Review: The highland commander (A. Jarecki)

In a time of political upheaval between Scotland and England, Aiden falls in love with a woman, who is not only the illegitimate daughter of an earl but also a spy for the Jacobite course.

The Highland commander - Dunnottar Castle

“How could you make me feel like this?” (…) “A wee trick sailors learn,” he hedged.

This is the second audiobook in Amy Jarecki’s “The Highland Lords”-series. When Aiden takes a short leave while his ship is being repaired, his only goal in London is to get rid of his virginity. He certainly doesn’t expect to meet Maddie again, the illegitimate daughter of an earl, from whom he has stolen a few kisses at a ball. She has travelled to London to plead her father’s innocence, who is accused of being a Jacobite. Together they manage to clear the charges against the earl. In the process a love affair is blooming between them. After Maddie’s father is freed, she is forced to stay in London and play the harp for the Queen while Aiden returns to his post at the Navy. When she is accused of attempted murder, she realises for the first time how dangerous her position as a Scot among English aristocracy truly is.

In love with “The Highland Commander

A lot stands in the way of the young couple. Aiden is the second son of a duke and has to prove himself at every turn. Maddy, on the other hand, is the illegitimate daughter of an earl and as such scorned by the rest of the aristocracy for her birth. Their relationship develops slowly. When they first meet, neither expects to see the other again. I appreciate that the author allows for some time to elapse. A month passes between the ball and their meeting in London where they fall into a short love affair before Aiden is called back to his duties. Another year goes by until they see each other again. By then, new obstacles have arisen. They are torn apart by political conflict at first and then by the differences in their social standing. In the end, Aiden is forced to decide between his title and his love.

The narration of “The Highland Commander”

In my opinion, an English accent has become the trademark of historical romances. Penelope Hardy’s lovely British accent brings the historical setting of the story to life. She switches effortlessly from character to character, and her Highland burr is recognisable, if not overly pronounced.

The heroine in “The Highland Commander”

Throughout the plot, Maddie proves that she is able to withstand being shunned, ridiculed, even tortured. Against her better judgement, she obeys her father when he orders her to spy for the Jacobite course. She pleads with the Queen multiple times to pardon her father putting herself in a dangerous position. When it comes to Aiden, though, she is quite naïve entering into a sexual relationship without the promise of something permanent.

Why read “The Highland Commander”

The tension and intrigues between Scotland and England make for an interesting background for the couple’s struggle. In fact, the couple has to struggle so much that I wasn’t totally satisfied with the sudden resolution and ending of the plot as well as Aiden’s complete change of mind with regards to Maddie.
Having listened to the third book of this series first, I was glad to reencounter Lord Reed from “The Highland Guardian”. I prefer “The Highland Commander” with regards to the building of the couple’s relationship, but the next audiobook is definitely worth listening to as well.

What is your opinion of this audiobook? Did I leave out something crucial in your opinion?

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