been taken a bit farther between them, and her constant attempts to keep him at arm's length did get a bit wearying at times. Aidan was lovely and had the patience of a saint in dealing with the often prickly Morrigan. The romance took a bit of a backseat here but the book was well-written and well-researched, providing an enthralling view into a turbulent time in Scottish history that really made me feel like I was there with giving me the elevated stress levels the previous books of this series have. I also enjoyed the fact that this series was tied up nicely with no glaring loose ends and overall it left me satisfied.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Blog link: https://mustreadalltheromance.blogspo...
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Minxy Melissa.
1,741 reviews66 followers
March 24, 2020
Highland Sword is the third and final book in the Royal Highlander series. This book explores the last heroine who has been featured throughout this series, Morrigan Drummond. Morrigan was the daughter of a man who was considered a traitor to the crown and executed before her very eyes. Since that day she has vowed her revenge. In this story her quest for revenge of a different sort was thwarted by Aidan Grant and that made him an enemy in her book but unbeknownst to her, Aidan was actually working to build a case against the man truly responsible for her father’s death, Sir Rupert Burney. Caught between her conviction for justice and the frustrating attention from Aidan, Morrigan will have to decide if her revenge is worth what it would cost her heart if she was to succeed.

Highland Sword’s focus on Morrigan was much needed as she had always been mostly in the background before. It helped me to understand what truly drove her ambition to train as hard as she did and her unyielding desire to rid Scotland of Sir Rupert Burney’s influence. It was told from primarily Morrigan and Aidan’s viewpoints, which I always love when there is a romance included. There are also some past-present transitions in the story that explores an incident that took place in Morrigan’s past which explained much about her behaviors and motivations. This was a slower story in terms of action being the main plot driver but Highland Sword was wonderful and it delivered a robust story filled with political intrigue, an enemy-to-lovers romance, and a satisfying ending to an overarching plot. This would be a book and a series that I would recommend to fans of historical romance fiction.

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
Profile Image for Sheena ☆ Book Sheenanigans .
1,409 reviews334 followers
January 19, 2020

“Highland Sword” started off slow and I had to put this down 3-4 times before fully committing myself to read and to be honest, it didn’t exactly stand out. Sure I love the strong willed heroine who had a physical altercation with the hero within the first few minutes of meeting but due to the slow start of the story, tedious scenes, and dull side characters I was left unsatisfied. To sum it all up, "Highland Sword" was nothing to write home about.

Profile Image for Elodie’s Reading Corner.
2,446 reviews111 followers
February 5, 2020
Highland Sword
A Royal Highlander Series #3
May McGoldrick
Release date 03/31/2020
Publisher St Martin’s Paperbacks

Blurb :

Fleeing to the Highlands after her father’s murder, fiery Morrigan Drummond has a score to settle with Sir Rupert Burney, the English spymaster responsible for his death. Trained to fight alongside the other rebels determined to break Britain’s hold on Scotland, she swears to avenge her father’s death—until a chance encounter with a barrister as proud and principled as she is presents her with a hard choice…and a bittersweet temptation.
Aidan Grant has never encountered another woman like dangerous beauty Morrigan—and he has the bruises to prove it. Yet she could be the key to defending two innocent men, as well as striking a death blow to the reprehensible Burney. Convincing Morrigan to help him will take time, but Aidan is willing to wait if it means victory over corrupt government forces and freedom for his people…and Morrigan’s hand in marriage. Can two warriors committed to a cause stand down long enough to open their hearts to a love fierce enough to last…forever?

My review :

When a woman seeking revenge meets a man wanting justice, can they find a common ground...

This is my first read by the duet of authors, and
as the third book in a series, I had to catch up with the many characters from the two previous stories, and even if this one is a standalone some side characters from the other tales interact with the main protagonists, it takes some time to get acquainted with everyone.
I even googled for some historical informations as England history was not on my cursus, it cleared some parts of the background plot, as grand history is mixed with fiction.

On the romance part, it is a slow burn one, going on the long run. Nothing is rushed between Morrigan and Aidan.
Their first encounter is quite a thing, one for memory with fists and daggers involved. From there, their relationship moves from physical interactions to battle of wits.
I quite loved to see them slowly fall for the other, as much seduced by the brain than the aspect of one another.
Still they have to navigate the Intricate webs of lies, betrayals and deceits surrounding them and only waging to pounce on them.
Aidan is a superhero of the courtrooms, he uses his profond knowledge of human nature to drive people where he wants them to be.
He is clever and open minded, why he does not renege his attraction for Morrigan, if her fiery temper is far from ideal at first for a barrister looking for a political outcome, he does not let it deter it from pursuing her. She is the woman he wants and he uses his praetorian talent to woo her.
Morrigan is a woman of many layers, she rebuilt herself as a stronger woman, one to attack first and question later. She refuses to ever be again a victim. Her past wound is still raw, it is at the root of her attitude. I loved she gave herself the strength to rise from her ashes. Yet, the past always lingers at the border and until she confronts it in the face, she will still be a prisoner of her own fear, mind and scars. Despite her mistakes, she braves her worst nightmares and refuses to cower when threatened of exposure.

I do not know how narrated are the other romances by this duet but here I felt like I was watching a movie unfolding before me, with actions, many protagonists playing their own part, a driving plot and a romance brewing slowly as a conducting wire.
4.5 stars for this tale of resilience and faith.

I was granted an advance copy by the publisher St Martin’s Paperbacks through Netgalley.
I purchased my own. Here is my true and unbiased opinion.


Profile Image for Cathy Geha.
3,598 reviews66 followers
March 26, 2020
Highland Sword by May McGoldrick
Royal Highlander #3

A man with royal blood hidden as a child by his mother
Unwilling to take the throne as an adult
As usual
Some are caught in the crossfire
Will they do well
Will they not?

This is a great book! I love this author’s books that are filled with historical settings, wonderful characters, delightful plots and of course...the splendid romance they provide in every book. This story caught us up with Cinead but went directly into the story of Aidan Grant and Morrigan Drummond.

Morrigan is a woman who was wronged as a child and the wrong has festered for years. She has become adept at fighting and deals with her emotions by working on improving her skills as a female warrior. She is the daughter of a doctor who was killed in a previous book and though she has skills as a healer it is not her calling to be a doctor. Aidan is a superb sought after lawyer who has been to war, lost family and wants to see wrongs righted. His brother Sebastian is a character I would love to have find his HEA in a future book.

Morrigan and Aidan should have nothing in common but they soon realize that perhaps they do. They both are on the same side politically and have the same vision for Scotland. In their “meet cute” he is pummeled, bruised and battered...by her. Meeting strangers in alleys is not always a pleasant experience. As the story progresses we find out more about both characters and a bit about what makes them tick. There are secrets exposed, bad men to deal with, political intrigue, family and clan events and the slow wooing of Morrigan by Aidan.

So often in reading historical romances I get caught up in the costumes or what is going on with the people and lose sight of the historical time period and what is going on in history. I know, my bad. This author wove into this story just enough information from previous books to remind me what happened in the previous books in the series and thus helped me remember why I care about the outcome of THIS book. And care I did.

What I liked:
* Morrigan: smart, strong, daring and caring – loved that she was also unbending and in some cases unforgiving
* Aidan: intelligent, has a vision, strong and heroic – loved the way he knew just how to handle Morrigan
* Sebastian: an interesting man I want to know more about
* the political issues taking place in the background
* The characters, plot and writing
* The closeness of the women in the story
* That evil was thwarted – at least a few times

What I did not like:
* The spymaster...a horrible person who deserved much more pain than he eventually received
* The Sparrow...another horrible man that got just what he deserved
* Having to say goodbye to the characters when the story ended

Did I like this book? Yes indeed
Would I read more by this author? Without a doubt

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC – This is my honest review.

5 Stars
Profile Image for Caitlyn Lynch.
Author 43 books1,826 followers
April 1, 2020
In this dazzling conclusion to the Royal Highlander series, a dedicated barrister fighting for reform falls for a rebellious lass with the heart of a lion. If you’ve read the first two books in the series, you’ll already be keen to see Morrigan find her happy ending, and if you haven’t read those books… then you really should, because the overarching plot of the Son of Scotland which is brought to a conclusion here won’t make a lot of sense.

I have to admit I did wonder how the authors were going to bring the overarching plot to a satisfying conclusion without a massive history rewrite, but they really did do an excellent job of it, while not allowing this to overshadow Morrigan and Aidan’s love story. The historical details show the authors’ meticulous research and make the whole story feel so real and authentic. Real historical personages mix with fictional ones, real events influencing the fictional plot until the lines between are truly blurred and it would take a historian to be sure which parts really happened and which are products of the authors’ imagination. It’s just so good, and something very few authors can pull off with real legitimacy because the depth of research required to make it feel this real is intense. This writing duo is right up there with the best currently writing historical romance.

TRIGGER WARNING REQUIRED: CSA/RAPE. A significant part of the plot hinges on Morrigan’s childhood abuse and rape at the hands of an older relative, who she is forced to confront as an adult. The actual abuse isn’t dwelt on, but enough details are given that this could be a dangerous trigger for those who have been victims of CSA or rape. Please approach with caution if this is an issue for you.

This is a stunning and satisfying conclusion to one of the best historical romance trilogies I’ve ever read. Do yourself a favour and read the whole series. Five stars.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Shoshanna Ford.
345 reviews13 followers
January 27, 2020
Another absolute stunner by May McGoldrick!

Before I even started Highland Sword, I already knew I would love this book. There is no one who writes like the McGoldricks do. I love every single one of their books. The history flows so effortlessly in and through every story. The balance of story to history is perfect. It is rare to find an author(s) that is able to keep the historical detail in the forefront, without overwhelming the story. Highland Sword lived up to my every expectation. 

The vibrant characters are three dimensional and vivacious. Morrigan is one of my all time favorite heroines. She doesn't just get mad, she gets stabby. I love her. Though she has experienced traumatic experiences, she does not let them define her. She is fierce. Aidan is an equally perfect hero. A barrister with a reputation for defending the innocent against an increasingly corrupt government. They are a match made in heaven! 

The plot is well developed, easy to follow, and fun to read. Highland Sword kept me on the edge of my seat. I particularly enjoyed the appearance of beloved characters from earlier in the series. 

Highly recommend this and every May McGoldrick book to all fans of excellent historical fiction.
Profile Image for eyes.2c.
2,368 reviews44 followers
March 30, 2020
Feisty Scotswoman fights free!

Spirited Morrigan Drummond had secrets. Secrets that eat into her soul. Whilst in Inverness she overhears men speaking, revealing that her hated uncle, Robert Wemys, the 'Sparrow', who'd betrayed her was close by. She trails the two men to his location, ready to take his life. She's prevented by Aidan Grant, a solicitor who needs Wemys to be a witness for clients being brought into court on a trumped up charge. In the frackou Aiden and Morrigan fight. Both end up bruised and cut.
Later Morrigan's profoundly disturbed to find her uncle's been taken to Dalmigavie Castle to be hidden until the court case. (Her absolute surprise and reaction is a great piece of writing. I felt like I was really frozen with the same unthinkable torment Morrigan was.)
Through all this Morrigan works out where the person creating outrageous caricatures against Cinaed Mackintosh (the grandson of Teàrlach, the Bonnie Prince, often referred to as the son of Scotland) could be located. Solving this puts her in direct conflict with the cunning Sir Rupert Burney, the English spymaster, and Director of the Home Office in Scotland.
As the story develops so does the romance between Aiden and Morrigan, although Morrigan cannot bring herself to face her problems lying between them-- until she does.
Superbly founded on accurate historical facts, this story set in 1820 Scotland adds further Intrigue and heart to the series.
I've already enjoyed Books 1 and 2, Book 3 only adds to the 'Royal' suite with aplomb.

A St. Martin's Press ARC via NetGalley
Profile Image for Melissa.
60 reviews11 followers
January 20, 2020
A story of life in the highlands. An area torn about by wars and aristocracy, can two people put aside their differences and embrace the love they feel for each other.

While I did enjoy the main characters, I found that I had a bit of a hard time getting into the story. There were a lot of characters coming and going from the plot. About half way through the book the chapters began to alternate perspective, which is not my favorite way to move the story along. If you enjoy law and a very in-depth back story, this might be just the book for you.

I found the main characters to be delightful and I was rooting for them to be together. All in all, I believe I was just looking for a little more love story and a little less every day life.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martins Press for the opportunity to read Highland Sword. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Michele.
1,184 reviews
March 30, 2020
It took me a little bit to get back into the storyline and remember Morrigan's family history. Once I did, I could instantly feel her need for vengeance and appreciate who she was. I liked the twist to the story of how she first meets Aiden and his misunderstanding of her true mission. There is so much about Morrigan that is underestimated but Aiden learns that lesson very quickly. I found that I liked both of these characters very quickly and easily which kept me immersed in the story.

I enjoyed the blending of the historical aspects with the blooming romance, but I truthfully would have liked a bit more from the romantic perspective than we received. However, that is a personal opinion. Overall, I really enjoyed the flow of the book and how the different events unfolded. I felt that it concluded the series in a satisfying way and I was content with the resolution everyone received. But is it the conclusion? I'm being vague because I truly don't want to give away any of the details...I like for people to have a chance to experience it for themselves.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
1,806 reviews16 followers
March 31, 2020
Yes this was a little slow at first but it soon developed into a captivating read. Something had happened in Morrigan’s past that still affected her today. She is a brave woman and is able to fight like a warrior. Morrigan’s first meeting with Adrian Grant is explosive to say the least. Adrian is a handsome man, a barrister who knows how to be persuasive. They are attracted to each other but there are many dangerous times ahead. I enjoyed the close family feel between the characters, Adrian’s brother, Sebastian is quite a character! There were interesting descriptions of the Samhain festival. There is also the political manoeuvrings that are taking place. Although this may be read as a standalone, past events are explained, the reader will get a deeper understanding of the first two books are read. I received a copy and have voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Rainelle.
1,352 reviews71 followers
March 21, 2020
I read the book overnight. In the beginning the book did catch my attention with a lot action, however as I continued to read the book, political talk over shadowed the romance of the book. If the book discussed more of the Romance between the two characters, I would be able to be in tune to the book. This my review as a reviewer for Net Galley

Professional Reader
Profile Image for Becky (romantic_pursuing_feels).
693 reviews396 followers
June 28, 2020
Morrigan and Aiden have that feeling of enemies to lovers a bit. They are both quite fiesty and opinionated, Morrigan very much so. But there was sooo much going on in this book. So many characters, so many names, so much action, so much plot, intrigue, revenge. I felt none of the romance sadly. I did start with just this story, so perhaps this is one that you should read in order? I'm unsure if I would have felt more knowing the basis of the characters and world that's been created. I think if you really enjoy the time period and history of the time you would enjoy this more than I did.

Thanks NetGalley for the ARC, all thoughts and opinions regarding this story are my own.
Profile Image for Kathy.
1,055 reviews3 followers
February 6, 2020
Morrigan is a warrior with a deeply hidden secret. Her actions and reactions are understandable as the story unwinds. The romance builds slowly and is so touching, but the best part of this book is the historical depiction of events and the intrigue surrounding these events, whether they are fictional or factual. Beautifully written, with compelling characters, this story and the preceding books in the series will remain with you for a long time.
Profile Image for Maranda.
930 reviews32 followers
February 10, 2020
Drama and Romance. Loved the story and characters. Worked well as a stand alone. "Copy of this book was provided by St. Martin's Press via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion." Made for a quick enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Maureen.
1,046 reviews32 followers
March 31, 2020
I love Historical Romance novels. So when I was approached to read ‘Highland Sword’ I was immediately excited and wanted to start reading right away. Although this book is the third one the in the Royal Highlander series, it can be read as a standalone. And that is what I did.

In ‘Highland Sword’ we meet Morrigan. Morrigan is a fierce young lady who is nothing like other ladies. She trains as a fighter, she goes on field trips with the guys and she isn’t one to marry or have a relationship. After Morrigan’s father was murdered, Morrigan has been wanting revenge. And she is determined to get it. But one evening, when she sees one of her enemies, she accidentally meets Aidan Grant. Aiden is immediately fascinated with Morrigan. But her has to patience with her.

This book is my first May McGoldrick read, and I definitely enjoyed reading it. Morrigan’s character is very fun to read about. Especially since she is so very different than other ladies. I loved how fierce she was, and how she was this badass.. especially as a young woman in that age and era. From the moment Morrigan met Aiden her life changed. And you could easily feel the connection they had.

Aiden’s character was also very fun. He was intrigued with Morrigan right from the start. But he soon learned he had to be patient with her. And that was what he was. Determined but patient, and I loved that. I could have easily read more about Morrigan and Aiden.

There were many times that I wished I read more about these two and their starting relationship in this book. There was a lot of information about Morrigan’s revenge and Aiden’s job too, and although it was interesting I missed the romance a little in those parts. When this book started it definitely took me some time to really get into the story. And I honestly had to push through. Luckily the connection between Morrigan and Aiden was good enough to keep me interested.

Overall I did really enjoy ‘Highland Sword’. But I wished there was more romance.
Profile Image for Alison.
693 reviews6 followers
March 22, 2020
Highland Sword
Royal Highlander #3
May McGoldrick

Corrigan Drummond has run to the Highlands after her father's murder. She has a big score to settle with Sir Rupert Burney the man who's also an English spymaster.Trained to fight alongside with the other rebels who want to break Britain's hold on Scotland, she swears that she will avenge her father's death, but sometimes things are easier said then done.

Aiden Grant has never met another woman like the beautiful Morrigan and he has the injuries that she inflicted on him to prove it. Now he only has to convince Morrigan to help him could take time, but Aiden is willing to wait if it means victory over the corrupt government forces and freedom for his people and Morrigan's hand in marriage.

Can these two warriors who undoubtedly committed to a cause stop fighting long enough to open their hearts for love? Or will they fight on past the feeling and never know that kind of love?

May McGoldrick has ended this series in this wonderful story to sum it all up. Aiden is the perfect hero as he goes about Scotland defending all of those that are falsely accused of treason. And Morrigan is a totally different kind of woman who can hold her own. As these are dangerous times in Scotland it is really nice to see these two find such love. As a couple these two were wonderful. Almost like a heart that was split in two and made whole again. Everyone basically get their just desserts as well. May McGoldrick has such talent. Everytime I read one of their books I'm carted off to a different time and place and in my opinion that is the best part. Thank you for writing such a lovely book.
52 reviews
March 2, 2020
Thank you Goodreads and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read and review Highland Sword before its publication date!

I have to be honest, I really struggled with this one. This is my first May McGoldrick book but certainly not my first Highlander/historical romance and, unlike with most Highland romances, this one seemed to pay special attention to the political movements of the Highland and Britain. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing and refreshing to read in its own right, it's not really what I was expecting from a book branded a Highland romance. I felt like a great deal of the plot is focused more on the political tensions between Scotland and Britain than on the tensions and budding relationship between Morrigan and Aidan. It's only really within the last handful of chapters that we see their relationship progress.

I felt like too much of my attention was focused on the historical elements and Aidan and Morrigan's slow burn romance was kind of regulated to the backburner. This, in turn, made me a little antsy to get to the actual romance portion of the novel. In the end, it felt like Aidan and Morrigan's relationship wasn't given its fair share of the limelight due to the developing plot involving imprisoning the "bad guy."

Overall, even though I felt the pacing was a little too slow for my tastes and that more time could have been devoted to the blossoming relationship between the two main characters, I did enjoy the characters. Morrigan was intelligent and sassy, an advocate for women's rights and independence, and someone who gave as good as she got. Aidan was charming, completely undeterred by Morrigan's rough edges, and undeniably passionate about helping those in need.
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