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Royal Highlander #2

Highland Jewel

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The next book in the new lush Scottish historical series from USA Today bestselling author, May McGoldrick.

Maisie Murray is the picture of docility, quiet and compliant in the eyes of her family. To her activist friends, however, she's a fearless crusader for women's rights. In the wake of the Peterloo Massacre, Maisie and a friend found the Edinburgh Female Reform Society, and she carries the banner for universal suffrage.

Niall Campbell, a hero of the wars, a decorated officer of the Royal Highland Regiment, is battle weary and searching for stability in his life. A fierce warrior by training and a poet at heart, Niall walks away from the shining career that lies ahead of him, to the dismay of his superiors. In saving his sister when a protest turns violent, he meets Maisie. Their relationship begins as one of experience versus idealism, of scars versus hope. Soon, however, he finds in Maisie the heart he longs for.

When Niall's sister is arrested and disappears, he quickly realizes his life is not his own, for the British authorities have a mission for him to accomplish in exchange for his sister's freedom. Overnight, Maisie loses Niall, her friend, and her home. And the wake of the riots that sweep through the cities of Scotland, Maisie's own sister Isabella is branded a traitor to the crown, and the family must flee to the Highlands. Here in the heart of the Highlands, Maisie runs into Niall again. He has a new name and carries a message of hope―but Niall has a task to complete―and their future rests on their ability to overcome the forces that divide them, or―for the future of Scotland―she must stop the man who owns her heart.

329 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published September 24, 2019

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About the author

May McGoldrick

78 books466 followers
May McGoldrick, Nik James, and Jan Coffey are pen names for USA Today bestselling authors Nikoo Kafi and Jim McGoldrick. Together, they have crafted over fifty fast-paced, conflict-filled historical, contemporary, and Western novels, and two works of nonfiction.

Nikoo’s education and training was in engineering. She worked in robotics and submarine shipbuilding. Before earning a PhD in sixteenth-century Scottish and English literature, Jim pursued a hundred and one jobs, including a decade in submarine construction.

Storytellers at heart, Nikoo and Jim were always searching for careers that gave them time for both family and writing. Then, after thirteen years of marriage, they recognized each other’s creative strengths. Nikoo is all about characters and feeling. Jim is about action and sense of place. Their first attempt in writing fiction together produced their award-winning novel, The Thistle and the Rose. Since then, their stories have touched the hearts and minds of millions of readers all over the world. Their work has been translated into over a dozen languages and counting.

Nikoo and Jim are four-time Rita Finalists and the winners of numerous awards for their writing, including the Daphne DeMaurier Award for Excellence, the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewers’ Choice Award, three NJRW Golden Leaf Awards, two Holt Medallions, and the Connecticut Press Club Award for Best Fiction.

The authors make their home in California.

Here is a complete catalogue of May McGoldrick, Nik James and Jan Coffey’s work, in chronological order.
Each book stands on its own.


Macpherson Clan Series
The Thistle and the Rose
A Midsummer Wedding (novella)
Angel of Skye
Heart of Gold
Beauty of the Mist

The Intended
Tess and the Highlander
The Dreamer (Highland Treasure)
The Enchantress (Highland Treasure)
The Firebrand (Highland Treasure)

Much Ado About Highlanders (Scottish Relic)
Taming the Highlander (Scottish Relic)
Tempest in the Highlands (Scottish Relic)

Arsenic and Old Armor

Pennington Family Series
The Promise
The Rebel
Borrowed Dreams
Captured Dreams
Dreams of Destiny
Romancing the Scot
It Happened in the Highlands
Sweet Home Highland Christmas (novella)
Sleepless in Scotland
Dearest Millie (novella)
How to Ditch a Duke (novella)

Royal Highlander Series
Highland Crown
Highland Jewel
Highland Sword

A Prince in the Pantry (novella)
Ghost of the Thames

Made in Heaven
Thanksgiving in Connecticut (novella)

The Winter Road (novella)
High Country Justice
Bullets and Silver
Silver Trail Christmas

Trust Me Once
Twice Burned
Triple Threat
Fourth Victim
Five in a Row
Silent Waters
Cross Wired
The Janus Effect
The Puppet Master
Blind Eye
Road Kill
Mercy (novella)
Tropical Kiss
When the Mirror Cracks


Marriage of Minds: Collaborative Fiction Writing
Step Write Up: Writing Exercises for 21st Century

Sign up for the May McGoldrick, Nik James, Jan Coffey Newsletter
Visit their author websites


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Profile Image for WhiskeyintheJar.
1,290 reviews529 followers
October 2, 2019
3.5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“Cinaed Mackintosh is my sister Isabella’s husband. I can’t let you do it. I’ll not let you kill him.”

Highland Jewel is the second in the Royal Highlanders series that follows three women. In the first, readers learn that Isabella's husband was killed by British soldiers as they ransacked their house thinking it was a den of traitors. While the first is more of an after the fact, this story brings us back to the beginning and follows Isabella's sister Maisie. We learn about the build up to the impetus that led to the three women (the daughter of Isabella's husband) having to run for their lives. While I wouldn't say it would be absolutely necessary to read the first before this one, like I said, this story gives us the background story glossed over in the first, having knowledge about Cinaed (Isabella's love interest) would certainly help as the connecting thread between the series is not only the women's connection but the tumultuous time period in Scotland and how Cinaed is tied up in it.

Lieutenant Campbell was far too bossy and interfering for her to harbor any illusions about.

Niall is the brother of Maisie's bestfriend Fiona and comes into the picture as he rescues Maisie during a public protest that gets broken up by British soldiers. Niall was a solider in the Black Watch, so Maisie is distrustful of him at first but Niall does a sweet job of breaking down her walls. He listens to her and admires her will and mind, which her family has no idea about as they just look upon her as a pretty empty headed girl. I was a little confused by Maisie and Isabella's relationship as I thought they read to be closer in the first but here we see them as pretty distant and not knowing one another at all. Maisie purposefully keeping her actions, like starting a chapter of the Female Reform Society, from Isabella didn't competently feel true to me. As Fiona becomes the catalyst for angst between Niall and Maisie and they are kept apart, I missed that friendship, too.

The back of their hands brushed. Her fingers were cold, his hand was warm . She wondered what it would feel like to entwine her fingers with his, to absorb the heat.

The majority of the story takes place in the past, with going back to explain how Maisie is at the place she is and why she distrusts Niall. Around the 60% mark is where the story catches up and we get to the present time. I liked this as it helped fill in a lot questions I had and we get to actually see Maisie and Niall fall in love. However, I did think the romance took somewhat of a backseat to the political drama going on. The authors do such a great job melding true history with their fictional story. The intrigue with Cinaed, the Scots wanting freedom, spy rings, and a Queen, were absorbing. The placement and tie-ins with the three women are very well done and although you have to pay attention and keep some characters straight in your mind, I thought how everything and everyone was brought together was inspired.

He stared into her face, and for the first time, Maisie felt like he was seeing her, who she really was. Not the outer shell of a young and reasonably pretty woman. And she saw him too. Niall Campbell was a man who wasn’t intimidated by talk of equality or of women fighting for their rightful place in society.

This series is shaping up to remind me of Grace Burrowes' Captive Hearts and Marsha Canham's Highland, the historical intrigue can eclipse the romance at times but it's interesting and still highlighted with sweet and sexy moments. I can't wait for Morrigan's story, the daughter of Isabella's husband, and to read about her hardened heart captured by a hero.

What duty did a man owe to a king and a government that had forgotten the people, he thought. Not only forgotten. Conspired against, stealing their rights under the pretense that their actions were for the good of all.
Profile Image for Pamela Sparkman.
Author 7 books285 followers
September 24, 2019
I enjoyed this book so much!! Once I started reading I simply couldn't stop. A breathtaking experience. Where do I begin? Maisie and Fiona were fierce and I admired them so much--fighting for a just cause at a time when doing so was literally putting your life on the line even if they didn't quite realize how dangerous it was. Enter Lt.. Niall Campbell, Fiona's brother. He certainly knew the danger they put themselves in and it drove him almost to the brink of insanity...lol.. I loved him at hello. He was wonderful from beginning to end. His loyalty and devotion to his sister and his neices was a quality that I found so admirable. I loved how he loved. And I loved how he loved Maisie. Their forced separation broke my heart. And the political history made me sit up and pay attention. I soaked up every word of it. This is a truly captivating tale. I'm very much looking forward to Morrigan's story next and find out who captures her heart as this battle/war continues on around them, dragging them in with it.

Note: I do recommend reading book one, Highland Crown, before reading this one. This is a continuation story in my view with a shift in point of view being the major difference, but the basic plot and ultimate goals remains the same.

ARC provided by the publisher for an honest review.
Profile Image for Minxy Melissa.
1,735 reviews66 followers
September 17, 2019
If you are in the mood for a story that is packed full of history, danger, and romance, then this is a book that I can’t wait to tell you all about! Highland Jewel is the second book in the Royal Highlander series and I will share with you that this is a series that you will need to read in installment order. Highland Jewel initially opens up before the events of book one, Highland Crown, and later it switches to events that take place after book one. To really understand the impact of events from this book you will need to have read the first book. Trust me, you will not be disappointed because, thus far, this series is a sweeping tale set in the early nineteenth century Scotland during a time where the country is on the brink of war.

Maisie Murray is sister to Isabella Drummond and has spent the better part of her life in her sister’s shadow. Although Maisie was by all appearances simple and mild in attitude, nothing could be further from the truth. Maisie was a strong-willed woman who used people’s assumptions about her as a way to lead a double life. When she was away from her family, she was an activist fighting for women’s rights and for equal treatment of all. Through her campaigning for women’s rights she met Fiona Campbell and together they formed the Edinburgh Female Reform Society, a move which would bring Niall Campbell into Maisie’s life as well as bring Maisie and her friend closer to danger than they ever could have guessed.

From first introductions there was a connection between Maisie and Niall and a sweet romance started to develop that had great promise, that was until Niall’s sister went missing. Then Niall and Maisie were both swept into events that were beyond their control. Torn apart by circumstances, when Maisie and Niall met again, even though there was still great passion between them, there was also great mistrust. Maisie was unsure of where Niall’s allegiances lay and she was torn between her love for him and her commitment to keeping her family safe from danger. A danger which Niall absolutely represented. Maisie would have to decide if she was going to follow her heart and trust in the Niall she once knew or if she was going to protect her family at the cost of her hopes and dreams.

Highland Jewel was a very impactful read that had threads of true history woven into a tale of fiction that had my interest fully engaged. Whenever I read a story with a focus on women’s suffrage and the fight for equal rights, it is always an emotional read for me to consider what others have suffered and fought for so that many could have the rights that are enjoyed today. In addition to a strong focus on equality there was a struggle taking place to break the chains of tyranny that had bound the inhabitants of Scotland for far too long. Wow, right?! Then there was a sweet against all odds romance taking place that was itself filled with twists, turns, and surprises. There is plenty to love in Highland Jewel and it is a story and series that I highly recommend to readers of historical fiction.

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.
Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,241 reviews296 followers
February 8, 2021
Translation widget on The blog!!!
Povestea aceasta este o continuare plină de suspans și emoție a seriei. Este povestea lui Maisie Murray, o tânără care în familie este liniștită și timidă, iar în afara casei este cea care susține drepturile femeilor și votul universal, într-o vreme în care aceste femei nu aveau absolut nici un drept.
Tânăra se îndrăgostește de fratele prietenei ei Fiona, locotenentul Campbell, fost militar, ce în prezent încearcă să își creeze o altă viață, mai liniștită și departe de politică...
Cei doi nu au timp să se bucure de iubirea lor, deoarece evenimente neprevăzute le dau viața peste cap. Sora lui este arestată iar el este hotărât să o salveze. Doar că, pentru a o salva, trebuie să-și calce în picioare principiile.
O carte care ne oferă emoții pe toate planurile: fericire și suferință, zâmbete și lacrimi, comploturi politice, lupta pentru putere, dar și speranță.
Maisie și Niall sunt un cuplu care luptă din toate puterile pentru iubirea lor, ce înfruntă piedici neașteptate și pericole nenumărate. Totul în numele familiei și al iubirii.
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Profile Image for Barbara Rogers.
1,507 reviews143 followers
September 7, 2019
Series: Royal Highlander #2
Publication Date: 9/24/19
Number of Pages: 336

With the epic series beginning in Highland Crown, I thought that the following books couldn’t possibly live up to the bar that was set. Au contraire. This was every bit as good as the first book – just a bit less intense. Not less exciting and interesting, just less intense because this story happens at the same time as the first one – but from another perspective. Therefore, I already knew some of the events that would take place and I could read with that in mind.

There was a lot of social unrest in Scotland, England, and Ireland after the Napoleonic wars. Rather than try to make fair laws to help all of its citizenry, the Regent/King and parliament passed laws that basically stripped citizens of their basic rights. Those laws lead to more unrest and the populace began to rebel. Ever fearful of its citizens taking the same path as those in France had taken, the government clamped down, sent in spies to infiltrate the groups, and sent in troops who beat, massacred and the participants. The Peterloo massacre was one of those events. The author has masterfully woven fact and fiction together that keeps you riveted to the page. I particularly liked the reimagining of Princess Caroline’s life.

Maisie Murray has always lived in the shadow of her older sister who was always their father’s favorite. Her sister was brilliant, compassionate, beautiful and shared their father’s interest in medicine. Maisie just never measured up in her father’s eyes, so she quit trying. She didn’t give up on life – she just went her own way and did her own thing while presenting a meek, mild, and frivolous face to her family. After their father died and her sister married a man in order to give Maisie security and stability, Maisie continued to present the same face to her new family.

Maisie became appalled at the oppression of those around her especially after the new laws were passed. Things were getting worse and worse for ordinary citizens and Maisie had to get involved. She and her best friend, Fiona, founded the Edinburg chapter of the Female Reform Society with the goal of suffrage for all citizens. Once the new seditions laws were passed even their non-violent meetings were illegal and would be treated as treason by the crown. Maisie really came into her own and began to blossom as a real leader. Her main talent was writing and she wrote all of the pamphlets and flyers for the society. However, later, she was forced upon the speaking platform and found that she also had a real talent for engaging the crowds. She never had any thoughts about love, marriage or even whether she was attractive or not – her entire focus was in her suffrage movement. Then, the troops started cutting a swath through one of the rallies and she was on the stage – and couldn’t get down – until a very large and handsome man saved her.

Niall Campbell, highly decorated war hero, had had enough of being required to draw his sword against his own countrymen – so he retired from the military. Not only was he highly decorated, he was revered by his men, and greatly respected by those to whom he reported. They tried their best to convince him not to retire, but he’d just had enough. Niall knew of his sister’s political activities and was on the outskirts of a rally when he saw the militiamen start cutting through the crowd. As he started toward the platform to save his sister Fiona, he caught sight of another woman who was saving her. His sister begged him to go and save her friend Maisie. After that first meeting – he and Maisie became closer and closer and finally agreed to marry.

When Fiona is arrested and charged with treason, Niall is beside himself. He’ll do anything to free her – even if that means giving up Maisie. The government has a task for him to do – and if he completes it, his sister will go free.

I loved this book – but I don’t suggest reading it as a standalone. Be sure to read the first book as it sets up the entire premise of the series and the additional books work off that one. I loved that all of the ends were wrapped up and we got to know Morrigan better – setting up for the next adventure.

One thing I didn’t understand was – why was Niall still only a Lieutenant? He was in the military for ten years, he was highly decorated, his men loved him and his superiors greatly respected him. I’d think he’d have been a major or more likely a colonel at that point.

I highly recommend this book – and I can hardly wait for the next one.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Dorine.
601 reviews31 followers
October 3, 2019
Update: Check out my interview at RJ of this talented team and see my quirky side come out with crazy questions!

HIGHLAND JEWEL by May McGoldrick is an exciting addition to their ROYAL HIGHLANDER series. Fans will appreciate meeting the next heroine in this series (and getting to know her very well) before they read HIGHLAND SWORD.

This novel begins with reflection from the future queen in the prologue as her young son is taken from her. Her life isn’t her own and never has been, directed by those who want the power her marriage to the prince will give them. Her son’s story, told in HIGHLAND CROWN, crosses paths with the characters in this one. Its timeline is slightly behind the first book, then catching up toward the end.

For this reason, I highly recommend that you read HIGHLAND CROWN first before you read this newest book, HIGHLAND JEWEL. You’ll understand the intrigue and dangers much better with that first book’s introduction to the players in this web of deceit.

The first chapter of this book gives the reader a glimpse at what will transpire later in the story. It’s well done, setting intrigue, but it did confuse me a bit when the second chapter starts eight months earlier. There are also some characters from the first book who are obviously different from what I remembered. That’s because of the timeline crossover between books. We’re looking back in time in this book prior to the first book’s events. I didn’t get that until much later, so I feel strongly that even I would have benefited from reading the first book again before this one.

For that reason, I’m not going to say much about this story. I don’t want to spoil either adventure for you, and I can’t really say much without doing that for one book or the other.

HIGHLAND JEWEL is complicated and enthralling. I loved Maisie and Niall from first meeting them on the page. Maisie is a strong rebel, fighting for a cause she believes in along with Niall’s sister, Fiona. A large portion of this novel is focused on the strong women who fought for reform.

Niall is a commanding warrior who is ready to live a quiet life with Maisie. He should know that quiet and Maisie will never go together. The poor man is smitten, and then tortured for it. I loved how their love story circled around through events in history. Their romance is far from easy.

Morrigan is Maisie’s annoying sister by marriage. She made me laugh, and I can’t wait for her story next. She grows up in this novel and becomes someone whose antics are joyfully anticipated in the future HIGHLAND SWORD.

In comparing the two books to each other, HIGHLAND CROWN is my favorite. Both stories are engaging for different reasons. HIGHLAND CROWN had a swashbuckling flare to it, and Cinaed’s family history is intriguing. Whereas I was especially fond of the way the women were portrayed in HIGHLAND JEWEL. Their involvement in protest is a key factor in pulling the plot forward. It’s unusual and made Maisie more interesting than most historical heroines.

On the other hand, HIGHLAND JEWEL has one pivotal plot revelation that I felt was too abrupt. It needed a prelude or something to remind the reader what happened in book one. I felt something was off as I was reading, which wouldn’t have happened if I had read the books back-to-back. I’m not sure how the authors could have finessed this better, but it jarred me.

Even with that mild criticism, I can’t help but be fascinated with this series’ timeline crossover. It’s a feat worthy of commendation on the authors’ behalf. I can’t imagine the planning and double-checking involved in bringing both stories to print.

What I have enjoyed most about this series is how beautifully fiction and fact are combined to artfully depict a captivating story.

HIGHLAND JEWEL has characters who engage the readers’ hopes and dreams for a well-deserved, if sometimes rocky, journey to happy-ever-after. I don’t think any of us will be sure of their success until reading the next novel, HIGHLAND SWORD. But that’s the best part. Anticipation for the next book as you close the pages of the current one makes this reader crazy and happy all at once. Don’t miss this fun historical adventure series!

Review by Dorine, courtesy of RomanceJunkies.com. Print copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.
Profile Image for Maggie Whitworth.
2,683 reviews83 followers
September 10, 2019

Niall and Maisie , wow , with theses two about you never need another spoon of sugar in your coffee.
They are what I would term the perfect match .

He’s so beautiful in a manly way of course, I could swoon just thinking of him . Sigh

And she’s the perfect woman sweet , loving just what you’d expect for him .

Together they made this book as good as the first one , and I raved at that .
Fantastic book , characters , setting , descriptions, can’t fault it at all .

I received an Arc copy of this book and chose to post this review
Profile Image for Diane Peterson.
1,039 reviews78 followers
September 8, 2019
The McGoldricks' books always are well connected with history, but this Royal Highlander series takes the words "historical romance" to a whole new level. Highland Jewel continues the story begun in Highland Crown. England and Scotland are experiencing tremendous unrest and some degree of outright rebellion. The characters in this series are deeply embroiled in the danger and intrigue.

This is not a comfortable read. There is trouble around every corner and we fear for the characters we love. But it is still a tale of love and accomplishment. I enjoyed the book from cover to cover yet I would have liked a little less history and a little more depth in the relationship between Maisie and Niall. Still, an excellent book.
1,861 reviews17 followers
September 21, 2019
It took me a little while to get into this book but then I couldn’t wait to see what happened. There is quite an amount of politics, particularly at the beginning but this is essential to the background of the story. The manipulative ways of the government play a major part as well. I did like the characters of Niall and Maisie. Maisie has hidden her true beliefs from her family. Their romance was endearing but certainly not straightforward. There are a number of interesting secondary characters and I look forward to reading Morrigan’s story. Some issues are resolved in this story but not all. I received a copy and have voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
July 21, 2019
May McGoldrick returns with another sweeping tale set in early 19th century Scotland, to a country on the brink of war, and a rebel with a voice that won't be quieted.

Maisie Murray is far from the meek and mild young woman with little ambition that her family thinks her, she is an activist. A young woman with a voice for women's rights. Without her families knowledge, Masie is a leader for the Female Reform Society alongside her friend Fiona. Speaking at public gatherings and penning articles concerning Scotland's suffrage and the need for equal rights. When a peaceful protest turns violent though, Masie finds herself in the middle of pandemonium, with danger right on her heels. Thankfully, a rescuer is not far behind... Niall Campbell fought for his country with everything that he had, but the blood on his hands soon began to stain his soul and he craved peace and family. Retiring from the Royal Highland Regiment, Niall is now searching for that tranquility, and a purpose. When he realizes the peril his sister Fiona, and her friend Masie have put themselves in with their advocacy, he can't help but fear for them... nor can he help to be intrigued by his sister's courageous friend. As Maisie and Niall navigate the troubles sweeping through Scotland as King George IV endeavors to stomp out even the whisper of rebellion, friendship soon turns to passion and a future blossoms. But that future is snatched away before it can bloom when Fiona is arrested and Niall is blackmailed to take on a secret mission for the crown. Can Maisie and Niall find their way back to each other through the deceit, danger, and distance that is put between them?

I was so excited to return to the Royal Highlander series after the first book, Highland Crown that released this spring. Cinaed and Isabella captured my heart and I couldn't wait to see what the future held for them, and their family. If you're familiar with Highland Crown, I won't rehash that story. You can find my review of it and a general overview of the book → HERE ←. This tale however, opens at the beginning of all that, before Isabella, Maisie, and Morrigan flee Edinburgh for their lives. There were a lot of different dates to keep track of, months that would pass between the characters, that slowed the story down for me because I had to go back and remember the previous date to count time. Finally, I just had to force myself to stop focusing on those dates and let the story flow. Once that happened the narrative quickly swept me away!

Niall and Masie were dynamic leading characters, and while they don't have as many intimate scenes together as one would expect from a romance, there was no denying the fact that these two were meant to be. Throughout the story-line they face danger at every corner, never knowing who they can trust, even with each other. They grow, and change, and develop into respectable voices for their country as the story-line progresses. Creating depth and authenticity to their self. I really loved how they each fought for their beliefs, bending to accept each other's if they differed, and never demanding change from their person. They had courage. Once the plot moves past the point where Highland Jewel left off, familiar characters return and the over-all series arc advances with Cinaed and his mother finally being reunited. And can I just say again how much I love Cinaed and Isabella? Their support of Niall and Masie was integral.

The writing for this time period is phenomenally rich, you can't help but become immersed into the Scotland of the 1820's. It wasn't an easy time, and this author duo masterfully weaves fact and fiction, wholly capturing the hardships and hope that the Scottish people endured. The character's plight was moving and believable, and the political upheaval hair-raising. May McGoldrick is without question, my favorite new-to-me author of 2019 and I can't wait for more from this series. While Highland Jewel can certainly be read as a stand-alone, I feel that it is more of a continuation of the first book and you will loose a lot of the history that this series stands on without reading Highland Crown first. Teeming with action, intrigue, love, family, and loyalty, Highland Jewel is not a story that historical romance fans want to miss!

Maisie, his wife. She challenged him, body and soul. She was the air, the water, the food that sustained him. They were lovers and friends. She made him want to live, to be a better man, to dream, to imagine that they could stretch the happiness of today into an infinity of tomorrows.


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Profile Image for Tracy Emro.
1,781 reviews45 followers
October 13, 2019
This story opens with Princess Caroline of Brunswick preparing to marry George, the Prince of Wales. She is sending her son, Cinaed James Stuart, from her secret marriage into hiding with his father’s people. It breaks her heart to leave him, but for his own safety, she must let him go, but swears she will see him again.

26 years later, Maisie Murray has been at Dalmigavie Castle for 4 months, her sister Isabella is married to Cinaed and has been branded an enemy to the crown, so they are in hiding along with Isabella’s step-daughter Morrigan Drummond. Maisie mourns her life in Edinburgh, she worries for her friend Fiona who was taken by soldiers 5 months ago, but more than anything, she misses Niall, Fiona’s brother and the man she fell in love with. So when she sees him arrive at the castle with a group of men, at first she is elated, but soon her joy turns to horror and she knows why he is here…

8 months earlier, Maisie had been leading a secret life, her family members are consumed in their own lives and are largely unaware of her activities, which suits Maisie perfectly. She and her friend Fiona, a widow with two young daughters, have started a chapter of the Female Reform Society, and actively protest in favor of suffrage and liberty for the people. She and Fiona know the new laws are meant to suppress the people, and they are careful not to cross the line, but they refuse to back down. They are speaking at a gathering when soldiers attack the crowd – they try to run, but Maisie is trapped, but thankfully saved by a man in the crowd. Once it seems safe, Maisie runs from her rescuer and meets up with Fiona, only to learn the man who saved her is Niall Campbell, Fiona’s brother and a former soldier.

Niall has resigned his position as a Lieutenant in His Majesty’s army, after the wars Niall was sent to Ireland and he has had enough pain and death. He returns to Scotland, unsure of what he wants to do with his life and it seems like the Army is not ready to let him go, he is approached by several people wanting him to work with them, but he declines them all. He wants a peaceful life and after spending time with Maisie, knows he wants her to be a part of it. But just went it seems like all his hopes and dreams are falling into place, all hell breaks loose and to save his sister, he has to enter into the battle waging between the king and queen of England. And sadly, the first casualty in that war will be his relationship with Maisie.

This was a very interesting story and personally, I felt like this was more of an Historical Fiction novel than it was an Historical Romance – in fact as a Historical Fiction, it is a 5 star read – but it is billed as a Historical Romance and it really is light on the romance. I was fascinated by the story and team McGoldrick did a wonderful job with relating the turmoil and political tension of the time, as well as keeping the reader on point with the various undercurrents of intrigue threaded throughout the story. Maisie and Niall will get a HEA, but the story is far from over…

This is the second book in the series and I would highly recommend reading the books in order – this is not a stand-alone book and parts of the story overlap with the first book, but to really understand the intrigue you need to read the first book.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*
Profile Image for Amarilli 73 .
2,210 reviews72 followers
October 27, 2021
2,5 - Lievemente superiore al primo capitolo, ma questa serie proprio non mi prende.
Il duo marito/moglie dei McGoldrick si è imputato sulla storia scozzese, che è suggestiva quando siamo in ambito medievale, ma è triste e grama in quest'epoca di declino e angheria inglese (non per nulla, è in questo periodo che sir Walter Scott rinverdisce il folklore per ridare un po' di smalto e ingraziarsi la corona).

Qui la vicenda ruota intorno all'ipotetico incontro tra la regina Carolina, moglie bistrattata di Prinny il reggente, e da lui esiliata nel continente, e un suo figlio illegittimo, pretendente al trono di Scozia.
Carolina è stata effettivamente l'unico motivo di interesse nella lettura, perché l'ho sempre ammirata, nonostante tutto il fango maschile che le è piovuto addosso. Tanti romanzi celebrano invece il pingue Prinny, per il carattere malandrino e donnaiolo, ma io non l’ho mai trovato così divertente.

Detto questo, e sottolineato che per me è stato tutto reso nel modo più noioso possibile, ho trovato estenuanti anche Niall e Maisie, che si prendono, si lasciano, tra continue incomprensioni.
Da un lato, Maisie si cala nel ruolo politico, poi però non è più capace di uscirne e di accettare le conseguenze dolorose. Dall'altra, Niall vorrebbe allontanarsi dal regime inglese, ma è troppo importante come pedina e quindi si ritrova invischiato in un gioco di ricatti tra le due fazioni.

Insomma, l'amore è poco e si stenta a crescere che ci sia tutto questo trasporto dopo tre scene dove i due sono riusciti a stare soli.
Lei è maldestra, passa dall'autocompatirsi (è tutta colpa mia) a fregare lui perché non riesce a spiegarsi. Non parliamo della sorella che, mentre lui viene pestato e torturato, rassicura Maisie dicendo che "non ti preoccupare, è un ragazzo robusto, qualche pugno non lo ucciderà..." (??? ah, ah).
Ok, un libro assurdo, che regala poche soddisfazioni.
Profile Image for Janet.
3,719 reviews30 followers
September 20, 2019
Maisie Murray’s sweet, docile exterior masks the courageous spirit of a firebrand determined to champion women’s suffrage with like-minded friends. But fighting for her principles has swept her directly into harm’s way. A trained officer with the 42nd Highland Regiment, Niall Campbell has spent his life serving the Crown. When he's ordered to go to Ireland & stamp out any rebellion he knows his days as a soldier are finished so resigns his commission. He returns to Edinburgh to spend time with his sister Fiona & her two young daughters, whilst there he meets Maisie. The pair fall in love & agree to marry but Fiona is arrested & her life is dangled in front of Niall in order for him to perform a task for the government.
This is the second book of this spellbinding series & events from the first book do overlap as both books take place at the same time. I felt this book didn’t pull me through the wringer as much as the previous one but it still took me on a roller coaster of emotions. It's over three hundred pages &, luckily, I began it just after lunch & my head didn’t lift until I'd finished it. Intrigue, treachery & romance held me totally enthralled. I loved both Niall & Maisie who really deserved each other. It was set against a backdrop of the troubles in Great Britain after the Napoleonic Wars & the plight of many ordinary people & I loved the mix of historical fact & fiction.
My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read
Profile Image for Michele.
1,242 reviews
September 23, 2019
The Highland Jewel is the second book in the Royal Highlander series. I believe you can read it as a standalone. However, your reading experience will definitely be enhanced by reading the first book prior to this so that you have the complete history of the characters involved from the beginning.

This book not only gives you a classic historical romance feel, it also blends in some legitimate historical events along with the romance. The main character, Maisie, is a spirited and brave woman who is open to trying new experiences. She has also led a movement for women's rights with her good friend, Fiona. It is through Fiona, that she meets Niall, Fiona's brother. Even though their initial meeting is a bit awkward, they end up becoming friends and then realize that they care about one another as more than friends.

Maisie and Niall are both dedicated to their families. Niall's sister, Fiona is taken and held as a prisoner in order to get him to do things he has no interest in doing. Life gets in the way and Niall and Maisie are forced apart. Niall has a mission and Maisie and her sisters are forced to leave their home after an attack on it. They meet up again years later and find that they still care for one another. But will it be that easy??

I really enjoyed Highland Jewel and look forward to reading others in this series!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Publishing for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
1,861 reviews17 followers
September 25, 2019
It took me a little while to get into this book but then I couldn’t wait to see what happened. There is quite an amount of politics, particularly at the beginning but this is essential to the background of the story. The manipulative ways of the government play a major part as well. I did like the characters of Niall and Maisie. Maisie has hidden her true beliefs from her family. Their romance was endearing but certainly not straightforward. There are a number of interesting secondary characters and I look forward to reading Morrigan’s story. Some issues are resolved in this story but not all. I received a copy and have voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Susan Peterson.
1,568 reviews252 followers
September 24, 2019
Highland Jewel is the second installment in the Royal Highlander series, and I found this book to be entertaining, romantic, and full of adventure! This story doesn't just pick up where the first book left off, it also fills in a lot of the background leading up to the events in both novels. This book is filled with intrigue, treachery, and danger, and I really enjoy reading about the events that transpired in Scotland in the early 19th century. I didn't know a lot about that time in history, and it is fascinating! The book is fast-paced as we follow the plight of Maisie and Niall, two young people who fall in love at a time that is unsettled and perilous. Although this book could work as a standalone, it is certainly better and more complete if you read the books in the series in order. I look forward to Book 3!
Profile Image for Caiti Radjewski.
153 reviews3 followers
August 27, 2019
Here are my thoughts on Highland Jewel: McG's writing is infused with MAJOR old-school romance flavors. It's has kind of a sweeping and epic vibe that made me nostalgic for Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and her ilk. Highland Jewel is dramatic and ALMOST too over the top but it's well executed and the characters are well-developed so it still worked for me.

The backdrop of specific 19th century British/Scottish political strife was actually pretty interesting. Often I will be a little bored by these kind of details if they're emphasized too much. But it was working for me here. I enjoyed this book.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
3,394 reviews13 followers
September 24, 2019
Highland Jewel by May McGoldrick is a fantastic historical romance. The actual history of the time is highlighted in this book as much as the character's story. I loved that, but folks that aren't big fans of history might not care for this book as well as others they may have read by this author. Maisie spends her time secretly writing speeches for the Female Reform Society and attending forbidden protests. Niall is a retired officer of the 42nd Royal Highlanders and just wants to find a peaceful life with his sister and nieces. Maisie and Niall's story is full of drama, humor, sexy bits, action and cover to cover suspense. I enjoyed reading Highland Jewel and look forward to my next book by May McGoldrick. Highland Jewel is book 2 of the Royal Highlander Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for AnnMarie.
1,158 reviews32 followers
September 4, 2019
Highland Jewel is the second book in the Royal Highlander series by May McGoldrick. I haven't read the first in the series but didn't feel as if I had missed anything when reading this book.

Maisie Murray lives with her sister and brother-in-law. She adopts a docile demeanour so that her family have no idea that behind that she hides her true self. She is an activist working for women's rights and is the co-founder of Edinburgh's Female Reform Society. Her partner is Fiona Campbell and together they arrange marches and protests, recruiting etc.

Niall Campbell is Fiona's brother. He is newly retired from the military and is looking for a more stable, quiet life. It seems that isn't what is meant to be for him. First of all, he discovers what his sister has been up to and is concerned for her safety. He attends a rally with her which turns nasty when authorities turn up to stop them. Fiona manages to escape and asks Niall to rescue Maisie who is still trying to escape. That is how he meets her, and thankfully, yes he gets to spirit her to safety.

From that moment there is an attraction between them but despite the fact that he pleads for the women to stop their part in the reform movement because of the dangers, neither listen. When Fiona is taken into custody and spirited away Maisie can't help but blame herself for involving Fiona in the group. Niall is horrified to learn what has happened and is even more horrified when he learns that it has nothing to do with what Fiona was up to. That was just an excuse for the authorities to take her in order to make Niall take on a task for them. He is to find and execute the 'Son of Scotland' who is the exiled Queen Caroline of England's son. A boy she had to give away as a young boy in order to keep him safe. One that she swore to see again one day and that day was coming. The King of England refused to let that happen and it's at his dictate that Niall is ordered to kill the son, now a grown man, before any meeting can take place. If he refuses then they will kill his sister.

Niall knows what he must do is dangerous, and he can't have Maisie waiting for him. He tells her that he must leave in order to save Fiona's life but can't tell her what he has to do. He tells her though that they can have no future and leaves her broken-hearted.

What follows is intriguing and engrossing. We see Maisie and Niall's paths cross again in a most unexpected way. She is at the home of the man that Niall has to kill! Will she figure out why he is there, what will she do if she does? Can Niall fulfil his orders and save Fiona, or will the Queen get a chance to see her son again which will stir up all kinds of political unrest for the King? Will Maisie and Niall have a chance to rekindle their romance?

There was so much happening in this story but it was very easy to keep up with it all. There was never a dull moment and I loved how the characters developed over the duration of the story. Niall and Maisie are so perfect together and I became quite emotional when he had to leave her and end their relationship early on in the story. It was definitely a cheer-worthy moment when they met again despite the circumstances!

What I really loved about this story was that alongside the romance there was so much political and historical information given. At the end of the book, there are even author's notes regarding the politics etc of the time. What a great way to learn things you may previously not have known, tucked nicely into a wonderful romance story!

I really enjoyed this book and fully recommend it.
Profile Image for Judi Easley.
1,399 reviews47 followers
September 23, 2019
Highland Jewel
A Royal Highlander Novel #2
May McGoldrick
St. Martin’s Press, Sep 23, 2019
313 pages
Historical romance
Provided by NetGalley
⭐⭐⭐⭐🌙 4.5 stars

The cover isn’t anywhere near as exciting as the book itself is. What drew me to the book is the author’s name. I’ve always liked Ms. McGoldrick’s books and this one is no exception.

Maisie’s father and older sister, Isabella, are doctors. When their father dies, Isabella marries Dr. Drummond, who is a radical. He has a daughter about Maisie’s age, Morrigan, but the girls are nothing alike and aren’t close. So Maisie goes on her quiet way and the household sort of overlooks her most of the time. However, pretty Maisie isn’t the empty-headed lightweight they all seem to think she is. She listens when Dr. Drummond’s radicals meet at the house and she reads the papers and forms opinions. She and her friend Fiona have formed the Female Reform Society in Edinburgh. They speak in small groups with the women in the city. They print up and post the information so that people can understand what’s being passed as law. And now they’re speaking at local gatherings. Gatherings that the local constabulary are about to break up mounted on horses with clubs and pikes. Fiona escapes ahead of the horses and clubs. Maisie is saved by Fiona’s brother, Lieutenant Niall Campbell, now retired from the 42nd Royal Highlanders. His regiment is famous for its loyalty to the Crown and its bravery and brutality. But what Maisie sees is a very handsome man who is trying to tell her what to do. Go home and stop getting in the way of danger.

True to historical romance form, as the story goes on, the hero and the heroine, of course, grow to have warmer feelings for each other. I don’t want to tell the story here, but after several crises and some time and travel for each of our main characters, fortune will shine on them again. But it takes a kidnapping, a death, a loss of home for both, a marriage to a famous renegade, a close call, being thrown in prison, a queen, a threat or two, and Maisie speaking out again. I recommend this second book in the Royal Highlander series and probably the others of the series as well. This is an author that is easy to recommend.
Profile Image for Dan Curnutt.
393 reviews13 followers
June 22, 2019
The second installment in the Royal Highlander series is an intriguing walk through the sordid history of England, Ireland and Scotland in the late 1700's through the early 1800's. Princes Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel is separated from your young son, but not by choice. She has married the present King (arranged, not by choice) and he wants the young child banished because he fears loosing the throne to him at some point.

Cinaed Mackintosh is banish, but at least he is not killed. At four years of age he set adrift without his mother.

Years later he becomes know as "the son of Scotland," a title that represents his position as the future leader of the Scottish people.

Young Maisie is a woman who also has been put adrift somewhat by the death of her parents. She though has remained with family and lives with her sister and brother-in-law. They think she is meek and mild manner. But what they don't know is that she is an activist working diligently to bring the rights of women to the forefront of politics.

This second story is the story of how Maisie falls in love, only to have it thwarted by the throws of anarchy. It is also the story of how Cinaed and his mother, the Queen, are reunited.

There is intrigue, deception, turmoil, desperation, betrayal and love. Each chapter brings us closer to devastation that might tear each character apart. But each chapter also brings us closer to how love, loyalty and integrity might triumph and bring victory to those who are oppressed.

While loosely tied to history, the story has enough relevance to what truly happened to make it an excellent read and insight into the times and lives of those caught up in political deception and control.

The characters are very well developed. They become the hero's that we all want to find in our lives and times. They will wow you, confuse you, devastate you, but also give you hope for a brighter future for the Land of the Scot's.

I am waiting with anxiousness for the third book in the series.
Profile Image for Caitlyn Lynch.
Author 43 books1,825 followers
September 25, 2019
Though this book is about a different couple to that featured in the first in this series, Highland Crown, you’re going to miss a lot of the underlying context here if you haven’t read Highland Crown. At the end of that book we discovered Cinead’s royal lineage, and the fallout from that discovery. It’s obvious Cinead and Isabella’s marriage will have repercussions for everyone close to them, and in this book we see the effect it has on Maisie, Isabella’s younger sister.

Highland Jewel actually opens before Highland Crown takes place, setting the scene in Edinburgh as we discover Maisie wasn’t the quiet, biddable girl everyone thought. She was heavily involved in the Female Reform Society, a group considered seditious by England’s government, and with her friend Fiona, getting into all sorts of dangerous situations. Fiona’s brother Niall, a former army officer who retired when he couldn’t stomach the violence against his own people he was tasked with, is Maisie’s hero, and put in a terrible situation when his sister is held hostage to force Niall to commit an unspeakable act.

I still can’t quite see, given the historical context of the time, how Cinead and Isabella can get any sort of satisfyingly happy ending considering the impressive forces arrayed against them (and the fact that I know very well he didn’t get to be King of Scotland :P) but I can’t wait to read the third book in the series, Highland Sword, to find out how May McGoldrick manage to wrap this all up. I have every confidence they’ll manage it in some satisfying but unexpected way, though, because honestly this pair of authors are some of the best you’re going to find writing historical romance today. Weaving real historical events with fiction with such a deft touch the lines blur into insignificance, there are history lessons blended with a wonderful romance in every story.

Five stars for yet another fabulous read from May McGoldrick!

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Alison.
711 reviews6 followers
July 25, 2019
Highland Jewel
Royal Highlander #2
May McGoldrick

Maisie Murray is a very quiet and docile girl in the eyes of her family, but all is not what it seems. She is an activist who is fearless when it comes to what she believes in. Maisie and her friend Fiona founded the Edinburgh Female Reform Society right after the Peterloo Massacre and she is proud to carry the banner for universal suffrage.

Niall Campbell is a hero of the wars. He is a former decorated officer of the Royal Highland Regiment who is now trying to live a normal life away from the military. His superiors are not very happy about his decision to leave, but they know that they can't stop him. One day he runs to save his sister Fiona when a protest goes bad. At the protest he finds his sister safe, but she asks him to save her friend Maisie which he does. He soon realizes that Maisie is everything he's ever wanted in a woman.

Then Fiona is arrested and dragged right off the street and disappeares leaving Niall to face the fact that his life is no longer his own because the British authorities have a mission for him to complete in exchange for his sisters freedom. In the span of one night Maisie loses Niall, Foina, and her home. In the wake of the riots that are happening all over Scotland, Maisie's own sister Isabella is branded a traitor to the crown, and they all must flee to the Highlands. In the Highlands months later Maisie meets up with Niall again. Now he has a new name and carrie's a secret message, but Niall has a task to complete and their future rests on them being able to overcome all of the obstacles that are set in front of them. For the sake of Scotland she must somehow put a stop to the only man she has ever and will ever love. Will she be able to do what needs to be done or will she shy away from what she believes in?

Oh my goodness. This book is fabulous. May McGoldrick does it again and it's even better then the last. From the second I started reading I surrendered my heart to Maisie and Niall. These two characters were so well matched in every way. They were both courageous, strong, and loyal to their causes. They did what had to be done with no thoughts as to how what might happen to themselves. I felt like I was part of the book. I was a simple bystander to one of the greatest stories I have ever had the pleasure of reading. This book litterly blew my mind. May McGoldrick I don't know how you do it, but you never cease to amaze me.
Profile Image for April.
1,839 reviews66 followers
September 19, 2019
Highland Jewel: A Royal Highlander Novel by May McGoldrick is an intense, and intriguing Historical Romance set in 1820. I feel this is not a stand alone novel, I'd recommend reading book 1, HIGHLAND CROWN first. I had a difficult time connecting with the characters, at first.
May McGoldrick, has weaved history with fiction to create a story that draws readers into a compelling, enticing, intriguing tale of political unrest, danger, deception, treason, betrayal and love with a HEA. HIGHLAND JEWEL has a dramatic and climactic ending. I loved this story, the cast of characters are very intriguing. The storyline flows seamlessly and effortlessly. Strongly recommended for fans of Historical Romance, danger, intrigue, politics and More.
Looking forward to reading More of this series.

"I voluntarily received a complimentary copy, however,  these are my honest opinions. I was in no way required nor compensated to write a review."

Rating: 4.5
Heat rating: mild
Reviewer: AprilR
Profile Image for Sissy's Romance Book Review .
7,863 reviews16 followers
September 24, 2019
HIGHLAND JEWEL by May McGoldrick is book Two in the Royal Highlander Series. This is the story of Niall Campbell and Maisie Murray. I have read the previous book but feel you can make this a standalone book if you wish to do so.
Maisie and her friend Fiona Campbell are founding members of the Edinburgh Female Reform Society. They are standing up for the women's suffrage which leads them to protesting which of course in its self if very dangerous. That is how Maisie meets Niall when he comes to a protest to protect his sister. Niall has walked away from the Royal Highland Regiment but when his sister is taken he ends up having to go back into the field. Maisie to ends up suffering the lost of her friend, then Niall along with her home. Isabella her sister and brother-in-law all take off for the Highlands for safety when the threat of being a traitor is made...this brings Niall back into her life.
Enjoyed their story.
Profile Image for Susan.
4,333 reviews93 followers
September 15, 2019
Excellent continuation of the Royal Highlander series. While this book can be read as a stand-alone, the experience will be richer if you read Highland Crown first. One of my favorite things about both books is that they deal with events outside the usual Society life. Indeed, the upper crust of Society is shown in an entirely different light. The setup of the book is a little different also. It starts in the middle of the story, goes back to the beginning to catch up, then continues in the present. Part of the story also takes place at the same time as the previous book, but from Maisie's point of view rather than Isabelle's.

There are two sides to Maisie. One is the quiet, docile girl who doesn't seem to have a thought in her head. This is the side that her family sees, and the reason for it is heartbreaking. Outside of the home, she shares with her family, Maisie is just the opposite. She is an activist, working for the rights of women and the ordinary people of Scotland. She has formed a Women's Reform Society with her best friend, Fiona, where they meet to talk about issues, plan protests, and recruit new members. Unfortunately, the British government is cracking down on what it considers to be subversive activity.

Niall is Fiona's brother. He recently retired from active service, disturbed by the things he's been called to do since the end of the war with Napoleon. All he wants now is a stable, quiet life with his sister and nieces. He is dismayed to discover Fiona's double life, knowing from experience the danger she is in. When a rally turns dangerous, Fiona begs Niall to save Maisie too. From that moment on, there is an undeniable connection between Niall and Maisie.

I liked the development of the relationship between Maisie and Niall. Though he was a soldier for a long time, there is also a softer side to him that comes out around Maisie. She understands that the things he's seen haunt him. I liked the way that she listens to more than just the words when he talks. Niall is also just as protective of Maisie as he is of Fiona and I ached for how he worries about them both. The feelings between them grow rapidly, but there are obstacles to overcome. Maisie's brother-in-law has taken a dislike to Niall, and she has to find a way to overcome that. She also needs to tell them about her other life. But before she can do that, Fiona is taken by the authorities.

There is more behind Fiona's capture than either Maisie or Niall is aware of at first. Niall is blackmailed into accepting a dangerous mission for the Crown. Accepting the danger to save his sister, Niall refuses to drag Maisie into it. Instead, he frees her from their commitment, breaking her heart. He never expects to see her again, but fate has other plans. The intrigue and intensity ramp up when Niall shows up in the Highlands under suspicious circumstances. There are multiple twists and turns that put Niall, Maisie, and even Cinead and Isabelle in danger. I was glued to the pages as each event played out, and I found myself rooting for the best outcome. I loved seeing Niall and Maisie come together despite the turmoil around them. I especially enjoyed Niall's words to Maisie at the end about their future and life together.

The story arc that runs through both books, and will continue into book three, is an intriguing one. I love seeing more of the world outside London, and the realistic look at the social problems of the day. The story of Cinead and his mother is especially intriguing. I ached for Caroline and what she went through. I was somewhat familiar with her as a historical character, but these books provide a different look into her life. The ending brought tears as Caroline finally got her dearest wish. It will be interesting to see where it goes in the next book.

The secondary characters were terrific as well. My favorites were Fiona and Morrigan. I liked Fiona's determination to make a better world for her daughters. She and Maisie made an excellent team, each with their own strengths. My favorite was Morrigan. I liked seeing her relationship with Maisie change from adversarial to the closeness of sisters. She is just as committed to her cause as Isabelle and Maisie are. I look forward to the next book and seeing what is in store for her.
Profile Image for JenReviews4U.
362 reviews
June 25, 2019
Maisie and Niall must overcome history itself in order to be together. Another masterpiece by May McGoldrick. To be fair, I am a fan of their work. I did read Highland Crown and loved it very much, and Highland Jewel did not disappoint. This is the second book in the Royal Highlanders series, and probably should be read in order to avoid confusion and references that are used. This book steps back in time a bit more before Highland Crown which at first left me thinking that perhaps this should have been first in the series. I really enjoyed hearing about some of the action from Highland Crown from another character’s perspective and meeting Morrigan. Highland Jewel then speeds past where Highland Crown left off and it all works itself into a beautifully woven story full of adventure and of course love. As is expected, team McGoldrick did their homework with intertwining historical events into fiction and it left me with wanting to find out more about the real life events that took place. I really appreciated seeing the character of Queen Caroline given a small storyline given her real life story.
My only negative would be that I would have liked to see this story be a bit longer in order to fully explain things more, it felt rushed to me. Maisie and Niall’s romance seemed to happen in a matter of days which to me didn’t fit either of their strong characters. I also thought that there wasn’t many scenes with just Maisie and Niall, there was always someone else or a reference back to Isabella’s story. The ending does leave many questions and things up in the air which was understandable given that there is another book due out soon (Highland Sword), but again, I thought it could use more.
Overall the storyline for Highland Jewel is strong and engaging with some unexpected twists and turns. Well done to the writing team and I cannot wait for Highland Sword and more of Morrigan!
My thanks to St. Martin's Press and May McGoldrick for an advanced e-copy in exchange for my review
Profile Image for Milena.
735 reviews79 followers
September 24, 2019
I thoroughly enjoyed Highland Jewel, the second book in Royal Highlander series by Mary McGoldrick. It has all the same great ingredients as the first book: interesting (old and new) characters, a swoony romance, political intrigue, and Scottish history. I am very much looking forward to the next book, Highland Sword.

*ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,300 reviews267 followers
September 24, 2019
Highland Jewel was a wonderful read featuring a delightful romance between two characters searching for their place in the world.

To her family, Maisie Murray is the same quiet woman she has always been. In private, Maisie is one of the cofounders of the Edinburgh Female Reform Society which advocates for women’s rights. Niall Campbell, a decorated officer, is ready to settle into a quiet life far away from the battles he fought for the Crown. But after Niall meets Maisie, that quiet life goes out the window. As the two fall in love, the situation in their country worsens and when Niall’s sister is arrested, the other cofounder of Maisie’s women’s society, Niall is forced to take on a job that will destroy the life he was trying to build with Maisie. But when the pair encounter each other months later in the Highlands, it becomes clear that nothing between them has changed.

The beginning of Maisie and Niall’s relationship is actually nice and I enjoyed how well the two fit with each other. The two are very compatible and ultimately want the same things out of life. After Niall’s sister is kidnapped, their relationship is essentially put on hold as Niall leaves town with Maisie eventually following suit for different reasons. Their reunion is fairly dramatic, which is understandable due to the circumstances, and the progression of the relationship picks up a lot after that. Physically the two have great chemistry and when their physical relationship progresses it’s very well done with some fantastic scenes.

The back-drop of the Scottish rebellion is once again prevalent in this book, more so at times because Maisie is directly involved with a women’s group fighting against the unfair laws. I liked getting to see a different side of the rebellion than we saw in the first book and I still find it to be a fascinating topic. The timeline of this book somewhat overlaps with the first book in the series before eventually moving past the end of that book. We do get to see quite a bit of the characters from Highland Crown which was nice. There is a fair amount of focus on Maisie’s relationship with Morrigan, Isabelle’s step-daughter who is Maisie’s age, and it was great to see how much their relationship grew over the course of the book.

I enjoyed Highland Jewel more than the first book in the series, Highland Crown, and I’m looking forward to reading the third book, Highland Sword, next year. I highly recommend this series if you’re looking for a new historical romance series to read.

**I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
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