Hard to believe when looking at plaid fabrics that each of these is like a calling card of sorts. In Scotland, each clan or family was identified based on the plaid fabric that each of them wore over their clothing, that way they could easily be identified as friend or foe. In the case of the latest novel from Jennifer Hudson Taylor, it identified the members of the MacGregor or Campbell family who remained at more than just odds with one another. The Campbell family was in a position of collecting rent from the land that MacGregor's village was set up on. When the rent was late, they made sure to extract not only the money but interest as well. If they were unable to collect it in cash, they took it out in other ways. That is just what happened when Malcolm and his brother Thomas came home to after a long journey.
Their family home was burnt to the ground and his youngest brother Graham fought valiantly to keep his mother and sister from being taken as indentured servants. Now while he recovers, Malcolm searches for clues to where his mother and sister might be. While sending out spies for answers to search in the surrounding countryside, one of them returns with just the right kind of answer to his dilemma, the daughter of Glenn Campbell, Lauren. He has decided she will be the wagering pawn to get his family back no matter what the costs. He just didn't see that the Campbell clan would sell his family as servants on a ship bound to South Carolina. He didn't plan on taking Lauren with him on that journey to find his family and he gets so much more than he ever dreamed he'd bargained for.
The last thing that Lauren had hoped was that her faith in God would be tested in ways she could never imagine. Being treated as a slave in hopes that her father would do whatever it took to get her back, she knows that her father might search for her only as a way of maintaining his loyalty to his clan but based on the years of living with her father, she knows he does not love her like she wants. Perhaps if Malcolm wanted a true bargaining chip, he should have taken her brother instead. But her loyalty to God will enable her to do whatever she can to win over Malcolm's heart and soul. She believes God placed him in her path so she can help him find salvation for his soul. The journey has only just begun but the storm is brewing on the horizon.
I received For Love or Loyalty by Jennifer Hudson Taylor compliments of Abingdon Press for my honest review and did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable one. I found myself walking away with a deep Scottish accent after reading this one, because the author writes so well you feel completely immersed in the culture and setting of her book. We have all had times where our faith is tested, where we simply wonder if there is a point to all of this much like Lauren. However skilled mariners are not made in quiet coves but in turbulent storms and that is just what happens in this case. Lauren by far, is my favorite character because her default mode is always God and her faith in Him, no matter how bleak the circumstances. It shows the reader how powerful that can be to people who only see our faith from our actions lived out among us, much like Malcolm. He is completely baffled by Lauren's refusal to act as he thinks she should given her circumstances. A true test of faith. I give this one a 4 out of 5 stars and this is the first novel n the MacGregor Quest Series.
Malcolm comes undone when he arrives to his village to see devastation and ruin everywhere. His mother and sister have been kidnapped and sold into slavery, his brother has been tortured and left for dead, and homes have been burned to the ground_..all because taxes were due and the Campbell clan took things too far to prove a point. Malcolm becomes enraged and is determined to seek revenge in his hate towards this barbaric family. When one of his men grabs Lauren Campbell in retaliation, Malcolm makes a scheme to use her as leverage against the Campbells and in getting his mother back.
Lauren is responsible for her younger sister, Blair, and enjoys taking food and supplies to the less fortunate. When she is kidnapped, her first impulse is to protect her sister. Then she is able to witness what has been done to her friends, the MacGregors, and is appalled by the damage her brothers and father have committed. She is determined not to show Malcolm fear and to help him get his family back, but can she trust him on his quest for revenge?
Malcolm has already made up his mind about using Lauren, but when he sees her compassionate ways he is deeply conflicted. She's a Christian and comes from the deceptive Campbell clan, there's no way she can be genuine and her faith must be easy to come by seeing how she lives in such a comfortable way. She's never suffered a day in her life, how can she appreciate the faith she claims to have? She must be spoiled deep down, her compassion is just a means to manipulate him, and even though he took her against her will, she really has no right to complain since he has not abused her. There's no way Malcolm can trust her civility knowing the father she came from, but he makes it his business to protect her and make her as comfortable as possible while she's under his care. He must not read into their situation beyond that logic. When Lauren insists she forgives him despite his dishonorable method, he refuses the forgiveness as if he doesn't need it.
Half of the book takes place on a ship that travels from Scotland to the Americas in pursuit of Malcolm's mother and sister. The rule of boarding for all passengers is for those who cannot afford the passage must travel as indentured servants who will be put up for auction once they reach the shore to be sold into plantations and families. Malcolm secures a place on board for him and Lauren and this is where their journey begins.
**Jennifer Hudson Taylor = BRILLIANT STORYTELLING AUTHOR**
There are two things this author is brilliantly talented at accomplishing when writing her stories_..one, she is able to take two characters from battling families and completely change their perspectives of one another. They go from not liking each other (sometimes even despising one another) and not trusting one another into respecting one another and then they start to feel attracted to one another and this leads into something so much more profound and deeper than anything the reader could ever imagine. Two, she can take controversial subjects (even uninteresting subjects in history) and make a story that will grab the reader's attention from the start and keep their interest until the last page. Both of these talents are very difficult to come by for any author and Taylor accomplishes both of these aspects in an effortless manner that makes the story flow for her readers.
Even though this book deals with the heartbreaking and unsettling prospects of slavery, the author writes about this historical issue with complete respect, authenticity, compassion, sacrifice, faith, unconventional loyalty, romance, and justice. There is nothing inappropriate in this story and it's amazing what the characters go through to find Malcolm's family. I was thrilled and utterly touched with every part of this book!
Lauren even gets unfairly placed in a bordello, but that part of the story is written with utmost tact and I was eager to see what was next for Lauren as she looks to God for mercy and in desperation.
I truly felt that this book was every bit as good as the book trailer, which held my full attention and does a very fitting job in describing EXACTLY how the plot moves. The scenery is accurate, each plight the main characters experience is perfectly written, the danger is felt, the romance is not rushed, forgiveness is given and accepted, there is one nasty storm at sea, there are slaves on the ship, and the mercy/favor/goodness/love of God is felt in the faithfulness and diligence of all Lauren endures when she is unexpectedly removed from her home in several ways. She touches more lives than she ever imagined possible and she learns that even in her suffering that God is ever present and answers her prayers.
There is even a part of the story where Lauren is angry with God and turns her back on Him. I was happy about that also because all Christians experience a time in their walk where their faith is really tested and can relate to this. However, Lauren learns that God never turned His back on her and not only does she heal but she falls in love with her Beloved all over again. That was such a joy for me to watch with Lauren on top of the justice done on her behalf.
I highly recommend this book not just for reading entertainment, but also because of the incredible blessing this story will bring. For Love or Loyalty is for anyone who enjoys a good adventure with two characters from different worlds who adjust to a whole new land. They must conquer treachery, corruption, betrayal, anger, slave owners, the unknown and adjustment to a whole new world, and a legacy of poverty bestowed upon the MacGregors that oppresses them. This incredible book also illustrates freedom, love, family, loyalty, friendship, and strength beyond Malcolm and Lauren's understanding as they discover God's love conquers all and is worth every obstacle. I utterly enjoyed Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary, but this is easily the author's best book and I look forward to more!
I want to give a special THANK YOU to the author for the print review copy sent to me. I also want to thank Upon the Rock Publishing for the chance to review this book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.
This book made it into my Top 10 Favorites List. It is excellent!
Everything is on the line in this tale. Lauren's father has committed a fatal and very personal crime against Malcolm's family. What begins as an act of revenge leads to a plan to trade Lauren for the freedom of his mother and sister. It won't be without challenges, though. They must cross the ocean together to begin looking for his family and they may not be prepared for the obstacles that wait for them.
As Malcolm's feelings for Lauren begin to change, he questions his original plan, but what choice does he have? By the time he decides he cannot bear to indenture Lauren, she makes a heart-wrenching decision herself and her choice leads to circumstances worse than either of them could have imagined. Now, Malcolm has to find Lauren and a way to rescue her, along with his family.
This book is one of the best books I have ever read and I heartily recommend it to everyone. Jennifer's characters are so real and well-developed and I've found myself missing reading about them since I finished the book. Jennifer carries us through their story so well. Just when things look like they're going to be okay, the next heartbreaking trial enters and we are left wondering how they are going to survive it. While I find most books somewhat predictable, this one was not. When I thought I knew what was going to happen next, I was surprised by what did occur. This book kept me up well into the night because I just couldn't put it down. It's well-written, entertaining, pulls at your heart, and is sure to be your next favorite. I can't wait to read more of Jennifer's books, as this was my first.
**I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for honest feedback. I was not required to write a positive review. I enjoyed this book so much that I want to purchase a printed copy for my library and I intend to read it again.
The Campbells had wronged the MacGregor Clan for nearly two centuries, ever since King James had abolished the MacGregor name in 1603 and had given the MacGregor land to the Campbells.
Malcolm MacGregor had gone to the cattle market and now had the rent money the Campbells would collect in a fortnight. But when he approaches their village, smoke is in the air. Campbell had come early, demanding payment. He and his men took Malcolm's mother and sister, killed a younger brother and severely beat another.
Malcolm is beside himself with grief and anger. Only the insistence of the villagers keeps him from going after Campbell. Colin does sneak to the Campbell home. When he finds the Campbell men have taken off with the MacGregor women, he kidnaps the oldest Campbell daughter, Lauren. Malcolm decides to keep Lauren, find the Campbells, and trade her for his mother and sister. When he finds out his mother and sister have been put on a boat, sold into indentured service in the colonies, Malcolm forces Lauren to go with him on the next boat. Revenge burns in Malcolm's heart.
He has every intention of selling her into service to get the money to save his mother and sister. But there are a few turns in his plan that he could not foresee. One is the possibility of an epidemic on the ship. Another is a storm. The worst of all, when they reach the colonies, Lauren's future looks more bleak than Malcolm could ever imagine. He is frantic to find out how can rescue her, because he may just be falling in love with her.
A major theme in this novel is revenge. It is only by the grace of God that forgiveness might be found and the feud between the Campbells and the MacGregors finally end.
Besides being a well written novel, this book had lots of information and I love learning about something when I read fiction. While I knew some about the indentured process, I had no idea about the living conditions on the sailing ships. Those who could pay had rooms and decent meals, but the indentured people were placed in the hold with the rats, fed little, and allowed on deck only a short time each day. Illness ran rampant and usually half died before reaching the colonies.
I was dismayed to learn of some of the immoral practices in Charles Towne in the 1760s. It was hard to read about how (some) indentured people were treated on the plantations, and even harder to read how women were taken into and treated in the bordellos.
This is great historical fiction. Treat yourself.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the author for the purpose of this review.
"I shall get revenge for our family an' the whole MacGregor Clan. The Campbells have wronged us for two centuries."
Revenge is an age old plot driver, but Hudson Taylor breathes fresh life into it. And she does it sooo well. Exciting conflict rages through the start of this book. The Campbells have always treated the MacGregor clan as unworthy peasants, but this last atrocity sends Malcolm to the Carolinas, bent on exacting revenge while he attempts to rescue his family. Even while revenge and conflict ravages his heart, he makes an appealing hero, and I can totally see why Lauren falls for him.
Don't let the Scottish brogue stop you from picking up this book. After a few minutes, reading it becomes easy and comfortable, but that's not so with other elements of the book. Many times I found my fingers clenching the arms of my recliner, especially during a particularly intense predicament Lauren found herself in. Normally rock-solid in her faith, Lauren questioned why God left her in that awful spot, a reaction I think most of us can relate to.
"Lord, please have mercy on us, " Lauren whispered.
"I see ye're on speaking terms with God again." Malcolm rubbed his chin as he continued to stare at their company.
How could he tease her at a moment like this?
"I have always been on speaking terms with God, especially now." Lauren wrung her hands together and took a deep breath to ease her trembling. She feared her ribs would soon start aching again. "God and I just had a few weeks of silence. "'Tis now over."
Just loved that excerpt! While For Love or Loyalty is a historical, I believe readers of all romance sub-genres will enjoy it as much as I did. Fraught with excitement and danger, bursting with sweet romance, and a promise of two more yummy books in the series, you'll want to scoop this one up fast!
Disclaimer: Sending a huge thank you to Upon the Rock Publishing and Jennifer Hudson Taylor for providing me with an advance review copy of For Love or Loyalty. This review is my opinion, and I received no compensation.