Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Audio Book Review: Highland Raven

Highland Raven

By:  Melanie Karsak

Publish Date:  June 2015, Audiobook Release August 4, 2016

Format:  Audiobook - 8 hrs 6 mins
Narrated By:  Lesley Parkin

Genre:  Fantasy

Series:  1st in The Saga of Lady Macbeth series

First Impression:  Lady MacBeth long before she was MacBeth. The land of Scotland has magic, and so does Gruoch.

Synopsis:
Destined to become Queen of Scotland.

Bound by blood to the Celtic gods.

Scotland, 1026--Gruoch, descendant of the line of MacAlpin, should have been born into a life of ease. But fate is fickle. Her father's untimely death, rumored to have been plotted by King Malcolm, leaves her future uncertain and stained by the prophecy that she will avenge her family line.

Escaping to one of the last strongholds of the old Celtic gods, Gruoch becomes an adept in arcane craft. Her encounters with the otherworld, however, suggest that magic runs stronger in Scotland than she ever imagined.

Haunted by dreams of a raven-haired man she's never met, Gruoch soon feels her fate is not her own. She is duty-bound to wed a powerful lord, if not the Prince himself; however, she's not sure she can stop her heart when she meets Banquo, a gallant highlander and druid.

Fans of Outlander and Mists of Avalon will relish this sweeping Scottish Historical Fantasy that tells the tale of Gruoch, a woman struggling to escape her fate without blood on her hands.

First Sentence:
I've been defamed.

Purchase At:
Amazon  /  Barnes & Nobles  /  Book Depository

Audible

My Thoughts and Summary:
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request.

Gruoch, raised by her loving aunt and cruel husband, is destined to be called by the goddess. When the goddess calls, Aunt Madelaine tells her husband that Gruoch is going to a convent to study the White Christ, but truly she's going to learn the old ways of their people.

This is the first story I've heard narrated by Lesley, and I'm highly impressed. The thick accent of the time and place comes through and feels genuine. Emotion and spirits of the characters come through the rise and fall of her tone. I was really drawn to her narration. Lesley even gives different feel to voices for different characters.

The writing feels so real when I listen to Lesley narrate. The brutal treatment woman lived under as wives and servants alike. The story starts slower, setting the stage of where Gruoch comes from and what she's seen to bring her to who she is. This is Lady MacBeth and her journey through life.

This is one of those stories I was drawn into and really enjoyed, yet it's difficult to write about. I don't want to give away anything as I want you to have all the feels as you experience the story as well.

This story is Gruoch's. Who is Gruoch? She's who we know as MacBeth. This story tells of what she's experienced as she has grown up. On the day she was born her father called to the goddess. That goddess has answered and will call on Gruoch when she's older. Gruoch lives a good, but at times difficult, life with her aunt as her father fights for their king, and his brother. But then finds she lives permanently with her aunt when her father dies, on a mission for his brother.

Gruoch has lived through much with the way woman are seen and treated in this time. Watching the hatred and love that men could show woman, but mostly the mistreatment above all. She's even been at the receiving end as well.

The story really gets going for me when Gruoch receives the message that it's time to go live with the ladies of the goddess and learn the ways of old. However, Gruoch is different. She's of an older blood. Soul magic. Gruoch finds who she was by who she meets. There is a magical feel of old ways to all Gruoch lives through. She has a connection to the goddess, she believes thanks to her father's doing at her birth. I love when Gruoch goes to the ladies, all that she learns and sees, so much magic.

Aaah. Sid. Sid is very different. She's alone in seeing the faerie folk. And she can really see them! Gruoch sees enough to believe it, and so do I. Sid shows Gruoch her past life, one they shared. And when Druid named Banquo arrives at the holiday celebration, Gruoch sees more of that past life. A past life she loves and would do anything to have again. However, Gruoch is having visions of another man. And this man can see her as well. Who is he and what does he mean to her? And the goddess has other plans for Gruoch.

Gruoch is one strong woman. She witnesses abuse and stands in it's face when she realizes at a young age as to what's happening. Even when that abuse finds her. Gruoch also feels love. She finds dear friends and the man that's dear to her. She stands for herself and not just as a pawn for her uncle, the King, to pass around, although she knows she could be married off as a political piece.

I enjoyed the magical feel we get while Gruoch is learning the old ways of her people. This story is set in Scotland and we get that magical historical feel from it.

There is more books to come with Gruoch and her life. I know there's more to come as we haven't gotten through MacBeth's story fully yet, and I very much look forward to what's to come!



**If you found my thoughts helpful, please click Yes at Amazon and/or Audible. Thank you!

4 comments:

  1. Outlander and Mists of Avalon? I fear that alone might make me have too high expectations. However, this one does sound good enough to try. Brilly review!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely review, Melissa!this is one book I wanted to read or listen too :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I need more accents in my audiobooks. How dare I not listen to many of them :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. This sounds brilliant... I love the idea that it links to the MacBeth story.

    ReplyDelete

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