All the features that have made the Highland Guard series truly compelling are in the twelfth and final installment. THE GHOST repeatedly takes actual people plus historical occurrences to make every single moment come across as absolutely riveting. Monica McCarty cleverly interweaves fictional scenarios with genuine events to create circumstances which are constantly conceivable. I often looked up a battle or a certain individual, and I was amazed at how accurately the story followed historical facts. Any instances where the author only imagined an incident never seemed made-up, as I always felt as though these moments might have also taken place as depicted. Monica McCarty ends her Highland Guard series with a remarkably original romantic story.
When Joan Comyn was only twelve-years-old, the horrific actions of the English king toward her mother changed the path her life would take. She vowed to make certain Robert the Bruce became the Scottish king and to get the English out of her homeland. Now that she is a grown woman, her femininity is a valuable asset she uses against her enemy. Pretending to be infatuated with different Englishman has allowed Joan to attain crucial information which is passed along to her Scottish comrades. Her identity has been kept secret, and this mysterious spy is known as the Ghost.
It was the goal to see England and Scotland at peace with each other that caused Alex Seton to start fighting with the country where he was born instead of the one in which he was raised. But he knows the Highland Guard warriors with whom he was once a part will always see him as being disloyal, not trying to make a difference. When Alex and Joan happen to meet while he and other Englishmen work out strategies for upcoming battles with the Scots, she needs to learn of their plans yet must not let the observant knight discover her intentions. Passing along secrets is always her top priority, so giving in to growing desire for Alex must never occur.
Monica McCarty puts meticulous effort into making every character exceedingly realistic. I though Alex and Joan were particularly true-to-life, as I never questioned any of their reactions or what they said. When they are happy, the moment is filled with palpable joy. But if fear or anger is the main emotion in a scene, then the sentiment is expressed with much intensity. Joan is caught in a situation where the truth could condemn her, and my worry over what would happen keep mounting with each new lie. She is extremely brave more than once, and I could not keep from fretting over how the circumstances would turn out. There are so many words I could use when referring to Alex, but the two that stand out are honorable and respectful. He is definitely a noble knight. Their relationship has one challenge after another, and I often could not see a possible way for them to work out their differences.
There are so many intriguing incidents in THE GHOST. Sometimes there is a twist I did not see coming, while other scenes are packed with so much emotion that I almost could not breathe until everything played out. With this being the final book in the series, the author brilliantly took her Highland Guard warriors through many ups and downs as feelings were explored and choices had to be made. I can only hope whatever Monica McCarty comes up with next will be just as entertaining. THE GHOST is an outstanding novel of inventiveness and profound emotion.
Received copy from publisher
Series: Highland Guard – Book 12
Releases: May 31, 2016
Author website: http://monicamccarty.com/index.php
Rating: 5 Stars