In Jennifer Hudson Taylor’s romance novel, Highland Sanctuary, a heroine with a past filled with secrets and a hero slated to become a chieftain must fight through both physical and spiritual foes to maintain their love. Serena Boyd, the heroine of the novel, lives in a town filled with people plagued with various ailments that earns the place the title “Village of Outcasts.” Her comfortable world is rattled, however, when Gavin MacKenzie, heir to a respected clan, comes to stay at the nearby Castle of Braigh. MacKenzie’s visit is a result of the recent mysterious happenings surrounding both the castle and town. As the occurrences increase in both malice and danger, Gavin and Serena must discover the source of the evil that plagues the town before it overwhelms the inhabitants and destroys any chance for Gavin and Serena’s love.
But Serena holds a dangerous secret. Since birth, she has suffered from inexplicable seizures. These fits led to her own father casting Selena out, accusing his wife of bearing him a child who was demon possessed. In a time when witches were burned at the stake, Serena has spent her life hiding her terrible secret, only finding solace in the Village of Outcasts. Hope of a better life seems to come with the arrival of Gavin MacKenzie and the romance the two share, but Gavin’s hands are tied. He has an obligation. As heir to his family’s clan, Gavin holds the responsibility to find a respectable wife whose hand in marriage will strengthen his role of leadership. Selena, being a common woman of no title, does not fit the bill.
Serena, along with the other inhabitants of the Village of Outcasts, is weighted with a heavy burden. Yet, it is not the burden, but the way in which she handles it, that is truly remarkable. In the Garden of Gethsemane, moments before being arrested, Christ cried out to the Lord, “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Matthew 26:39). Similarly, rather than pleading for God to take away her problems, Serena asks Him to give her the strength to bear her own cross.
The use of exorcism, the accusation of demonic possession, and the presence of epileptic fits will make this a difficult story for younger audiences. I would recommend Highland Sanctuary to any adults who enjoy a story of Highland adventure, suspense, and love forged in adversity. – Lucinda Sweazey, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
A Sanctuary of Secrets . . .
Gavin MacKenzie, a chieftain heir who is hired to restore the ancient Castle of Braigh, discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world. Among them is Serena Boyd, a mysterious and comely lass, who captures Gavin's heart in spite of harboring a deadly past that could destroy her future.
The villagers happen to be keeping an intriguing secret as well, and when a fierce enemy launches an attack against them, greed leads to bitter betrayal. Then, as Gavin prepares a defense, the villagers unite in a bold act of faith, showing how God's love is more powerful than any human force on earth.