Review: Highland Shifter by Catherine Bybee

Highland Shifter by Catherine BybeeFormat read: ebook provided by the author
Formats available: Paperback, ebook, audiobook
Genre: Time travel romance
Series: MacCoinnich Time Travels #4
Length: 296 pages
Publisher: Self-published
Date Released: February 12, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Helen Adams has a knack for finding lost objects, but the Simon McAllister she finds isn’t what she expected. The missing California teen is now a grown man—a kilted, sword wielding, Highland warrior.
A mysterious Druid book and Helen’s sixth sense send her to Scotland in search of a missing boy. After being attacked by strange men dressed in medieval garb, a handsome, desirable hero answering to the boy’s name rescues her. No one is more surprised than she to find herself in sixteenth century Scotland. Unable to deny the reality of time travel, Helen discovers smoldering passion with a man destined to leave her.
Simon has lived his Druid life in two very different worlds, two vastly different times, and when Helen practically lands in his lap, he knows his life is about to change forever. There are enemies in California lying in wait for her, and an army in Scotland closing in on his family. Simon is the only person who can protect her. But when she learns his most guarded secret, will she still want him? Can Helen love a Highland Shifter?

My Review:

The time traveling Highlanders are back! More accurately I couldn’t resist the time-travel crack that this series represents and went back before the second trilogy was finished.

There’s probably a cliffhanger in my immediate future. I’ll suffer on womanfully when the time comes. But not just yet!

binding vows by catherine bybeeThe MacCoinnichs, besides having a nearly unspellable name, are a family of time-traveling Druids in the 16th century. We were introduced to them in the Vows trilogy; Binding Vows, Silent Vows, and Redeeming Vows and at the end, they had defeated the evil Druid Grainna who had traveled from the 21st century to the 16th. Along the way of the story the MacCoinnichs themselves had traveled back and forth in time more than once, and had not just brought a whole bunch of people back in time, but by doing so had created more than few missing persons cases for the 21st century cops.

Also along that way they had managed to enlighten a few people about who their ancestors really were and that well, “the truth is out there”. More like “back there” in time.

And just because Grainna was defeated, doesn’t mean that evil is permanently vanquished. There’s always someone else willing to be the next evil. Evil is just like that.

redeeming vows by catherine bybeeBut Highland Shifter begins as one of those missing persons cases. When Lizzy MacAllister and her son Simon choose to stay in the 16th century at the end of Redeeming Vows, they were “missing” as far as the 21st century was concerned. There’s not much attention paid to Lizzy’s case, but Simon was 14, and missing children are taken more seriously. More seriously than missing adults, anyway. Simon’s picture made it onto a few milk cartons, at least.

Only a couple of years in the 21st century after Simon’s disappearance, Helen Adams discovers a Celtic amulet in a second hand store and purchases it on a whim. It seems old but not terribly valuable. However, Helen has a “gift” that regularly leads her into finding rare and/or valuable treasures, and that gift is what led her into purchasing the amulet.

The amulet leads her to a book that shows her drawings of herself in 16th century Highland dress with the amulet around her neck, side-by-side with a kilted warrior. It also leads her to research about the disappearance of one teenaged boy named Simon MacAllister. Even though she’s certain that her “strong intuition” is sending her on a wild goose chase, she follows her hunch from California to the Scottish Highlands. A hike in the countryside sends her straight to the missing boy–except that he’s no longer a boy and Helen doesn’t find him in 21st century Scotland; time passed differently for him than it has in the future.

But it has become necessary for the MacCoinnichs to start time traveling again because evil has again arisen. It will require Druids from both the 16th and the 21st century working together to overcome it. Because just as with Grainna, the evildoer is not from the past, it is a person from the 21st century.

Highland Protector by Catherine BybeeEscape Rating B: This series is like crack. I say that in a good way. I get one and start and can’t stop. I’m in the middle of Highland Protector right now because I couldn’t stand not to start it instantly. I poured through the first three without stopping for a break. The whole series is a big YUM if you like time-travel romance. And with KILTS! Double-yum.

I love it that the MacCoinnich family is completely functional. There are so many series where everyone is has a fucked up home life and there is angst on both sides and both the hero and heroine are completely damaged people. Simon’s family is totally solid and they love and support each other whatever happens. It’s great to catch up with the couples from the first series, but in general, this is a family you would want to be related to or have a meal with.

One of the most interesting characters in Highland Shifter is the side-character Mrs. Dawson. She’s Helen’s surrogate mother. I wish there was a novella about her life with the late Mr. Dawson, because Mrs. Dawson is very special. It’s clear she’s a Druid, but she’s got one hell of a power that’s concealed. Or something. She opens her home to everyone, but she’s also this very clear pool of patience and kindness and yet, when called upon, actual magic oomph. There’s way more to her than meets the eye.

Helen wasn’t quite as much fun as some of the previous heroines in this series. There was something horrible in her past that kept being alluded to but wasn’t ever spelled out that kept her from being willing to give Simon half a chance, until she suddenly changed her mind (or gave in to his overwhelming hotness) all at once. On the other hand, in spite of her ability to find things, she never seems to have found out that her boss was a creep, or been willing to believe it even when presented with pretty incontrovertible evidence.

She was also a bit slow on the uptake about the extent of Simon’s powers, and he was equally slow about informing her. Not quite the way to develop a trusting relationship. However, the way his mother made sure Helen got informed was just plain rude. Effective, but rude.

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