The North-Eastern Highlands, 1780. The Jacobite cause is lost, and in the aftermath of Culloden, the government seeks to crush the rebellious Highlands. There must be no more risings. In Strathavon, crofters risk their lives smuggling illicit whisky that they may remain on their native land. To them land and kinship mean all.
Fiercely independent, Morven MacRae is the daughter of a notorious smuggler. To be a healer like her enigmatic neighbour Rowena is her greatest wish. Only Rowena is allegedly a witch. Her life and those of the glen smugglers blighted by a ruthless exciseman. A man possessed – both with the want of her and the fear of her. A man who would have her for his wife or see her turned out of the glen.
Evicted from Strathavon as an infant, Rowena’s kinsman Jamie Innes is driven by honour and an abiding loyalty. And by a desire to belong. When he returns to the glen of his birth, Morven prays he will protect Rowena. And against her better judgement feels drawn to this passionate young Highlander. A man who claims to hold feelings for her too. But can she trust him?
For this is a mystical land where superstitions abound. Where secrets set them against each other and loyalties are tested. Will Jamie save the last of his kin? Or will he betray everything he claims to hold dear?
Rich with historical detail and the language and lore of the Highlands, The Blood And The barley is a sensitive love story perfect for fans of Diana Gabaldon and the Poldark novels of Winston Graham. A full-blooded tale of raw emotion, prejudice, and injustice.
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Angela MacRae Shanks was born in Garmouth, a village near the mouth of the river Spey in north-east Scotland. She still lives near here with her family and two cats. Her love of Scottish history began at an early age, perhaps piqued by an intriguing plaque on the adjoining cottage announcing it to be the spot where King Charles II signed the Solemn League and Covenant on his return from exile in 1650.
A fascination with all things Celtic and Highland, added to her training in aromatherapy and complementary therapies, spawned a need to weave herbal lore into her tales. Those who healed using plants and the wisdom of nature, usually women, were often branded witches. And this added more rich fodder to the mix.
Belonging to Moray, malt whisky country, uisge-beatha, the water of life, and its illicit past has always interested her and she thought it high time someone wove the history of the spirit into a work of fiction.
The Blood & The Barley is the result of this mix.