Author’s Inspiration for The Laird of Blackloch
by Amy Rose Bennett
Answering the question, ‘What inspired me to write my latest release, The Laird of Blackloch?’ is actually a bit tricky as it wasn’t just one thing!
The Laird of Blackloch, the second title in my Highland Rogue Series and the first, The Master of Strathburn, were both born out of my fascination with Scotland—its magnificent countryside and intriguing history, particularly the years surrounding the second Jacobite Rebellion which began in 1745. When I was sixteen, I have a distinct memory of being captivated by the well-known tale of the Jacobite sympathizer, Flora MacDonald. By all accounts, this brave young woman helped Bonnie Prince Charlie—the pretender to the British throne—evade government troops and escape the Highlands after his Jacobite army was defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
The terrible aftermath of the Forty-Five—the British were determined to destroy Highland culture and the clan system to prevent the Scots from ever rebelling again—also gave rise to the backstories of the Jacobite heroes in both of my Highland Rogue books. Robert Grant, the Master of Strathburn and Alexander MacIvor, the Laird of Blackloch, are men who’ve lost everything following the Rebellion and their stories detail how they reclaim their lives after being exiled from their Highland homes. And of course, how they find true love along the way.
My new release, The Laird of Blackloch, was also partly inspired by the TV version of Game of Thrones! There’s one particular scene in a Season Three episode in which the viewer sees Brienne of Tarth locked up in a crumbling tower room in Harranhal Castle. The imagery really fired my imagination and Sarah Lambert, my kidnapped heroine in The Laird of Blackloch, sprang to life.
Sarah is actually an English heiress and at the beginning of my story, she’s betrothed to the villainous Malcolm Campbell, the Earl of Tay. Following the Battle of Culloden, Tay destroys everything that Alex MacIvor holds dear—his family and home, Blackloch Castle—in the name of the Crown. Nearly eleven years after Culloden, Sarah becomes the unwitting pawn in Alex’s kidnapping-revenge scheme to ruin Lord Tay. However, as the story progresses, I think it becomes clear that whilst Miss Sarah Lambert might appear to be an English rose, she’s no shrinking violet.
|The Battle of Culloden.|
Another source of inspiration for The Laird of Blackloch was an intriguing mystery involving a missing Jacobite treasure—a fortune in gold coins that would now be worth over ten million pounds. Rumor has it that in the dying days of the Rebellion, two French frigates delivered seven caskets of gold to Scotland to help Bonnie Prince Charlie’s cause. The gold may have been initially buried somewhere on the shores of Loch Arkaig. As the treasure has never been found, I thought it might be fun to make use of the legend; my homeless, wounded hero, Alex, stumbles across the gold, thus giving him the financial means to escape the Highlands and to ultimately enact his revenge on Lord Tay.
Much of the action in The Laird of Blackloch takes place in and around Loch Rannoch and the vast stretch of desolate moorland to its west, Rannoch Moor. The evocative setting certainly fed my muse and the moor, loch, and nearby Mount Schiehallion played key roles in the development of the plot. Whilst Blackloch Castle is my own invention, the island-bound keep Eilean Dubh where Sarah is held, was inspired in part by Eilean Nam Faoileag, a man-made crannog (or island) and tower folly in the middle of Loch Rannoch. The hamlet of Kinloch which is featured in my story, is based on the actual village Kinloch Rannoch at the eastern end of the loch. I also hope that I’ll be forgiven for using a wee bit of poetic licence in the telling of my tale as I’ve moved the historic dragoon barracks from the western end of Loch Rannoch near the village Bridge of Gaur (called Georgetown by the redcoat soldiers stationed there but also known as Braes of Rannoch during the eighteenth century) to the eastern end!
I really hope readers enjoy Alex and Sarah’s tumultuous journey to their happily-ever-after. I certainly enjoyed researching and writing it.
Amy Rose Bennett
Amy Rose Bennett has always wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. An avid reader with a particular love for historical romance, it seemed only natural to write stories in her favorite genre. She has a passion for creating emotion-packed—and sometimes a little racy—stories set in the Georgian and Regency periods. Of course, her strong-willed heroines and rakish heroes always find their happily ever after.
Amy is happily married to her own Alpha male hero, has two beautiful daughters, and a rather loopy Rhodesian Ridgeback. She has been a speech pathologist for many years but is currently devoting her time to her one other true calling—writing romance.
The Laird of Blackloch:
Book 2 in the Highland Rogue Series
Following the Battle of Culloden, Alexander MacIvor returns to his ancestral home, Blackloch Castle, only to find the Earl of Tay, chief of the rival Clan Campbell, has laid waste to everything he holds dear. In the face of such devastation, Alex seems doomed to live the life of a fugitive Jacobite ... until a stroke of good luck allows him to escape the Highlands and begin again.
Years later, styling himself as a wealthy Englishman, Alexander reclaims his forfeited estate, becoming the new Laird of Blackloch. But it’s not nearly enough to quench his thirst for vengeance. Hell-bent on destroying Lord Tay, he single-mindedly sets about driving his nemesis to bankruptcy. When he learns the earl intends to marry the very beautiful English heiress, Miss Sarah Lambert, thus escaping penury, he devises a devious plan: kidnap Miss Lambert and ransom her to hasten Tay’s ruin.
When Sarah Lambert learns Lord Tay is not the man she thought he was during a masquerade ball in Edinburgh, she is devastated. Reeling from her discovery, things go from bad to worse when a mysterious yet charming guest by the name of Alexander Black turns out to be a true devil in disguise. Abducted and whisked way into the wild Highlands by Black, Sarah is imprisoned in a remote, island-bound tower. Refusing to be a pawn in Black’s diabolical plan for revenge, she determines that somehow, some way, she will regain her freedom. If only she could unlock Black’s secrets ...
Living in such close quarters, Alexander quickly discovers the spirited Sarah is more than a match for him, and even the best laid plans can go awry when passion flares and the spark of love threatens to revive his long-dead heart. When the shadows of the past begin to gather, will Alexander and Sarah find their way forward ... or will the threatening darkness destroy them both?