01 May 2011

Guest Author: Margaret Mallory

This week on Excerpt Thursday, we're welcoming regular contributor Margaret Mallory, as she celebrates the release of THE GUARDIAN, her first book in THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS series set in 1513. It is available in print and ebook May 1st. Join us Sunday, when Margaret will be here to talk about her novel and give away a signed copy!

Here's the blurb:


Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can’t prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.


After years of fighting abroad, Ian MacDonald comes home to find his clan in peril. To save his kin, he must right the wrongs from his past . . . and claim the bride he’s long resisted.

As a young lass, Sìleas depended on Ian to play her knight in shining armor. But when his rescue attempt compromised her virtue, Ian was forced to marry against his wishes. Five years later, Sìleas has grown from an awkward girl into an independent beauty who knows she deserves better than the reluctant husband who preferred war to his wife. Now this devilishly handsome Highlander is finally falling in love. He wants a second chance with Sìleas — and he won’t take no for an answer.

TOP PICK!  ½   Mallory’s “sensuous and highly passionate tale grabs the reader and doesn't let go. ~ RT Book Reviews.

Can you tell us a bit about the historical backdrop for your new release, THE GUARDIAN?
Most of the story takes place in the Western Isles of Scotland in 1513, shortly after the Scots’ disastrous loss to Henry VIII’s forces at the Battle of Flodden.  Ian MacDonald returns from France to find his king and his chieftain dead, his clan in grave danger, a rebellion brewing, and factions fighting for control of the crown.

So tell us a little about the relationship between your hero and heroine. 
When they were children, Ian was always having to rescue his young friend Sìleas from trouble. Sìleas is an awkward 13-year-old and Ian a handsome young warrior when she corners him into saving her yet again. When his good deed leads to a forced marriage, Ian is furious with her and sails for France as soon as the vows are said. Ian returns five years later intent of dissolving their false marriage…but he finds that nothing at home is the same as when he left, including Sìleas.
This is both an ugly-duckling story and a story of second chances.

You incorporate historical characters into your novels. Any particularly interesting ones in this new book?

I found so many intriguing historical figures in this period of Scottish history that it was a challenge not to overcrowd my book with them. Fortunately, THE GUARDIAN is the first in a four-book series so I’ll be able to bring more of these characters into later books.
When I discovered that the first chieftain of the MacDonalds of Sleat had six sons by six different women and that the animosity among the six half-brothers led to two generations of murder, I knew I had found my heroes’ clan. One of these half-brothers causes a lot of trouble in THE GUARDIAN.
I like to include a bit of royal politics, so I sent Sìleas and Ian on a journey to Stirling Castle. Margaret Tudor, who was queen of Scotland and the sister of Henry VIII of England, makes an unpleasant appearance there. Margaret’s husband, James IV, has just died in the Battle of Flodden at the hands of her brother’s forces. Despite being pregnant by her dead husband, Margaret has taken up with the young and handsome Douglas chieftain, whose interest is in controlling the crown.
What’s next?
THE SINNER, the second book in THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS, will be out Nov. 1st.  By the way, readers will meet all four heroes in THE GUARDIAN.
Thanks for telling us about your new release, THE GUARDIAN!
I’d love to respond to comments!  I’ll give an autographed copy of THE GUARDIAN to one of the commenters.

Thank you, Margaret! Please leave a comment to win a free copy of Margaret's latest, THE GUARDIAN.

Margaret Mallory, named by Booklist as one of "the new stars of historical romance," is the award-winning author of the medieval series, All the King’s Men. Her newest release, THE GUARDIAN, received a TOP Pick,   ½ TOP PICK review from RT Book Reviews.