The Crusader's Heart

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

A Scottish holy relic... an assignment from the king... a decision that she needs to make... 

The Crusader's Heart is a gorgeous tale of a woman who is on a mission for the king and her love for her father. It hums along with adventure and intrigue as well as a bit of romance to enhance the journey. I hope to see more from this author. 

**thanks to Wild Rose for the ARC to review***
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Isobel is on a special mission from the king to deliver a most sought after artifact to the new nunnery on Iona for safe keeping. She travels alone for part of the way fighting for her life in the process. She meets up with crusader Alexander MacKinnon in Stirling to complete the journey with his protection. Will love also flourish or will Isobel take her vows and become a nun at journey's end?
I enjoyed this story but got a bit bogged down at times in all the action. It will have a wide appeal as there is a lot of action and the characters are interesting.
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Isobel, an orphan taken in by the Scottish king, David, is tasked by the ailing king to deliver a holy relic to the isle of Iona.  Freshly returned crusader Alex MacKinnon is asked by the king to escort her safely there.  On their journey the two are met with various perils and challenges and eventually come to care for each other and grow together.  This was a fairly quick read, so the story didn't feel tedious or dragged out.  The ending was perhaps a bit anticlimactic, but it was still a solid story from this debut author.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher/author for the ARC! All opinions are my own.
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The Crusader’s Heart is the first Kate Forrest book for me.  It is extremely well-written, moves quickly and keeps your interest through the entire book.  King David is sending a precious relic with Isabella to Iona into the safe keeping of Bethoc at a nunnery.  Isabella has been told she may stay there and have their protection as David realizes his health is failing.  David send one of his best Crusaders to assist and protect Isabella on her journey.  The difficult part of this is Alex would have preferred to return home, but was willing to obey his king.  And, Alex does not know that Isabella has anything of importance with her.  He believes his assignment is to deliver Isabella herself.

The Bishop seems to be quite power hungry and greedy.  He sends another crusader, Robbie, to steal the relic from Isabella.  There is quite a confrontation between them over the relic which is when Alex learns of the relic.  By then he realized there is more going on that he at first knew.

I was expecting the relic to have more of a presence in the book.  Bethoc stated she was the only one who knew it’s exact location.  I have to wonder if it will make an appearance later in the series and have a more prominent part.  

Isabella is quite a strong and independent woman for the time period.  She had a small knife and used it when necessary.  She, also, has the heart of a caring woman sharing what is hers with others.  Alex, although a warrior, has his own kind streak which helps him in trusting the right people and making the decisions best for himself and his clan.

Ms. Forrest does a great job of bringing in the true, nature of the crusader’s heart as Alex begins to see the truth of Robbie.  The interweaving of these families creates romance with in romance.  The dedication of Alex and Isabella to deliver the relic to Bethoc, as well as, their growing relationship makes for an enjoyable afternoon read.  This seems to be the beginning the MacKinnons of Mull series and a great introduction to the turmoil evident of the time period.  I am looking forward to the next MacKinnon family adventure.
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The Crusader’s Heart has it all. The book is rich in medieval history (with a few licenses taken) with several stories going on at once but well executed. This is the first title I’ve read by Ms. Forrest but she’s set this up for the story to continue and I look forward to her next offering.

Isobel must be successful. King David has entrusted her and only her with this mission. Time is of the essence. She’ll meet the warrior and be off to Iona and the nunnery. Then she’ll decide what to do with the rest of her life. She can never return to court. Can she join the nunnery? Will it be enough?
Alex just wanted to return home. But his king summoned.  He was to escort the king’s adopted daughter to his homeland. His clan would suffer for his further delay since he would not be able to honor his potential betrothal. Too much time had passes since he left for the Crusades those many years ago. His father’s health was failing and he had no idea how bad things had gotten.
Thrown together on a perilous journey, Isobel must protect the relic and Alex must protect Isobel. Several powerful men want the relic and will do anything to get it. Is Alex enough to protect Isobel? Especially when he feels the sparks fly between them? What can he offer her? His clan is penniless and he’s got a neighboring Laird after his land.
King David knew what he was doing. Isobel must find her own way and if Alex helps  her choose it, so much the better. His enemies won’t stop and his health is failing. Isobel & Alex are his hope.  Will they succeed in their mission? Was he right in throwing them together?
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