On a Highland Shore

On a Highland Shore

From acclaimed historical novelist Kathleen Givens comes a magnificently conceived, intricately detailed novel that brings to vivid life the tumult, adventure, and passion of thirteenth-century Scotland, when Norse invaders laid claim to the land and its people—and an explosive clash of cultures, politics, and personal pride changed the world forever.On Scotland's western...

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Title:On a Highland Shore
Author:Kathleen Givens
Rating:
Edition Language:English

On a Highland Shore Reviews

  • Annie

    I'm trying to find another author's work to compare this novel to but I keep coming up short. Kathleen Givens is like a hardy mix of my favourite authors - a gritty Jude Deveraux, a loved up Philippa Gregory, a purley historical Barbara Erskine. This was truly one of my favourite purely historical depictions of Scotland.

    The most powerful aspect of this novel was certainly the characterisation. Whilst some reviewers have found this lacking, I felt the protagonists to be diverse and perfectly

    I'm trying to find another author's work to compare this novel to but I keep coming up short. Kathleen Givens is like a hardy mix of my favourite authors - a gritty Jude Deveraux, a loved up Philippa Gregory, a purley historical Barbara Erskine. This was truly one of my favourite purely historical depictions of Scotland.

    The most powerful aspect of this novel was certainly the characterisation. Whilst some reviewers have found this lacking, I felt the protagonists to be diverse and perfectly matched. The antagonist was equally well-crafted and just pure evil. There are many scenes of his doing which are both repulsive and haunting. Well before the end of this book, you'll be cheering for the bad guy to get it!

    Many Scottish Clans were the victims of raids just like the ones Givens writes about and this novel truly places your heart in a different time and place. It reminds you that tragedy has followed humankind through history and its effects have not been lessened by the passing of time. Givens did not shy from depicting the rich tapestry of human emotions - emparting on the reader a sense of deeper understanding of Scottish pride and courage.

    Weaved within this narrative of a nation is the deeply satisfying love story of Margaret and Gannon. The novel is beautifully layered to keep your suspense and works itself into a frenetic pace by about page 250. The romance plot is centre-stage enough to satisfy a romance reader but possibly doesn't contain the same level of eroticism as other novels in the genre. I think there's too much else going on for the characters to be spending all their time in bed!

    Read this novel if: You have a fascination in either Scots or Vikings and don't mind a bit of romance.

    Don't read this novel if: You're looking for something strictly accurate. The author does admit she freely embellished the facts.

  • UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish

    The Biblio-gods must be smiling down on me because the last few books I’ve read have been “cannot put it down” fabulous.

    is no exception.

    When you’re the laird’s daughter, what

    want is not as important as what is best for your people. Margaret MacDonald learns this heartbreaking lesson the hard way, when she finds her future husband in the bed of her very best friend, Fiona, and is

    The Biblio-gods must be smiling down on me because the last few books I’ve read have been “cannot put it down” fabulous.

    is no exception.

    When you’re the laird’s daughter, what

    want is not as important as what is best for your people. Margaret MacDonald learns this heartbreaking lesson the hard way, when she finds her future husband in the bed of her very best friend, Fiona, and is expected to marry him anyway. Refusing to listen to those around her, including her own parents, who tell her that “for the good of her people” she must marry Lachlan despite his “lack of judgment,” Margaret tries to find ways out of the betrothal without breaking her marriage contract and shaming her family. As it turns out, that is the least of her problems and she finds herself working to reunite her family, while helping overthrow a barbaric Norseman who has begun terrorizing Scotland. Of course she can’t do it alone and finds herself having to put aside her social and cultural biases, while learning to trust a man she barely knows, yet finds herself falling in love with.

    This was my first read of Kathleen Givens’ writing and it won’t be my last. While

    is a romance novel, it is also so much more. Not your run of the mill fluffy historical romance novel – which I love as much as the next gal – it is a complex novel full of twists and turns, political maneuvering and treachery. I appreciate the detail Givens gave to historical accuracy, and at the end of the book she lists those events that were real and how she was able to weave them into her own story.

    Using these actual historical figures and events to fill out this tale, Givens takes us to a time and place of great turmoil. Years of peace have left the Highlanders complacent, vulnerable and an easy target for one greedy and power hungry Norseman who has decided that the best things in life are his for the plundering. Who cares if a few lives – or a few thousand – are lost in the process? He’s just the kind of bad guy you love to hate and by the end of the story, as far as I was concerned, there was nothing brutal enough or too heinous that could have been done to him in the pursuit of punishment or revenge.

    has a strong cast of characters, too many to name, but memorable all the same. In ways it reminded me of The Lord of The Rings in that everyone was willing to do their part no matter how difficult, trusting in their fellow men (and women) to also be doing their own parts as well. And because everyone did what they needed to do and trusted in each other, it all came together and worked out beautifully.

    Kathleen Givens took what could have been mere words on a page and breathed life into them. The characters are wonderfully developed and are all people we care about. Margaret, the eldest daughter, is such a strong, opinionated woman yet so full of love and trust. I cried at the loss of her innocence, sharing the pain she felt upon learning of the betrayal. To see her so vulnerable and so hurt is heart wrenching. She loved and trusted both Lachlan and Fiona and could never have imagined what was going on right under her nose – then to learn her mother and others knew of it... I can’t imagine what she must have felt, another level of betrayal by her mother, the woman who was supposed to love and protect her and look out for her? I can't imagine how hurt she must have felt.

    Though Margaret no longer wants the marriage, and knows it was for her own personal reasons – pride being one of them, she would never turn her back on her people. She understands the necessity of uniting clans for the betterment of all, but she isn't going to lie down and be Lachlan’s doormat, either. I was completely invested in her and cheered her on as she kept stating her case, exhausting every avenue available to her so as not to have to marry Lachlan.

    Gannon MacMagnus is the perfect hero. Strong, compassionate, honorable and committed to aiding the Highlanders in rebuilding what they had lost and ridding them of the constant threat of more attacks, he was a force to be reckoned with. Having endured much loss in his own life, he well understood the emotional pain Margaret was going through and was one of the few people who knew how to help her.

    Do you love a good battle, or two or three, mixed in with your romance? Then this is the story for you. The battle scenes were so well described that I could truly see, in my mind’s eye, the fighting as it played out. I could see the layout of the shore, the men defending the keep, the ruthless Vikings as they charged up the hill and the brave Highlanders who awaited them.

    *sigh* Again I am rambling on.

    While I wouldn’t compare this to War and Peace or The Lord of The Rings on the greatness scale,

    is an amazing tale of love, loss and the willingness to risk everything you have and everything you are in the fight for freedom and all you hold dear.

  • Ellen W-S

    This novel has been on my physical book shelf for a while. This is an extraordinarily well written book of 13th century Scotland with Vikings and the beginnings of Scotland as we know it. This book unfolds slowly but the pace is perfect in my opinion. It is more historical fiction than romance but the love interest between Margaret and Gannon is strong. Well written, Gabaldon-esque type read. Will read more by this author and hope it doesn't take me 3-4 years to get to it! Well done, lovely read

    This novel has been on my physical book shelf for a while. This is an extraordinarily well written book of 13th century Scotland with Vikings and the beginnings of Scotland as we know it. This book unfolds slowly but the pace is perfect in my opinion. It is more historical fiction than romance but the love interest between Margaret and Gannon is strong. Well written, Gabaldon-esque type read. Will read more by this author and hope it doesn't take me 3-4 years to get to it! Well done, lovely read of a time period that I have not really read about before.

  • Amanda

    Gannon MacMagnus is a beautiful, strapping man, half Irish and half Norseman....a proud man, a decent man, an honourable man. He has left his home in Ireland to accompany his uncle to Scotland to help those who have been raided by a band of vicious Vikings. It is here that he encounters Margaret MacDonald...his destiny. Margaret MacDonald is the eldest daughter of a prominent laird in Scotland. She is betrothed to a powerful man, Lachlan, a cousin to the King. But when Lachlan betrays Margaret

    Gannon MacMagnus is a beautiful, strapping man, half Irish and half Norseman....a proud man, a decent man, an honourable man. He has left his home in Ireland to accompany his uncle to Scotland to help those who have been raided by a band of vicious Vikings. It is here that he encounters Margaret MacDonald...his destiny. Margaret MacDonald is the eldest daughter of a prominent laird in Scotland. She is betrothed to a powerful man, Lachlan, a cousin to the King. But when Lachlan betrays Margaret with her best friend, she is determined to end the betrothal. But as the times dictate, Margaret is to wed Lachlan for the good of her clan. But this becomes the least of her worries, when upon her return home from court, Margaret and her brother and sister discover their village in ruins, every man and women brutally murdered and the carnage left for them to see. Margaret must somehow rebuild her life and help her people. She is told her destiny is to be with "the golden one" and that she will "fight dragons". Is Gannon her golden one? Will she choose the right path and be forever happy or die a tragic death?

    I was totally engrossed with this story. I have never read a book set in the early 13th century, or one that deals with Norsemen in Scotland. I was intrigued by the history of this time period, including the battles for land and the raids by the Vikings on the people living on the Western shores of Scotland. But what truly held me were the characters created by this author. I was immediately taken with Gannon. His strength of will and commitment to his family and people were remarkable. But I feel that it was the heroine, Margaret, that took center stage. She was one strong-willed, loving, smart and determined woman. She was not one to be easily bullied by men, something rare for a female of the time. She knew what she wanted....a safe land for her people, a place to call home, and true love with a partner who would honestly listen to her. I could feel her emotions so often in the story...I felt her outrage at her betrayal, her overwhelming grief at the loss of her family, and the soaring of her heart when she looked at Gannon. Although this is a historical romance, it is so much more. There isn't the usual happy fluff. This is an intense tale filled with the political and social realities of the time. There are suspenseful and sometimes graphic battle scenes that kept me on the edge of my seat. Woven within all of this is the emotionally satisfying love story of Margaret and Gannon. I could not put this book down and I highly recommend it to all readers. You will gasp, cringe, cry and laugh. You will become immersed in a time and place that could be both brutally harsh and epically beautiful. And you will want to read more...just as I do.

  • Sha Mslvoe

    I really love the cover art. The castle has a remarkable location on a hill top close to the rich blue-green sea. Splendid!

    I truly could not put it down. When my colleague poke me, I wave my hand and put a sign be silent (my boss was in the meeting for the whole day)

    I really loved the story. A great read and a keeper. She delivers a story that will keep you reading. I heard that she passed away in year 2010. It's a loss for all historical romance readers. She was a great storyteller.

    I've just

    I really love the cover art. The castle has a remarkable location on a hill top close to the rich blue-green sea. Splendid!

    I truly could not put it down. When my colleague poke me, I wave my hand and put a sign be silent (my boss was in the meeting for the whole day)

    I really loved the story. A great read and a keeper. She delivers a story that will keep you reading. I heard that she passed away in year 2010. It's a loss for all historical romance readers. She was a great storyteller.

    I've just ordered Kilgannon and Torridon series from ebay. Looking forward to reading more from her

    ps : I wondering what happen to Davey, Nell and stranger named Liam.

  • Regan Walker

    Simply Superb! One of My Favorites From a Favorite Author!

    Kathleen Givens was an award-winning author of Scottish historicals, each rich in historical detail and each a story I consider to be a "keeper."

    Set in 13th century Scotland, this tells the story of Margaret MacDonald and Gannon MacMagnus, who find love out of misfortune and the changes that take their lives from the paths they were to take. In both this book and its sequel, RIVALS FOR THE CROWN, Kathleen Givens does a superb job of

    Simply Superb! One of My Favorites From a Favorite Author!

    Kathleen Givens was an award-winning author of Scottish historicals, each rich in historical detail and each a story I consider to be a "keeper."

    Set in 13th century Scotland, this tells the story of Margaret MacDonald and Gannon MacMagnus, who find love out of misfortune and the changes that take their lives from the paths they were to take. In both this book and its sequel, RIVALS FOR THE CROWN, Kathleen Givens does a superb job of weaving English and Scottish history into an epic romance and a tale of Scottish Highlander families swept up in the great themes of Scotland's history.

    I grew to love these men and women and felt like they could have easily been real people--people who experienced deep, lasting love, demanding challenges and heartrending losses. Her writing is so believable, I often found myself reading these tales late into the night.

    These are not formula romance books but sweeping historical novels well worth the read. You won't be disappointed. There are fewer love scenes than in some romances but the ones included are tender and well worth the wait. The sexual tension she creates fits the story well and is consistent with the characters.

    When I finished the two books I mourned the ending of the stories and craved more from her. She has two other 2-book series out--all Scottish historicals (THE LEGEND and THE DESTINY and KILGANNON and THE ROSE OF KILGANNON. They are all we will have of her work as she passed away in early 2010. It's a loss for all her readers. I think she was a great talent.

  • Mishelle LaBrash

    ******************WARNING********************

    This book is not for the faint at heart.

    I really, really liked this book. I wouldn't say that I loved it, but it was certainly better than most Scot themed books I have read. (Outside the incomparable Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series... Of course)

    Authentic dialogue, and a lot of drama, with heartache, intertwined a fantastic story of survival and love. War is profound in the pages, and the after effects of such.

    100 or so pages into this book, I

    ******************WARNING********************

    This book is not for the faint at heart.

    I really, really liked this book. I wouldn't say that I loved it, but it was certainly better than most Scot themed books I have read. (Outside the incomparable Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series... Of course)

    Authentic dialogue, and a lot of drama, with heartache, intertwined a fantastic story of survival and love. War is profound in the pages, and the after effects of such.

    100 or so pages into this book, I looked Kathleen Givens up, now interested in reading more of what she has written. And was saddened to find that she passed away suddenly, earlier this month.

    An immense talent, lost too soon.

  • Jo

    This definitely makes you want to read the next one. I loved all of the real history woven into the story.

  • Michelle

    I really would give this book 1.5 stars if I could. I originally read it because it seemed to be in the same vein as Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, and I needed a "fix." But the two authors aren't even comparable. Cliche, trite, and poorly written all came to mind while reading this book. The bad guys were just bad, no reedeeming qualities, the good guys were all perfect, no flaws, and the author really missed a lot of opportunities to take a decent story and turn it into something

    I really would give this book 1.5 stars if I could. I originally read it because it seemed to be in the same vein as Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, and I needed a "fix." But the two authors aren't even comparable. Cliche, trite, and poorly written all came to mind while reading this book. The bad guys were just bad, no reedeeming qualities, the good guys were all perfect, no flaws, and the author really missed a lot of opportunities to take a decent story and turn it into something wonderful. I could care less what happens to Davy, I won't be reading the rest of series. There's no depth to Gannon, very little to Margaret, and Nell is so cotton candy sweet it's annoying. I like real characters, not just facades.

  • Naksed

    This read like a high school soap opera masquerading as a historical novel. I tried to be patient but it was so cheesy. A seer tells the heroine a Golden man will come for her and together they will slay dragons. The heroine weeps and sulks for days on end because her betrothed cheated on her with her best friend. Like this would be so shocking to her, as a nobleman's daughter contracted into an arranged, political marriage with a typical courtier. At least, if you are going to act

    This read like a high school soap opera masquerading as a historical novel. I tried to be patient but it was so cheesy. A seer tells the heroine a Golden man will come for her and together they will slay dragons. The heroine weeps and sulks for days on end because her betrothed cheated on her with her best friend. Like this would be so shocking to her, as a nobleman's daughter contracted into an arranged, political marriage with a typical courtier. At least, if you are going to act anachronistically, get mad, not sad. Show some spirit, girl. Eh. Instead we get tedious, repetitive, woe-is-me, passages, and an embarrassing attempt to ask the King to cancel her betrothal. This was not for me. DNF at 24%.

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