A Captivating Historical Saga. A Tale of Kinship and Love, Loyalty and Betrayal.
The North-Eastern Highlands, 1780. The disaster of the last Jacobite Rising has forced many changes on the Highlands and its people, few of them good. Torn from an ancient clan way of life into a harsh world of taxes, rent rises, land reforms and evictions, all that matters to the proud people of Strathavon is holding onto their land and way of life. Only, to do so, they must risk their lives.
Morven MacRae treads a perilous path - whisky smuggler and healer - apprentice to a suspected witch. Her friend and guide Rowena is singled out for extra attention by the authorities, and in particular by the local exciseman who will stop at nothing to have her for his wife. So when Rowena's young kinsman Jamie Innes returns to the glen of his birth, Morven prays he will protect Rowena and all may now be well.
Only Jamie's path is riskier still - torn between honour and love, he chooses a dangerous course. Jamie is driven by a fierce loyalty to his kinswoman ... or so it seems. And by a desire to belong. Potent qualities, and despite herself, Morven is soon drawn to him. But when it becomes apparent there's a traitor in the glen, Jamie's true motives are less clear. Can she trust him? For this is a mystical land of lore and superstition. A place where loyalties are tested and secrets kept close ...
If you are drawn to magical storytelling, vivid characters, and authentic historical settings, The Blood And The Barley will resonate with you. A fascinating tale of a lost way of life and a sensitive love story.
".. .the author's description of the Highlands is so evocative one can almost feel the texture of the heather. MacRae conjures a mystical land of crags and burns, where belief in the old ways still hold and are made plausible by its isolation from what Wordsworth described as the 'getting and spending' of everyday life. This is a well-told tale, and I'd love it to become a saga along Poldark lines. Morven has the makings of an excellent Demelza. The community of the glen, their whisky stills and smuggling born out of necessity make for a convincing backdrop and I look forward to reading more about Strathavon. I recommend The Blood And The Barley to anyone who enjoys family sagas. - J.G. Harlond, historical fiction award-winning author.