Monday, September 11, 2023

#BookReview of The Strongest Heart (The Clan Donald Saga, Book 3) by Regan Walker

The Strongest Heart (The Clan Donald Saga, Book 3)

By: Regan Walker
Publisher: Regan Walker Publishing
Publication Date: September 26, 2023
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: September 7, 2023
Award-winning author Regan Walker concentrates on the historical period and personal plights and triumphs of Donald of Islay, ruler of the Hebrides kingdom of old Scotland, called upon by his sense of duty and his own strong will to wage war in order to keep his territory safe and sacred in her most recent book, The Strongest Heart (The Clan Donald Saga, Book 3).
In the 14th century, Donald’s realm is under threat, indeed, incursion, by the Stewart clan who see an opportunity to expand their authority in Scotland. He takes responsibility to defend his clan and its holdings as a God-given imperative. He is nominated and then designated as chief by the island region’s lords and priests in the opening segment of this lively volume. Donald, though recognizing his own youth and inexperience, has some weighty distinctions to his credit, including a lengthy period of study at Oxford University in England, and a distinguished heritage. He understands or quickly learns the obligations of his new office, marrying the lovely Mariota in an arrangement that had been planned by his father but yet required contact and closeness. There many poignant, pertinent touches – Mariota’s wedding ring was fashioned in Iona, famed for its metalwork, and the couple receives and together read aloud a single Canterbury Tale. Their courtship and closeness offer a view of Donald as a charming, caring romancer and Mariota as a perspicacious partner, who must face the fact that her spouse is destined to lead his clan in one of the bloodiest battles in recorded history. It would be named, in fact, Bludie Harlaw. Much drama focuses on intimations concerning, and preparations for, this terrorizing encounter. At Harlaw, Donald’s warriors and Donald himself will raise bows and swords against the marauders led by Alexander, Earl of Mar, as he seeks to lay claim to Donald’s island domain and in so doing, assume the throne of all Scotland.
Walker is an acclaimed author who has chosen to concentrate her talents on her personal heritage as a member of Clan Donald. This segment, deftly arranged and credibly told, shows Donald as a man who respected his fellow clanspeople, both male and female, and who revered God as the hidden source behind all great deeds. Walker gives Mariota and other women a vital role in the lives of their fighting men and has created dialogue that seems suited to the times, both appropriately formal and humanly humorous. Her works have garnered recognition and well-deserved awards. A former lawyer, Walker is comfortable with intrigue and the many levels of interference, from statesmanship to scurrilous conniving, that may play a role in national conflict, as demonstrated in this work.
Quill says: Walker’s educated view of the heroic Donald and his place in Scottish history in her new book, The Strongest Heart, is an achievement both as history and as a thrilling tale well told, with a vivid cinematic aura that will attract readership across a wide spectrum.
For more information on The Strongest Heart (The Clan Donald Saga, Book 3), please visit the author's website at:

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