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Publisher's Summary

From a New York Times best-selling author comes an irresistible romance of 16th-century Scotland!

When a spirited Scottish lass crosses paths with a charismatic Outlander, sparks fly that threaten to set fire to their separate worlds....

Vibrant Fiona MacLeod has never left the Isle of Skye, except in the pages of cherished books. However, everything changes when her mother makes a deathbed request that Fi travel to Falkland Palace and experience the royal court. It may be her last chance to see the world before she is married off to an overbearing Highland warrior.

Across the ocean in Europe, architect Christophe de St. Briac enjoys a perfectly ordered life. He’s a rising star among the artistic builders of the Renaissance and has his pick of women to warm his bed - until King François I pressures him to accept a project at Scotland’s Falkland Palace. 

Although Fiona and Christophe are from different worlds, they soon find their passionate souls have everything in common. But while they seem to be on a collision course with destiny, dark forces are conspiring to keep them apart....

Connecting books:

  • You and No Other (Thomas and Aimée)
  • Of One Heart (Andrew and Micheline)
  • Abducted at the Altar (Christophe and Fiona)

The St. Briac family in the 18th century:

  • The Secret of Love (Gabriel and Isabella)
  • His Make-Believe Bride (Justin and Mouette)
©2018 Cynthia Challed (P)2018 Cynthia Challed

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Entertaining and Great Production!

I’ve read or listened to author Cynthia Wright’s books for a long time.  I always start a read knowing I’ll be entertained with fully-developed gentle, honorable characters who end up taking part of my heart when the tale is complete. Her diabolical antagonists are wily and devious -- a pleasure to see them fail with their schemes.

This tale is not the exception.  Narrator Tim Campbell makes the listen a page-turner with his fantastic flexibility between French accented English and the Scottish brogue.  He positively takes the characters Wright creates to a higher level!

Fiona MacLeod is a dutiful child, particularly to her family. She loves her mother and father very much.  When her mother dies, she has only her father, who is devastated by her mother’s death. He is a man who can’t seem to let go of his daughter and plays right into the hands of the antagonist. He seems to be a weak man, but with a good heart.

Fiona has her dreams, perhaps more than the average highland lass, thanks to her mother teaching her how to read and write and the hours of reading together.  When she meets St. Briac she is intrigued with him, spending time questioning him about the places he's lived.

The antagonist whom we find has reasons to do what he does, is misguided with some mistruths. He is quite the unsavory sort, but Fiona's father doesn't see his bad character for he hides it with smiles and a lordly demeanor. Her father betrothes her to him without her consent. Should she do as her father wishes?  Afterall, many highland marriages are made for alliances and not love.  But Fiona wishes for more.  She wants to be loved and to love her husband.

Christophe St. Briac is every bit the rogue – women in his bed, but leave them before morning.  His passion is to create beautiful buildings.  As an architect, he had grand plans for Le Louvre and had been given a promise to work on that dream when he’d done a little favor for the King. I enjoyed getting to know the man behind the work-driven one. He is attracted to wee Fiona, and she to him.  But Christophe doesn't consider himself a marrying man.  Will his love to her be strong enough to keep him from returning to France?

Wright's tales leave a smile on my face and a light heart. She entertains with conflicted  characters, humor, and passionate, determined heroes and heroines who struggle to reach their happy ever after--all the while cheered on by the reader/listener!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Captivating Start to New Scottish Series

I am always excited to hear of a new Cynthia Wright book. And this would be the first in a new series, The Brides of Skye, set in Scotland! Never fear, Beauvisage fans, there are still ties to the beloved St. Briac family.

Set in 1538, we meet Fiona MacLeod who has spent all of her life on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. She longs to explore the world, beyond the pages of her books, but duty keeps her at her mother’s sickbed, running the home for her warrior father and brothers. On her deathbed, Eleanor extracts a promise from her husband, Magnus...let Fiona have a chance to experience the royal court at Falkland Palace. Magnus, devastated by his wife’s death, carries out her request. But he knows that nothing will come of the visit, because Magnus has arranged for Fiona to be married to Ramsay MacAskills, a move that will help settle the tension between the two clans. Unfortunately, Fiona is very uncomfortable with the match, but fears she has no choice.

Over in France, Christophe de St. Briac, having studied with Michelangelo, loves his work as an architect. However, he is not happy when he is pressured by his brother Thomas and King François I to help renovate Falkland Palace, where the King’s goddaughter, Mary of Guise, will live after marrying King James of Scotland. Christophe is reluctant, but persuaded after the promise of a renovation of a lifetime is made.

At Falkland Palace, Fiona and Christophe meet and slowly (and somewhat reluctantly) become enamored of each other. Fiona is hoping for a chance to enjoy her freedom before she is forced to be a dutiful daughter by marrying a man she does not like. Christophe does not want any changes to the life he already enjoys and is anxious to return to France to embark on a renovation of a lifetime. And yet, the feisty Fiona intrigues him. But their path is not an easy one, as outside forces conspire to keep them apart forever.

I thoroughly enjoyed Wright’s latest entry in the St. Briac saga. The reader is reacquainted with old friends as Christophe makes his way from France to Falkland Court in Scotland. For me, as a reader (and librarian), a successful historical fiction/romance book pulls me into the time period and makes me want more. Abducted at the Altar does just that. As always, Wright’s attention to detail and historical accuracy are spot on. I appreciated her descriptions of food, clothing, and the settings. I am excited to read more about Scotland. Her supporting cast of real historical figures also ring true.

Fans of Cynthia Wright will delight in her newest book, savoring the medieval romance and the new characters that appear, just knowing that they will quite likely show up again. After all, this is the first in a series. New readers can also enjoy Abducted at the Altar as a stand-alone book, but will want more. Luckily for them, they can go back to You and No Other and Of One Heart to learn more of the St. Briacs. I highly recommend visiting Cynthia Wright’s Pinterest boards, where you can see pictures of historical figures, clothing, and castles of the time. And Erik.

I was eagerly awaiting the audio version of ABDUCTED AT THE ALTAR, because Tim Campbell adds so much depth to the story. As the story progresses, he is able to bring a multitude of characters to life, showing off his range of voices. Once again, Cynthia Wright’s storytelling paired with Tim Campbell’s narration are both engaging and satisfying and I cannot resist Tim Campbell reading Cynthia Wright’s books. I am hoping that he will narrate more of her books, such as SILVER STORM...hint hint! 

Note: I received a free copy of the eaudiobook in exchange for an honest review.