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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lord of the Black Isle by Elaine Coffman

Lord of the Black Isle by Elaine Coffman
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (333 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Elisabeth Douglas, a modern woman, is suddenly pulled back into 1515 Scotland by an ancestral ghost. She uses her skills she learned in medical school and quickly gains renown as a great healer. When the Earl Of Kinloss, Devan Murray, wrongfully blames Elisabeth for his sister’s death, Elisabeth finds herself being accused of witchcraft. Devan is soon betwitched by Elisabeth, but can he put aside his grief and woo her before it’s too late?

What a delightful sight to see a fresh-bathed knight drying in the Scottish sunlight. However, if one is running from kidnappers then first things must come first.

Dr. Elizabeth Douglas copes with being snatched from the twenty-first century and plopped down in sixteenth-century Scotland. She even puts her life back together after having the man she planned to marry snatched away by order of the King’s regent, but she is really tired of being kidnapped by the MacLeans. When the gorgeous knight, David Murray whisks her away to escape her abductors, she is not sure if she is being kidnapped again, but riding in front of him on his horse is magical and tilts her world. When he leaves her at her intended destination, a famous hospital with the friars where she is to study their methods, she feels a sad emptiness when he rides away. Elizabeth knows healing is her calling and sets about to learn how she can use her talents in this age before modern methods and medicines were known. The reader has a fascinating journey with Elizabeth as she moves toward her destiny, of course, with the Black Douglas ghost meddling along the way.

David Murray, Earl of Kinloss, an honorable knight with a sad almost unbearable past, feels the wholesome, pure, goodness, and giving nature of Elizabeth’s heart and soul as he holds her while they ride to the famous hospital, the House of the Holy Trinity, between York and Edinburgh. He comes to wonder if she was truly real or just a fantasy. Leaving her with the friars was one of the hardest things he had ever done. But he is mindful of his duty to his clan, a duty that he never shirks. When he has Elizabeth brought to Asiling Castle on Black Isle to tend his dying twin sister, another facet of his personality comes to light—a fearsome side. Dark, unhappy days come for all. How things evole makes intriguing reading.

If you’ve read The Return of the Black Douglas, you’ll recognize many of the secondary characters like Isobella, Elizabeth’s twin, the McKinnons, the MacLeans, and, of course, the Black Douglas ghost with his humor, compassion, sage advice, his guardianship, and especially his meddlesome ways. He brings a unique quality to the story.

Elaine Coffman’s compelling writing style gives a definite sense of time in history without getting into the wars and fighting. She focuses on the lives of the ordinary people and how they live, love, and take care of each other. The conflicts come from personal agendas rather than from political ones.

In Lord of the Black Isle, Ms. Coffman sprinkles in many jewels of literature that bring to mind old truths that still touch the emotions and senses. The poignant quotes that announce each chapter are special bonuses—many of them bring back memories of college days and long discussions about life. Also, her descriptions are captivating. They quicken the senses. For example one can almost feel the cold water of the burns and the cold damp that seeps in and chills when the sun disappears and the stinging cold of the rain driven by the cold wind comes. But one also sees the sparkling beautiful of the harsh country when the sun shines brightly.

Best of all in the descriptions is the love that grows strong and true--mental, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, plus the love scenes that swamp the senses and sweep the reader along on a euphoric tide toward ecstasy with the hero and the heroine—sensual, sizzling, and so satisfying.