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Publisher: Avon (Harper Collins)
Release Date: June 2004
ISBN: 0060098120
Format Reviewed: Paperback
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Genre:   Historical Romance [1558, Scottish Highlands]
Reviewed: 2004
Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes: Sexual Content

The Sweetest Sin
By Mary Reed McCall

     The MacDonell clan has a secret treasure that protects them; a magical amulet. It is Aileana’s task to guard it, but there is somebody who wants to snatch it away and for good reason. Duncan MacRae has suffered greatly at the hands of the MacDonells and only wants back what used to belong to his own clan, namely the amulet. However, he hasn’t reckoned with Aileana who will do everything in her power to keep the treasure, or his own fate to fall in love with her.

     There are several praiseworthy points about this book that set it above most of the other books in the sub-genre of Scottish historical romances. Firstly, it is not set during any of the most predictable periods - no Bonnie Prince Charlie hiding in the heather and Butcher Cumberland nowhere in sight. Secondly, it is not replete with dialect words and strange speech, which tends to make the dialogue in some books like this hard to read. There is a villainess instead of a villain, who is unusual indeed, and the light touch of fantasy adds to the charm. There is nothing new about the scenes between the two lovers as Aileana chafes against Duncan’s initial cruelty, although basically he is a good man who has suffered just too much. Nevertheless, the author handles this well enough, and the result is an enjoyably readable novel. I don’t usually care for this sub-genre for the reasons given above, but this is better than the average Highland romantic fling.