Researching A Highland Emerald, a Scottish Historical Romance from Brenda B. Taylor

Today I welcome fellow historical romance author, Brenda B. Taylor, to talk about researching her latest release, A Highland Emerald.

Researching A Highland Emerald

After retirement I became interested in genealogical research and began researching family ancestry. The lives of my ancestors grabbed my interest and curiosity. I researched and traveled to their homelands then wrote about those in post-Civil War Missouri and 16th century Scotland. I found my Scots Munro ancestor who immigrated from Scotland to North Carolina in the early 19th century. Immediately, a story began to turn over in my mind about the adventurous Clan Munro of the Scottish Highlands. Historical romance was my favorite genre to read, so I crafted romances into the plots of the stories.

The research for A Highland Emerald was difficult but interesting and exciting. I traveled to Scotland three times for first hand experience of life in the Scottish Highlands. Scotland’s museums, ancient castles, and other points of interest are filled with history and artifacts. On the first trip, my husband and I traveled from Edinburgh to Inverness in a rented car on the wrong side of the road. What a journey, but we arrived safely at our destination and enjoyed the stay in a lovely bed and breakfast. While there, I noticed an advertisement on the bulletin board for Munro Highland Tours and immediately got in touch with George Munro, the tour guide. George took us on a beautiful tour of the land called Ferindonald, the clan lands of Clan Munro. He arranged a meeting with the chief’s mother at Foulis Castle, seat of the clan and home to Chief Hector Munro and his family. Mrs. Timmie Munro took us on a lovely tour of the castle and grounds. I cannot describe the wonderful time my husband and I enjoyed on the first trip to the Scottish Highlands.

George remained the tour guide on two subsequent trips to Scotland that I took with cousins. We traveled from the east coast to west and from the most northern point on mainland Scotland to the south. Truthfully, I have been all over the country, but haven’t seen everything I wish to visit. Mayhap another trip is in the making.

Don’t Miss A Highland Emerald

A Highland Emerald is the third book in the award-winning Highland Treasures series. It tells the story of Aine MacLean and William Munro, and is the prequel to A Highland Pearl.

Aine MacLean is forced into an arranged marriage with Sir William, Chief of Clan Munro, yet her heart belongs to a handsome young warrior in her father’s guard. She must leave Durant Castle, the home of her birth on the Isle of Mull, and travel across Scotland in a perilous journey to her husband’s home on Cromarty Firth. William agrees to a year and day of handfasting, giving Aine an opportunity to accept him and his clan. He promises her the protection of Clan Munro, however, Aine experiences kidnapping, pirates, and almost loses her life in the River Moriston. She doubts the sincerity of William’s promises and decides to return to Durant Castle when the handfasting ends. William determines to win Aine’s heart. Will the brave knight triumph in his fight for the bonnie lass?

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Enjoy an Excerpt from A Highland Emerald

Isle of Mull

Scotland, 1486

My father sat in his usual chair in front of the crackling fire, staring at the flame with dim eyes and a fur robe wrapped around his broad shoulders, the deerhound curled at his feet.

“Where are you going, Aine?” he asked with his back turned toward the stone, spiral staircase where I stood. “Come, sit with me for awhile.”

I pushed the arisaid from my shoulders, letting it drop to the floor, then stepped over the wrap. Making my way to the stool where my mother’s embroidery frame stood, I took a seat and watched the flame.

Without turning his head, my father, Lachlan Og MacLean, eighth chief and fourth Laird of Durant Castle, asked, “Where are you going?”

“How did you ken ’twas I?” He never ceased to amaze me with his uncanny knowledge of events  around him although his eyes, so dimmed by injury, saw very little.

“I heard the rustle of your skirts.” He extended his hand for me, so I rose and hugged his neck.

He smiled, embracing my arms. “And I ken your scent, lass. ’Tis so like your mither’s. You use the same scented soap as she.”

“Aye, but from so far away and with the smell of burning wood and dog in your nostril’s?”

“Your odor is a different pleasantry among the usual burning wood and dog. It stands out in my memory as does the pleasant odor of your mither.” He smiled broadly, showing still straight, white teeth beneath a greying beard. I could almost feel his penetrating gaze upon me as in the days before his sight was taken in battle. He asked, “Where are you going this dreary night?”

“Here, Da. To sit beside you and talk of the feast on the morrow.”

“Don’t try to deceive me, lass. I heard the sound of your arisaid dropping to the floor. You are planning a tryst, I feel certain.” His dimmed gaze pierced through to the depths of my soul. “I could see the turn of your head toward him each time he spoke at the evening meal.” A line formed between his brows and a shadow darkened his face. “You are to marry the Munro.”

“I dinna love William Munro.” My voice began to rise, and I struggled to control the cry climbing from the depths of my heart. “I wanna marry him, Da. You promised I could wed for love, not convenience.” The cry emerged from my lips. I buried my head on his shoulder and sobbed.

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