ONCE UPON A PLAID - Mia Marlowe
Spirit of the Highlands Series
October 7, 2014
Scotland - 16th Century
After four years of marriage, Lady Katherine, wife to William Douglas Lord of Badenoch, has failed to provide him an heir. This Christmas season she has left him for his own good. She does not seem able to carry a pregnancy to term and suffers from the loss of her babies. William has failed to notice her agony, which angers her although she still loves him. He needs a different wife. She has escaped to her father, Lord Glengarry's castle until she can have her marriage annulled and retreat to a convent. Here she takes over her sister-in-law Margaret's duties. Margaret is near the end of another pregnancy, while her husband, Katherine's brother Donald, tarries at court. Lord Glengarry is ill, and on the first night of Christmas, his nephew Ranulf MacNaught entertains by maliciously teasing the court's fool, Nab.
William appears, having followed his wife. He stops the mockery, and learning Ranulf appointed Nab Abbot of Unreason for the Twelve Nights, gives Nab the Douglas scepter, making him laird for the Christmas season. William loves his wife and wants no other. He has not given up on an heir but cannot understand his wife's behavior, or why she seems to have lost her love for him. He has come to Glengarry to win her back.
It's the Twelve Days of Christmas and bad situations, misunderstandings, nefarious purposes, and sadness abound at Glengarry. All the characters mentioned play important parts in this story, as does Katherine's small dog Angus and the maidservant Dorcus. Deep introspection and unspoken plans sometimes slow progress, but the dialogue is snappy, the situations emotional, and the action traitorous as well as dangerous in ONCE UPON A PLAID. Yet, it is Christmas, so hope survives.