Book Review, Enemies to Lovers, Historical, Romance, Scarred heroine, Scotland

Highland Conquest (Sons of Sinclair #1) by Heather McCollum


Cain Sinclair has a plan. In order to finally bring peace to his clan, he will wed the young female chief of their greatest enemy. Only problem: capturing her and forcing her back to Sinclair castle doesn’t exactly make her want to say yes. Ella Sutherland may be clever, passionate, and shockingly beautiful, but what she isn’t is willing.

Every attempt Cain makes to woo her seems to backfire on him. A gift? The kitten practically claws his eyes out. A competitive game of chess? Even when he wins, he loses. It seems the only time the two ever see eye to eye is when they’re heating up Cain’s bed. Still, the only thing Ella truly wants is the one thing he cannot offer her: freedom.

But when Cain discovers she’s been harboring a secret—one that could threaten both clans’ very existence—he’ll have to decide between peace for the Sinclairs or the woman who’s captured his heart.


Being the type of person where I prefer to read a book series in order, I picked up Highland Conquest to be prepared for the next book, Highland Warrior, which comes out next week. And I was so glad I did otherwise I would have missed out on the formidable and humorous Sinclair brother dynamics that are going to make this a great series.

Cain Sinclair wins every game he plays, but he’s met his match with the headstrong Ella Sutherland.

The Sinclair brothers (known as the fearsome four horsemen to their enemies) are on a mission to avenge their father’s death by the Sutherland Clan. Cain, the eldest, is given the duty to conquer and he plans to capture and wed the chief of the Sutherland clan, Ella Sutherland to take over her army and lands. But Ella has a different plan. To escape the overbearing chief of the Sinclairs and protect the secret she promised her mother on her death bed.

The chemistry is very high with Cain and Ella, but their stubbornness and sense of duty are always getting in the way. I love a strong heroine and Ella fits the bill. She is not afraid of Cain who is known for his deadly strategies in war. I laughed many times at her attempts to escape only to be thwarted by the very capable chief of the Sinclairs, but I give her points for giving it a try. There are also several LOL moments with the brothers teasing Cain about his wayward bride-to-be prisoner and bewilderment on how Cain is going to convince her to marry him in three weeks. It’s a game of wills that leads to a very hot union.  In addition to romance, there is a secret Ella holds that may ruin her growing affection for Cain and his family. Will all the trust they established be taken away?

The supporting characters in this story are essential to the story. The Sinclair family changes overnight when their father is killed in battle so watching them all come into their own with Cain as their leader is intriguing to watch. Ella’s advisor and close friend Kenneth also plays an important role in this story.

I recommend this historical Highland romance to those who love fierce warriors, fun family interactions, and an enemies-to-lovers theme.


Highland Conquest

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Heather McCollumHello! I’m a mom of three spirited kids, dog-mom of one rescued golden retriever, and a sugar glider-mom of a rescued marsupial. I love chai lattes, homemade hot chocolate, baked goods that I shouldn’t eat, dragonflies, and the British Baking Show. When I’m not running around being “Mom” or writing Scottish historical romance, I’m usually educating women about ovarian cancer. I’m a 9-year survivor and very fortunate to be alive to love my family.

My first publication was in my local, small town newspaper when I was in second grade. My Christmas story had the word “tiptoed” in it which amazed my teacher and sky-rocketed me to publication. But I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be a writer. After all there was baton twirling, hula dancing, comedy and all sorts of other careers vying for my attention.

My grandmother gave me my first romance novel when I was fourteen, The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. The heroine’s name is Heather and I fell in love with Captain Brandon Birmingham. I read it over and over and then began to devour all of Ms. Woodiwiss’s books. Not only did I fall in love with her stories, I fell in love with the romance genre. In a teenager’s world, where so many events seem like tragedies, whether they really are or not, romances guaranteed a happy ending. So I sat in our pre-Civil War Virginia farmhouse with my five rescued dogs and the ghosts (fodder for my ghost stories to come) and read.

Every essay I had to write in high school had a happy ending and a kiss. Most of my teachers advised me to major in English, including my chemistry teacher who still remembered the time I accidentally sparked a small fire in his room. So people were surprised when I flew off to a small college in Maine to major in Marine Biology. I was set on saving dolphins, snails, and ecosystems. Writing was too subjective, I said. With science, answers were right or wrong.

I met my Captain Brandon my second year up in Maine, a six-foot four-inch dark-haired Scot. After four years of being muddy, wet, and frozen while I tromped across mudflats with him, I earned my degree in Biology and headed to Grad school in the Southeast with my then fiancé. It didn’t take long before I realized that I liked working with people more than Petri dishes and I dropped out, found a job, and continued to read happy endings.

I married my Captain Brandon and settled down with two spunky Yorkshire Terriers. It was just before Christmas and we’d moved into a rental house. The front living room stood empty since we didn’t have enough furniture. So my DH set up a computer in the corner.

I sat down at that old computer . . . and began to type. Once the gates were opened I couldn’t stop. I continued to work, read romance, cuddle my dogs, and love my DH. But something had changed. I could sit before the screen and transport back in time to sweeping Scottish landscapes, and all the anxieties of the day would fade. 

Now twenty+ years later, I am fortunate to be able to write every day, creating adventures full of love and happily-ever-afters!

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