Title: Once Upon a Haunted Castle
Author: Eliza Knight, Kathryn LeVeque, Terri Brisbin, Madeline Martin, Ruth A. Casie
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Scottish, Highlander,
Welcome to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland where ghosts inhabit haunted castles and can even help out forbidden lovers when they wish. Here are five original novellas from bestselling and award-winning authors Kathryn LeVeque, Eliza Knight, Terri Brisbin, Madeline Martin and Ruth A. Casie that will take you to some of their favorite castles to meet their favorite ghosts.
In Eliza Knight’s LAIRD OF SHADOWS, a decade old vow and an attack of Vikings brings Lady Elle Cam’béal to Dunstaffnage Castle seeking the help of the new, handsome, provocative laird with a beastly temper—Beiste MacDougall. As battles and treachery rain down upon them, Beiste and Elle find an unlikely ally in a ghost, and discover that a few stolen moments of passion can bring light from the shadows…
In Kathryn Le Veque’s DEEP INTO DARKNESS, Findlater Castle in the Scottish Highlands becomes a place of mystery and doom for Jamison Munro and his wife, Havilland. Traveling across the highlands one dark and stormy night, they stumble upon a lonely Host in Findlater Castle, a pathetic soul waiting for his wife to return to him. It is a terrible tale of a tragic love story that the Host tells the travelers but when Havilland becomes curious about mysterious tapping sounds that go on in the middle of the night, she soon realizes the danger that she and her husband are in. It becomes a race against time for Havilland to free a trapped spirit and save both their lives in the process.
In Terri Brisbin’s UPON A MISTY SKYE, Alexander MacDonald and Isabel MacLeod were not supposed to meet or fall in love or marry. Now that they have, both of their parents plan to separate them, by any means possible. But the ghost of Duntulm Castle has other plans for the forbidden lovers and those who stand in the way of true love.
In Madeline Martin’s A GHOSTLY TALE OF FORBIDDEN LOVE, Gavin MacDuff is a laird with a cruel and bitter aunt he’s sworn to protect. Senara is the new lady’s maid at Castle of Park and has sacrificed everything for the betterment of her family. Their paths tangle and lead to a road of hidden longing and secret passion – all of which is threatened by the power of one ghost who is fixed on revenge.
In Ruth A. Casie’s THE MAXWELL GHOST, traitors, deception, murders and ghosts run rampant at Caerlaverock Castle. Jamie Collins, a man of reality not magic, serves Lord Herbert in exchange for his own farm. Laura Reynolds, the Herbert’s distant cousin comes to the castle to solve the murders and put the ghost to rest. The two, long-time friends find their destinies intertwined with hidden passions, but all is in jeopardy when Laura becomes the murderer’s next target. Jamie will find he needs some ghostly assistance to save Laura and declare his love.
I’m a big fan of Ruth A. Casie and when she revealed she’s a part of this boxset, I was thrilled to read it. Just imagine: blending ghosts/spirits with Highland Romance from five of today’s bestselling authors. I was familiar with Casie but had not had the pleasure of reading the other authors. Here’s my short review for each story:
LAIRD OF SHADOWS – Vikings attack and Lady Elle has no choice but to seek sanctuary at Dunstaffnage Castle. Beiste, the new laird, is gruff and has a horrid temper but Elle can’t resist those haunting eyes of his. War is at their doorstep and deception surrounds Beiste and Elle like a thick fog. Can Beiste find Elle’s brother before it’s too late and can Elle trust her heart when it comes to love? A brilliant, sweeping Highland Romance that I didn’t want to end.
DEEP INTO DARKNESS – A new take on Poe’s classic poem, The Raven. A couple seeks refuge away from the storm at what appears to be a deserted castle. But all is not as it appears and Havilland must release the spirits or else she and her husband will become doomed, like the rest who have visited Findlater Castle. A spooky, intense ghost story that even Poe would find intriguing.
UPON A MISTY SKYE – A forbidden love by warring families is at the center of this story and I found myself comparing it to Romeo and Juliet. Two fathers separating this destined couple for their own gain and when it seems hopeless, a ghost becomes the couple’s best ally. A gritty, Medieval romance I enjoyed. A hair dark but you’ll love the historical accuracy.
A GHOSTLY TALE OF FORBIDDEN LOVE – Continuing on with the forbidden love theme, this tale has a laird and a maid falling in love. They both know it’s not proper but can’t help themselves. But when a ghost seeks revenge, Gavin must choose who he loves most. There’s plenty to like in this story but my favorite character in this story is Senara.
THE MAXWELL GHOST – Long-time friends Jamie and Laura team up to solve a double-murder. Jamie is a man of logic and doesn’t believe in ghosts, no matter what the residents of Caerlaverock Castle say. Laura believes in her gift and when her cousin, Lord Herbert, asks for assistance, she goes on behalf of her mother. Sparks fly between Jamie and Laura but both Laura and Jamie keep their feelings secret. It’s only when Laura’s life is in jeopardy does Jamie see the truth about his burning love for her and the identity of the murderer. This is a prequel to Casie’s The Guardian’s Witch (which I highly recommend). Casie sucked me in from the first paragraph and I actually cried out when it ended. I want more! Jamie is my favorite character in this story.
Favorite Quote from The Maxwell Ghost:
“How. Dare. You. Stop. Me.” She spat out each word. The men were silent, like reprimanded schoolboys. “I’ll make sure to tell my father how Lord Bryce takes liberties with Glen Kirk property or should I tell him a Ravencroft patrol lost their way in the forest and I needed to provide them with directions?”
Scarlet stains appeared on the leader’s cheek. Laura was aware of the enemy she’d made, but with good cause. The Mitchell men looked at each other, not knowing what to do.
My Rating: 5 stars
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RUTH A. CASIE is an author of swashbuckling action-adventure time-travel romance about strong empowered women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Her Druid Knight novels have both finaled in the NJRW Golden Leaf contest. Ruth also writes contemporary romance with enough action to keep you turning pages. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and international bank product and marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance.
Social Media Links:
Website: http:// www.ruthacasie.com
Personal Blog: http://www.ruthacasie.blogspot.com
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/RuthACasie
Reviewed by: Mrs. N