by Jaclyn Reding

November 2002
ISBN: 0-451-20740-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Signet Books
Mass Market Paperback

Isabella Drayton is approaching the end of her sojourn in Paris, and she’s discontented. Her wish for romance and adventure has gone unanswered. Unlike her elder sister, she is shy and reserved, and can’t seem to ‘let go’ and have fun. But she’s lovely and intelligent, and hopes that the future will give her another chance.

Little does she know that the future holds an enormous adventure for her – starting with the unexpected meeting with the exiled Prince of Scotland, Bonnie Prince Charles. Then, that evening, Isabella is invited to sup with the king of France and his scintillating royal court. During dinner, a mysterious stranger hands her a note, asking her to meet him in the gallery of mirrors at midnight. Fascinated, Isabella goes, although she knows it may be folly. But her wish for excitement seems to be coming true. Especially when the stranger reveals himself to be a secretive spy, and hands her a necklace with an ancient crystal on it. He gives it to Isabella with the cryptic warning that she must choose the ‘right MacKay’ or the world will be in danger. Well! Isabelle is thrilled, and since MacKay is Scottish and her sister is married to a Scotsman, she imagines she’ll have no trouble giving the crystal to the rightful owner. But her ship is pirated, and she is kidnapped and taken to a ruined castle on the wild coast of Scotland. As it turns out, she’s been captured by Calum MacKay! But it seems there is more than one MacKay, and until Isabelle is sure which is the ‘right’ one, she keeps her crystal hidden.

Well, The Adventurer is certainly a fast moving highland fling, complete with kilts and heather, sheep and brawny Scotsmen. Isabella is a likeable heroine, and the story, while nothing very original or memorable, is easy to get into and a fast read. It isn’t a book that particularly stands out. The hero is gone most of the time; the heroine does the usual things – makes friends with the inhabitants of the castle, saves a pregnant woman and her young son, and then predictably falls in love. If you like the Highlands and are interested in the Jacobites and the war between Scotland and England, you’ll certainly enjoy this, but don’t expect anything out of the ordinary.

Reviewed in November 2002 by Jennifer.

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