The Highlander’s Touch

By Karen Marie Moning

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Dell, c2000, 2007

Genres: Romance, paranormal romance, fantasy, time travel fantasy, historical fiction

Series: The Highlander romances; 3

ISBN: 9780440236528

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 356

Setting: Cincinnati, Ohio and Scotland

Time period: Contemporary and 1314

Plot summary: Lisa Stone works two jobs to support herself and her dying mother.  When exhaustion catches up with her at her night job at a museum, she falls asleep to be woken the next morning by her boss and another man conversing about one of the museum’s recently acquired artifacts.  She remains hidden throughout the conversation because she is not supposed to be in the museum at that hour.  After they leave, she emerges from her hiding spot and inspects the artifact that was left out.  Unbeknownst to her, the artifact was cursed hundreds of years earlier by a Scottish warrior.  As soon as Lisa touches it, she finds herself transported back in time to Circenn Brodie, the man who cursed the object and vowed to kill the one carrying it.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Quick and steady pace (I read it in a day).

Characterization: The story is told in third person with alternating viewpoints between Lisa and Circenn.  The secondary characters are not well developed at all.

Frame: A warrior’s oath taken before one of the darkest fey beings in all of Scotland sets the stage for this story; but it is a false stage with a trap door that leads to a cozy happily ever after.

Story line: A light and fun romance with some intrigue and action.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Scotland — History — 14th century — Fiction.

Highlands (Scotland) — Fiction.

Love stories.

Historical fiction.

Similar authors: Monica McCarty, Melissa Mayhue, Veronica Wolff, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kinley MacGregor, Alexandra Ivy, Kresley Cole, Janet Chapman

Also check out suggestions at All About Romance (although I’m not sure I would agree with the authors I have read listed here.  Even though Diana Gabaldon and Juliet Marillier have books which take place in similar settings, I don’t think their stories are at all like this one).

Personal notes:

I liked this book even though I found it incredibly cheesy – much the way I get kicks out of watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I did bristle at how Circenn pronounces his name, though (the second syllable rhymes with sin).  Everything I’ve read about pronouncing Celtic names always stresses that C’s are pronounced hard – NOT like the Boston Celtics.  Based upon that, I really question how historically accurate this book may or may not be.  I’m not familiar with this time period or Robert the Bruce (he is a character in this book).

It seems like all the libraries listed in WorldCat have a bogus subject heading for this book, listing it as Scotland — History — 16th century — Fiction.  I guess the first two books in the series and many later books take place in the 16th century, but this one takes place in the 14th century.  Anyone looking for a love story set in 14th century Scotland is not going to find this book by using a library catalog and subject headings until this is fixed.

Other (themes, diversity): Diversity – Scots, Pict, faeries, monks (Knights Templar)

Won a 2001 RITA award for best paranormal romance novel

Karen Marie Moning’s website

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