The Making of a Highlander: Midnight in Scotland, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Everyone wants handsome adventurer John Huxley to settle down - family, friends, London society. Everyone except John. He's evaded too many scheming title huntresses to trust in happily ever after. Now, a vow made to a dying friend has him locked in a land dispute with a stubborn Scot who offers one way out: Win the Highland Games. John likes a challenge, but this one's impossible. Still, with training from the Scot's stepdaughter, victory might be within reach. He only has to teach the fiery, foulmouthed, breeches-wearing lass how to land a lord. It seems "impossible" is just getting started.
Everyone calls her Mad Annie. True, her best friend is a ghost. And yes, her greatest talents involve cooking for giants and taunting ridiculously handsome Englishmen. But she's not mad - she's desperate. To save her friend, Annie must marry a lord. The trouble is no lord will look twice at a hoyden like her. This calls for "Lady Lessons", and she knows just the uptight Englishman to provide them.
When Annie's family is targeted by a dangerous enemy, John is tempted to stay, to fight, and to win the greatest prize of all: a fiery lass' tender, loyal heart.
Contains mature themes.
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|Listening Length||11 hours|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||November 24, 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #139,385 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#3,268 in Historical Romance (Audible Books & Originals)
#4,024 in Scottish Historical Romance (Books)
Top reviews from the United States
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Emotional Depth: 💔💔💔💔
Intimate Scene Length: 🍑🍑🍑🍑
Steam Scale (Number of Scenes): 🔥🔥🔥
Should I read in order?
Yes, and you should start with her Rescued From Ruin series. I picked this one up, and it was enjoyable, but there is character overlap from the previous series, and out hero in this book, John Huxley, has a number of sisters that are married in that series with their own stories. I found myself wishing I had started there.
John is fixing up his Scottish estate and locked in a property dispute with a stubborn Scot that refuses to budge. He challenges him to win the Highland Games and he’ll get what he wants. Annie agrees to train him if he will teach her to be a lady – she’s desperate to save her friend and marrying a lord is a necessity for her.
Give this a try if you want:
- 1825 Scotland setting (Glenscannadoo)
- Hero/heroine bargain – John will teach Annie to be a lady if she helps train him for the Highland Games
- A very light touch of paranormal
- Medium steam – 3 full scenes but they are lengthy and developed, also some fade to black/remembered so it may feel hotter to you
- I felt like this was a slow burn (could have just been my mood and interrupted reading of this book!)
- Hero loves first – he fights it a bit but once he decides it’s glorious
- Highlander heroine and English hero
- A bit of class difference feel
- Secret identity
- Hero is 34 and heroine is 24
This book! I ended up LOVING it. I really struggled in the beginning. Life and just lots of interruptions I think really slowed the down the start for me. I kept putting it down and picking it up repeatedly. It felt a bit like the beginning was dragging for me and I kept moving on to other things instead. I started in January 29th and just finished so it took me over a month...
Well shame on me.
Because when I sat down and gave it an honest chance I just fell more and more in love with it. Few books really bring it the second half for me. If I am not sold on a book by 40% or so it usually doesn’t happen. But it did here.
I loved John as a hero. He was a bit standoffish at first – and you learn about why and his hurt later in the book. But I ended up enjoying how protective he was of Annie. He takes care of people – you can tell with his family and how much they love him and he shows it here – even before he has ties to Annie he repeatedly goes out of his way to do the right and good thing. I was worried at first we would have another hero that spent the book refusing to marry because of his past, but thankfully it took a complete 180 from that.
Annie was so unique. I really liked her spunk and her fearlessness. Despite being judged and bullied, she has such a big heart and cares for those around her. She still has her humor and her spark.
I just really loved them together! This was one of those romances that I felt the love – so many I don’t really feel that. I believed their love, I am convinced as I close the book they go vibrantly into their HEA. I love when a story paints a clear picture of that for me.
I love how much food and cooking was mentioned in this one. I loved that Annie showed her love through food and the men she cooked for mentioned it many times. Even if a fit of jealousy, John wonders who’s she’s going to make bread and gravy for.
As far as the paranormal aspect goes – well I’ll admit it was a little weird at first. But towards the ending I actually quite loved this part of the book.
... and what a wonderful love story it was. The romance between John and Annie was perfectly plotted. It was lighter on the angst with no indecisive dithering from either party. The author also forgoes bleak backstories and horrible parentage and writes about two adults who are well-loved and supported by their families. At the same time, Annie is deemed "mad" by some in her village, but the support of her family is evident in her sass and tenaciousness. While John is reluctant to love after being hurt in the past, he's still optimistic that he can attain a marriage that mimics his happily married parents and siblings. Annie's family was most prominently featured throughout and I enjoyed the crazy interactions between them all, as well as some of the more poignant moments.
In the end, I loved almost everything about this story. Annie was one of the most delightful heroines that I've read in a historical and John was a lovely hero all around. Their romance was beyond swoony and the tension was fantastic. The suspenseful moments were also very well done with a nice lead-in to the next book featuring Annie's brother, Broderick. Definitely, a top favorite historical read.
Top reviews from other countries
After bidding a reluctant farewell to Elisa Braden’s beloved Rescued from Ruin series, The Making of a Highlander is the first in Elisa’s highly awaited Midnight in Scotland series.
John Huxley has spent his life following adventure, despite his family’s pleas for him to find a nice girl and settle down. His travels eventually land him in the highlands of Scotland, bound by a promise to a dying friend. Now he is stuck here over a land dispute with his disagreeable neighbour and the only way out is if he can win a seemingly impossible challenge – win the Highland games. John definitely needs help.
Annie Tulloch has spent the last year teasing and taunting the handsome and stubborn Englishman who will not take the easy way out and just sell his land to her stepfather. When he accepts her Da’s wager she see an opportunity to strike a bargain. Annie has her own reasons for needing to marry a Lord. She will train John for the games and he will teach her how to be a refined Lady.
I was absolutely enchanted by this story. Elisa is one of my very favourite authors and she doesn’t put a foot wrong here.
I adored John. He was the perfect gentleman. Strong, honourable, passionate and tender but absolutely ferocious in his need to protect and care for Annie. He has faced disappointments and trauma in his youth which is why it takes him a while to realise his feelings for Annie. But when he does – wow!
Annie is incomparable. A true highland lass, she is the perfect blend of sweet and sassy. Growing up among five strapping men with no female influences she was certainly a little rough around the edges at first but she made a natural transition into her femininity – and John did not know what hit him! I liked that Elisa did not give her a complete character transition as sometimes happens in these types of stories. She was constant throughout. She is so sweet, fiercely loyal and tireless in her love for those she cares for.
As with all of Elisa’s stories, there are some beautifully well rounded secondary characters in this. From Annie’s gruff Da Angus, her strapping and protective brothers, the lovely Mrs Baird and the wonderfully eccentric Mrs MacBean. What a delight she is! Although no one can replace the unparalleled Dowager Marchioness of Wallingham, Mrs MacBean certainly provides entertainment! And Finlay just melted my heart and adds a touch of the mystical. We even get a little fix of the beloved Huxley clan again.
The story has all the elements you can hope for in a novel. It is deeply emotional in parts – John’s revelation about his past trauma is surprisingly affecting, the teasing Annie bore all her life and my heart just ached for Broderick and what he went through. The humour is at times subtle and often downright laugh out loud. [Mrs MacBean and her talks of John Brodie and his caber – actually any of Mrs MacBean’s memories!] And of course, there is plenty of passion.
Elisa is just a very, very clever writer and I am so glad I stumbled upon her with her very first book The Madness of Viscount Atherbourne. She really brought the Scottish Highlands to life and has introduced a wonderful set of new characters. I can’t wait to follow their stories.
I was gifted an ARC for my honest opinion but I have ordered my own copy.
Just a wee note to say that I received an advance copy of the book but my review above reflects my own opinions.
If you have read Elisa’s previous series you would know to expect that John Huxley, future Earl of Berne, would feature in a brand new series set in Scotland. This book was very different from those in the Rescued from Ruined series. Every bit as brilliant, the plot contained something extra: magic and mystery. Wonderfully crafted Scottish characters who perplexed John Huxley, especially Annie Tulloch. This amazingly determined girl proved that she deserved her own true love - although he had to be persuaded this was a fact. The repartee between them had me in stitches at times and more humour is provided through the character of Annie’s friend, the aged Mrs Macbean. I am so glad that we shall see more of her in future books!
Annie is able - she has to be, living in a house with five big, loud Scotsmen - loyal and full of fire. John is still what you might expect of an English gentleman in the 1820’s. But they bring out the best in each other and their growing friendship brings out the best in each of them. Even if Annie has to work really hard to get John share his knowledge and help turn her into a lady, while she in turn helps him develop skills to participate in the local Highland games and win some land from Annie’s stepfather.
Now, what extra does The Making of a Highlander have? Magic. This is woven beautifully into the plot so that it is entirely believable. The appearance and disappearance of little Finlay had me spellbound. What a wonderful touch. What a wonderful magical book!