The Crusader’s Heart (The MacKinnons of Mull #1)


Isobel Campbell has a secret mission: to find a safe place to keep the holiest relic in all of Scotland. She is escorted on this mission by a mysterious crusader, Alexander MacKinnon, who has just returned home to Scotland. 

Of both characters, Alexander is the one who really stands out: his relationship with his family in Scotland, his struggles, as he understands the duties he has to fulfill for his family, his growing desire for Isobel and how that can endanger what he is trying to accomplish, yet he still can’t seem to deny those feelings. He is a complex, intriguing character with a well-crafted backstory and a charming personality. 

Isobel on the other hand, feels a little underdeveloped at times. Since the story is primarily a romance, readers expect fully developed, complex, intriguing characters, but Isobel is not — she’s a bit dull and her background story not well developed.  At times, it seems her only purpose is as a beautiful doll for Alexander to pine for, or a damsel in distress who has to wait for Alexander to rescue her. 

The research that went into this book is impressive! Historical figures and events appear throughout and provide a solid backdrop and setting for the story. The book suffers a bit as at times the author "tells" rather than "shows", and this affects the quality of the writing. Overall, though, the story is enjoyable enough to forgive these little tidbits, and the romance and historical research combine into an interesting plot. 

Majanka Verstraete