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Monday, February 28, 2011

High on a Mountain Book Review and Giveaway!

Author Tommie Lyn writes historicals with heart. She sent me a copy of her newest release, High on a Mountain, to review, and it was a pleasure to do so on many levels.

You can read the Prologue and Chapters One-Three from Tommie's website, but here's the backcover blurb:

As a boy, Ailean MacLachlainn dreamed of living an adventurous life and longed to be a celebrated warrior of his clan. Until a shy smile and a glance from Mùirne's blue eyes turned his head and escalated his rivalry with Latharn into enmity and open conflict. 

When Ailean became a man, his boyhood dreams faded. Until Bonnie Prince Charlie came to reclaim his father's throne. The Jacobite loyalties of Ailean's clan chief involved the MacLachlainns in the uprising and set Ailean on a course toward a destiny of which he could never have dreamed. 

What happens when a man's dreams turn to dust? And when a man loses everything, does he have what it takes to go on?

So, as my last name might imply, my husband's heritage is very Scottish. Unfortunately for me, Campbells aren't exactly known for being the nicest people in history. (In fact, my husband visited Scotland and was turned away from several villages just because his last name is Campbell. The people still hold a grudge, but it's little wonder.) Tommie has clearly done a lot of research into the feuds and fights, especially of certain battles.

So I open up her Prologue, which is available to read on her webpage, and it's all about us nasty "Cambeuls." (And nasty we were. Geez.) At this point, I closed the book, looked over to my husband, and said, "I believe I know why Tommie wants me to review this book." HA!

But the further I read, the more engrossed I became in Tommie's great story. I realized that her main guy, Ailean, (pronounced A-lun, according to the Scottish Gaelic pronunciation guide at the front of the book), is one psychologically tormented guy. It was fascinating to read--and heartbreaking. It's hard to imagine all this bad stuff happening to one guy, but as her backcover blurb reads, Ailean's dreams do turn to dust and he does lose everything. And I mean everything. (Think 18th century Job.)

And he is way traumatized from it. He suffers PTSD in a very severe form. Tommie portrays the flashbacks accurately and feasibly, and they definitely interfere with Ailean's daily functioning. He avoids things that remind him of his loss. He wishes death upon himself to ease his awesome misery. He was almost instantly stripped of everything that he had previously defined himself as: son, brother, husband, father, freeman, and even his beloved Scotland. He's angry at God, of course, because he feels forsaken and from the looks of things, he has been. He can't move on because he's held captive by his traumatic past and encompassing grief.

The villain is a Cambeul (go figure). And he's a wicked, wicked man. He's got a problem with anger management for sure, and develops a propensity toward alcoholism (actually, it's more than a's full blown alcohol dependence). He has a great backstory, which sets up his life direction well, and Tommie even made me feel sorry for this horrible man once or twice.

This book had a satisfying ending and is ultimately about Ailean coming to understand that life might look more beautiful from the mountaintop, but he lives down in the glen. However, if one trusts God's direction, the glen can be beautiful as well.

To be entered in this book giveaway, you need to do 3 three things:

1) Be a follower of this blog.
2) Live in the lower 48 states.
3) Leave a comment below about why modern-day Campbells aren't so terrible (any positive about any Campbell will do) and your email in a spam-me-not format in the comment section below.

I would say that the best Campbell-positive comment will win the book, but I'll use a random generator. :)

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Anonymous said...

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Great author. Can't wait for the sequel's release. Truly a delightful, talented person.

Kyle Watson or kdawgs34 said...

My favorite movie is Braveheart. Several years ago my mom did some genealogy research and our family leads back to King Robert The Bruce. Naturally I should enter the giveaway and enjoy the enjoy. Not surprised Tommie has written a great book.

Kyle Watson or kdawgs34 said...

I didn't hit edit button above. I meant to write. Enjoy the book. Not enjoy the enjoy.

Kathryn Lang said...

I enjoy a good jaunt through the Highlands and would enjoy Tommie's book.

As for the Campbells - well, my son's Godfather is a Campbell and he is one of the strongest men with the biggest heart and the most interity of people that I have known in my life. So, yall aren't so bad after all. ;)

Julia M. Reffner said...

Well, Campbell's soups are one of the most useful pantry items ever. I could site a few kind Campbells I know. This sounds great.


karenk said...

a great review...
re: campbells...soup comes to my mind...and i can't imagine eating a grilled cheese sandwich w/o a bowl of campbell's tomato soup.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Glory Fink said...

I looked up the origin of the surname Campbell and it said that in Gaelic it means "wry mouth". In my book that translates to "smarty pants" and we need smarty pants since they are often the only ones wise/foolish enough to point out that the emperor is indeed prancing around in his birthday suit.

glory.fink at gmail

Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

I count Tommie as a good friend, and know her adherence to detail and diligent research. Her story telling takes these pieces and weaves a masterful story. Good job, Tommie!

As to the Campbell's, only God can judge who is truly good or bad - he sees into the heart and knows the truth. We only see the outside...

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.