Cindy Vallar

Author, Columnist, & Editor
P. O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425

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Reviews of The Scottish Thistle

Published Reviews
Reviews from Readers

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Published Reviews

Cindy Vallar . . . definitely takes her readers there with her wonderful descriptions of the country, in addition to the well-researched historical aspects.  Readers will learn about the politics and wartime in this country filled with various clans.  It does become tense at times with the battle scenes. 
Some readers may struggle with the dialect used in the book, but most will “take it on” which is part of what makes this piece of fiction feel so authentic. This helps to make the characters come alive. Readers who want a book to take them to another place and time will certainly enjoy Ms. Vallar’s book of historical fiction with a love story within its pages. -- Joyce M. Gilmer, Military Writers Society of America

LipLipLipLipHalf LipsCindy Vallar delivers a fascinating historical tale of the time period of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Battle of Culloden Moor, with historical characters rewritten into realistic individuals any of us might meet (under different circumstances of course). Rory’s strength and independence and Duncan’s allegiance are highly compelling; and the backdrop of history, including the views on witchcraft and witch-hunting, are intriguing. The story is fast-paced, and although lengthy, keeps the reader’s attention. The Scottish Thistle is a worthwhile reader for lovers of this historical period, and readers in search of great characters and a rapid, exciting plot. – Frost, TwoLipsReview.com
 
4 Hearts  RatingThe Scottish Thistle is a very detailed story of war between clans and a king who was dethroned. The love story between Rory and Duncan was beautifully told by Ms. Vallar; however, the book is more about history and war than about the love between two people. The love story between the main characters was enhanced by the secondary characters involved in their lives. This part of the story was beautiful—one of the best I have read. Their relationship showed the true meaning of love. They were acutely aware of each other’s pain and felt problems even though they were far apart. -- Brenda Talley, The Romance Studio

The Scottish Thistle is full of one exciting scene after another. Rory and Duncan go through some harrowing times you can't help but cheer them through. Emotions run extremely high, as their lives are far from easy. Love, trust, honor and death are all part of The Scottish Thistle. With a well-developed plot, wonderful secondary characters, you cannot help to fall into their world.  -- Klarissa, JoyfullyReviewed.com

Though this extraordinary debut novel is best labeled historical fiction, it contains a strong romantic element and a touch of the fey. So truly do Rory and Duncan come alive, that to identify with them is to imagine being witness oneself to a piece of history. The Scottish Thistle is a book to savor, one that cannot or should not be read in one sitting. It's too rich, too vivid, too moving to be gulped down. I found Rory's character the most complex; she can amuse one moment, exasperate the next, but never, ever bore. That's not to say that Duncan is simple; he's tough and tender, proud, brave, and loyal, but his integrity is so complete he seems all of a piece. Brutality and villainy are there, but so are marvelous characters, warm human emotions, family love and loyalty, and passion. The Scottish Thistle is sure to please readers of all sorts: those who want to laugh and cry, and those who enjoy well-researched history presented with verve. -- Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today

A deftly written historical novel.  The Scottish Thistle is a powerful and highly recommended novel of strength and survival, conflicted love and compelling duty, spotlighting the intricacy of Scottish war and politics. -- Midwest Book Review, October 2002

StarStarStarStarStarHaving never been to Scotland, I was impressed by Vallar's vivid setting descriptions and the bloody battle scenes. Emotions took on the color and characteristics of the people in the story. The historical facts blended with the fictional people kept me interested from the first page to the very end. I hated to put this book down. I was interested in knowing the fate of not only Rory and Duncan, but the rest of the characters that became so familiar to me. In the future, I hope to see more of Cindy Vallar's efforts, as her stories satisfy a need for adventurous tales of proud and honor-bound Scots. -- Michelle Angelini, Inscriptions

Cindy Vallar's story brings into perspective a wide swath cut through Scotland during these years of rebellion, and the many reasons leading to the strife. It is a precious and poignant view of what the clans in the Highlands went through, and brings an understanding of the spirit behind the drive for freedom from English rule. Through Rory and Duncan's story, you get an intimate, exciting, and riveting review of events. The passion of two people, not only for each other, but for their clans and country as well, gives this book an unparalleled depth of emotion on many levels. The Scottish Thistle is an epic Romance, an exceptional Adventure, and a Historic masterpiece. This book gets very high marks in the telling of the tale and in revealing the passions of the times. If you want a 'sexy novel,' do not look here, but if you want an all-around passionate story...this is definitely for you.  Rosemarie Brungard, Romance at Heart

A fascinating voyage back in time. It is a well-written tale. Cindy Vallar most certainly spent a long time researching this book, and it shows in the telling of day-to-day life and in the dialogue and dialect. I highly recommend this intricate and wonderfully detailed story. As I read it, I was transported back in time to the misty Highlands! -- Jennifer Macaire, Ebookreviews.net

A novel so rich in historical content that you feel as though you lived in the period surrounding the infamous battle of Culloden. Even the often overlooked language was fully integrated into The Scottish Thistle. If you are looking for a novel to play upon your emotions and transport you to another time, this is it. -- Jaye Berry, The Word on Romance

RoseRoseRoseRose  The Scottish Thistle vibrantly captures the Scotland of the 1740's. It breathes life into Scottish culture and history. It is a historical with a romantic element...it deals with the harsh subject of war. I quite enjoyed it and learned a lot in the process.  Marlene Breakfield, Escape to Romance

The Scottish Thistle is an extensively and richly researched novel. The richness of the language and customs of the Highlands comes alive under the talent of Ms. Vallar, who not only understands the ways of the Highlanders, but has also successfully managed to capture their soul and translate it into a beautiful, adventurous and exciting tale of battle, magic, faith and loyalty. -- Denise Clark, The Road to Romance

I actually had to THINK at some points! If you're a big fan of historical accuracy, this one will definitely be an enjoyable read! A good sparking chemistry between the characters. -- Deb Moores, Historical Romance Writers

StarStarStarStarStarSet in the harsh, rugged, breathtaking grandeur of Scotland, this historical novel of tragedy, brutality, bravery, love, and hope will remain with you for a very long time. Reading this enthralling story makes the reader want to know more about this fascinating country and era. It is a must read for any lover of historical fiction. -- Kathleen Culligan Techler, Romancing the Web

Realistic, even gritty at times, author Cindy Vallar creates a mood and a time that has captured romance readers for years. The Scottish Thistle is a powerful book that takes great pains to capture the emotions of this time in Scottish history. Rory and Duncan are honest portrayals of a woman and a man torn by idealism and love. If you're a lover of the dark torments that ravaged the Scottish people...and the darker torments of passion, you'll love this book! -- Joyce Lavene, Lagniappe Book Reviews

StarStarStarStarStarA rich historical romance to read and savor the details of a memorable relationship in the wilds of the Scottish Highlands.  The Scottish Thistle sets a fine blend between history and fiction.  Rory and Duncan are finely drawn, appealing characters who act convincingly and they are supported by a cast of other memorable figures.  I look forward to reading other works by Cindy Vallar. -- Marnie Holmes, Romance Novel Reviews

This is a full-blooded historical novel.  More succinctly told than Diana Gabaldon with more sympathetic and believable characters, fans of Nigel Tranter will enjoy this one along with anybody who likes a Highland romance.  Highly recommended! -- Rachel Hyde, Myshelf.com

StarStarStarStarThis is an entrancing tale of love, honor and trust.  Cindy Vallar has created characters as vivid as the time and place they inhabit.  This is a must read for all lovers of Scottish historicals. -- Romantic Times, July 2001

RatingRatingRatingRatingThere is no doubt Ms. Vallar spent painstaking hours on her research for this novel. Don't expect to read this book quickly--it just is not possible. The rich Scottish brogue, heartfelt characters, and historically accurate setting draw the reader into Scotland during the 1700's. A vivid historical with romantic elements. Readers will be well pleased with this story. -- Tracy Farmsworth, The Romance Reader's Connection

Coffee CupCoffee CupCoffee CupCindy writes a great piece of historical fiction with a touch of romance thrown in for good measure! Her sense of history is remarkable. During the story you feel as if you are right there with the characters, experiencing everything they are. Now that's a story worth reading. -- Lisa, Book Review Cafe

Cindy Vallar's gift for artful, picturesque description of place puts the reader squarely and realistically in the story's time period.  It is rare to find a book that so astutely combines romance with the realism and subjective sense of the chosen historical time and events.  It is just as rare to find an author with the skill to accomplish this. --  Sandra Simon, PromoPreview

Rich in historic detail and passionate in characterization, The Scottish Thistle recreates a tumultuous and dangerous time in the history of Scotland.  Cindy Vallar has a remarkable understanding of the blend of paganism and Christianity during this period.  Weaving superstition and visionary gifts into this remarkable tale, Vallar captures the true flavor of these historical personages in this remarkable tale.  The battle of wills between the hero and heroine provide a vivid love story balanced by the realistic battle scenes and heart-rendering loss.  Very highly recommended. -- Cindy Penn, wordweaving.com

The Scottish Thistle presents a captivating--true to life--tale of mid-18th century Scotland.  Without bogging down the romantic plotline of the book, historical facts and correct, but not overwhelming “Scottishisms,” intertwine to present an interesting story.  The inclusion of fairies, superstititions, and trickery heightens the readers’ awareness of the time period.  A book I can easily recommend to anyone who yearns for an authentic Scottish read. -- Christina Laska, Sime~Gen Historical Reviews

The Scottish Thistle features a wealth of actual historic detail, a colorful setting, and characters that genuinely care for each other. -- The Historical Novels Review, August 2002

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Reviews from Readers

I just finished reading The Scottish Thistle. I loved it. It's one of the best books I've read in a long time. The love story was sweet and the historical aspects very interesting. Two thumbs up! – Jeanne Bowen

I found the story and your descriptions of the countryside and peopl spellbinding. I especially appreciated your descriptions of the characters' thought and emotions. The love scenes were complex and touching with resorting to pornographic descriptions. Thank you for that. I enjoyed the postscript that clarified historical details. My "romantic heart" as joyous that Duncan and Rory and kin escaped the continuing persecution in Scotland to begin anew in Maryland. -- Peggy Dean

I just wanted you to know that I read your Scottish Thistle. It's a jewel. A beautiful story of love, war, and hardship set in the highlands of Scotland. If the stars were aligned properly, it would become a classic. The research you did for it must have been enormous. But did I like it? You guess. I hope to see a sequel on this side of the pond. – Dennis Berry


Thank you for your amazing novel . . . the story drew me so quickly into the dramatic life of Thistle, and I could not put it down!  It is a fantastic story, so beautifully written, and the dialogue between the characters is so real that you can well image being present in their midst. The best I have ever come across. Your knowledge of the history of the 1700s is incredible, and the manner in which  you introduce so many of the historical characters into your story and make them live again is absolutely enthralling. You are an incredibly good author who writes so vividly, and you have such a knowledge of your subjects and the geography and history of the land, including surprisingly enough the Gaelic language! Congratulations for a great story so beautifully and excitingly told. You are now my favourite author! – The Rt. Rev. Mgr. Thomas Wynne, St. Margaret's Church, Scotland


. . . upon finishing The Scottish Thistle, I started another book, set in Scotland. I found myself longing for a book more like The Scottish Thistle. Your inclusion of Scots language and accurate historical context made the book very compelling. -- Bill Vance


A veritable journey into its history. At a first glance, it looks like a romance, but it isn't so. It is the historic bit which engrossed me. For all those history lovers, it is a book worth picking up. –

This book takes a different turn by putting a woman at the head of a Scottish clan, something I quite enjoyed. The author does a nice job of blending a romance amid a time where turmoil is abound. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good romance with some action thrown in, and history to back it up. – Tracee, Review from Here

You really slip into the story and find yourself getting to know Rory and Duncan from the start. There is a familiar Romeo and Juliet kinda feeling to this novel, but it’s not clichéd or overly dramatic. I loved how Rory was fiercely independent and ready and willing to do whatever it took to help her people! She is such a strong character and was well written by Vallar. I loved the book from start to finish. Even the dialect didn't keep me from enjoying myself. My Rating: 4/5 – Melissa Caldwell, Must Read Faster

If you enjoyed Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, you will surely love The Scottish Thistle. It combines political intrigue, Scottish history, and a powerful love story. While the details of the love story of Rory MacGregor and Duncan Cameron are different from those of Diana Gabaldon's Claire and Jamie, you will find yourself equally admiring of their courage and will and rooting for their survival. I thoroughly enjoyed The Scottish Thistle and recommend it highly! – Gaby Lapus, Starting Fresh

What is really amazing about this book is the amount of research embodied within the story from the constant fighting and superstitions of the people to the details within the home.  You put a story into history, which you’ve got me believing just may have happened!  I felt like I could your book as a reference.  Of course, Thistle’s Scotland: A Companion Guide to The Scottish Thistle lays it all out for you, so it’s really good to read before the story to get a better understanding of the background of the political and social conflicts of the day. – Julie R.

I loved it!  Missed the characters when finished.  I also simply enjoy your writing and admire your research depth.  Looking forward to your next book. – Bobbie H., Texas

I have just finished reading The Scottish Thistle, and I had to write to you. Thank you for a WONDERFUL story and many pleasurable hours of reading a good book! It touched me in a very special way, as my family is from the Clan Cameron! Your book thrilled me, first because you write very well, but also because of the connection with the Clan Cameron. Thank you for the love story of Rory and Duncan. I loved every page of it! – Lois Clark-Tandy

I stumbled on to this book by accident but what a TREASURE! Fans of Diana Gabaldon's Jamie Fraser will love Rory and Duncan. I read until 2am to finish the story. Didn't want it to end. If you enjoy historical fiction set in Scotland this book is a MUST!!! 5 STARS!!!! Can hardly wait for the next book from Cindy Vallar. – Susan Ruesch, California

Just wanted to thank you for a most enjoyable book. I so enjoyed it I could hardly put it down. – Dee

5 Stars -- The Scottish Thistle started out really good, made me heartsick in the middle and ended on a joyful note. Overall, it was a delightful book. Duncan and Rory were perfectly matched. I would love to see a sequel of the new adventures. – Sandra Knapp, Washington

Your book was a most excellent read. Your knowledge of Scottish history stands out most prominently. Rory and Duncan are excellent characters. I thoroughly enjoyed all their encounters both at the beginning and the end, and whilst he was in battle! The little twists in the plot at the end are neat. -- Paula Alty, England

I just finished reading The Scottish Thistle and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you again for letting me share a bit of Scotland with you and Thistle. -- Jeane Wallace Whittenburg of Oklahoma

I enjoyed reading your book, The Scottish Thistle, and I am in awe of your ability. Your vocabulary really impressed me and the whole story was very well written. I thought the words you used that seemed to be Scottish were unusually good. I think you are unusually smart to have been able to write such an intriguing tale. -- Luella Bradley, my English  and Composition teacher

From page one . . . the reader is thrown into heart-thumping action . . . . The Scottish Thistle is a brilliant historical epic of a tumultuous time in Scottish history . . . . Step by step, Cindy Vallar takes us on a journey through the Scottish Highlands, to the lowlands, and all the way to England, immersing us in the language, the culture, the customs, and the magnificent surroundings of these powerful people. Drawn in by her exquisit historical detail and heart-warming characterizations, we become a part of the events surrounding the Stuart uprising seen through the eyes of Rory and Duncan, two unlikely lovers who find themselves at first thrown together against their will, and then torn apart by war in a world where duty and honor prevail. -- MaryLu Tyndall, author of The Redemption

I am very pleased to see a new historical novel involving Clan Cameron and its Chief, the 'Gentle Lochiel,' in the period of the '45 following the spirit of the Jacobite novels of an earlier woman writer, D. K. Broster. The characters of The Scottish Thistle are its strength and they speak in a blend of Scots and English with occasional Gaelic words to give some of the romance of Scotland.  Indeed it seems to me the script is there for ready adaptation to a film or TV serial. The rendering of the historical events of the 'Forty-five, especially Culloden and the way Lord Murray's advice had been ignored thus leading to defeat, is effective.  I do not know how an American author chose to write on a Scottish historical theme in such a Scots way and I warmly congratulate Cindy Vallar. -- David Roderick Cameron, President, Clan Cameron Association, Scotland

The book was awesome.  Rory is the type of woman that should marry a Cameron, one that can beat the [heck] out of him when he acts up, like Cameron men do. --  Dana Cameron, Maryland

I have just finished reading The Scottish Thistle, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I waited a long time to acquire it, but the wait was certainly worthwhile. -- Mairi

I couldn't put it down (much to the chagrin of my son). It truly is awesome and I loved your characters. I would love to read more of your works. -- Heather Smith, Texas

I enjoyed The Scottish Thistle very much.  It was well done and you deserve a lot of credit for giving us such a good book.  I am a descendant of Clan MacGregor so your narrative was especially meaningful to me.  Write another one! -- Charles Norville, Virginia

I loved your book! Couldn't put it down. -- Jody Drake, Kansas

I just loved reading The Scottish Thistle and absolutely loved it!!  I'm really hoping that you'll be writing a sequel.  I really want to know how Rory and Duncan fare in Maryland. -- N. Dianne Gadbois, Japan

I loved The Scottish Thistle and gave it to a friend, who loved it so much that I had to get a copy for her.  Please write more Scottish stories. -- Cheri Mitchell

I must tell you how very much I loved your story.  Your story is absolutely a fantastic story, defiantly a book that is a keeper.  Thank you for writing a book that kept me on my toes.  For I was in heaven reading this story.  You really are a wonderful storyteller. -- Debi Allen, California

You did such a remarkable job of fleshing out your story with such an authentic sense of the time and place, cramming it full of historical minutia that I found myself totally absorbed in Rory and Duncan's quest. Your ending was a perfect way to finish the tale or to leave your audience wondering what new challenges lay ahead for this valiant couple. -- Joan Urbas, Maryland

I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The plot of the novel becomes more intense as the story progresses.  I now feel as if Rory and Duncan were real acquaintances, of whom I am quite fond.  Your book should be read by all those who have the opportunity, to uplift our conscience of some of society's woes and to increase our appreciation of other individuals or other clans and cultures. -- Armand G. Robichaud, Canada

I finished your book in record time!  I couldn't put it down!  It was an awesome book!  I loved it!  I think your book should be made into a movie!  Wow!  Cindy!  I was impressed by your book before I read it but now that I have read it words can't describe how impressed I am!  This book should be on the best sellers list!  Wow!  You are an awesome writer! -- Kelly Brittain, Maryland

I underlined what I think is the most beautiful sentence in The Scottish Thistle.

Stray tendrils of orange vermillion lanced pewter clouds gathering overhead. (p 75)
That paints a beautiful picture in 10 brief words that the mind can see vividly. Many of your descriptions are beautifully done - even though the scene can't necessarily be classified under "beautiful." I am so proud of you and what you have done. -- Sara M. Aker, my mom

The book was great, couldn't put it down, then my daughter read it and loved it also.  Thanks for such a great book. -- Pam Gerling, Missouri

It was so good, had a very hard time putting it down until long past my bedtime.  I am a speed reader, but with Thistle, I slowed down to savor and enjoy each and every word.  You are a terrific writer, the characters are human, the dialog is real, can't wait until you have another book out.  I will be very proud to recommend your book to my friends and family members. -- Leweise Pittman, Texas

I truly enjoyed your book.  In fact, I couldn't put it down.  Your characters are compelling and fully fleshed out...real.  I didn't want the book to end and hope that there is another coming featuring 'the rest of the story!'  -- A.T., Oklahoma

Thank you so much for writing this book.  I love to read historical romances with lots of real stories in them.  Yours was the best I have ever read.  I love a book, that when you finish it, you feel like you were really there.  -- Lisa Hutchinson

Wow!! What a great read! I am a hugh fan of Diana Gabaldon and now...YOU!! Thank you for taking me back to the place I love--the Highlands of Scotland--what a wonderful story! -- Barbara Rose

What a wonderful book! Exceptional. I was striding across Scotland with Rory and Duncan, the wind in my face and hope in my heart. What a beautiful ending, Cindy, so fitting and uplifting. I stand in awe of your research. Incredible.  -- Glenice Whitting, Australia

A heart-touching and well-crafted love story. Clearly well researched, the novel successfully conveys not only the history, but also brings alive the many rituals and beliefs of the Highland clans. Strong characterisation abounds. Fictional characters and actual historical characters become living and breathing identities through Ms. Vallar's confident storytelling. Gifted in conveying the Scottish voice and way of 'being.' A story that will move the hearts of readers and be enjoyed by all lovers of Scottish history. -- Wendy J. Dunn, Australia, author of Dear Heart, How Like You This?

I LOVE your book. It was wonderful and I love that I could come online to see some of the places you wrote about. You really are a great writer. I felt I was there doing all of it. I cried for Duncan and what he saw and felt, and felt for Rory during her troubles. And laughed at times, so for me that's the best kind of book. Thank you for being able to do that for me. -- Wendy Keel

Evocative descriptions of life in the Highlands coupled with a pacy plot and engaging characters make this an entertaining read.  Fans of the Scottish Historical will love this one.  You can almost smell the heather. -- Elizabeth Chadwick, author of The Champion

A heart-gripping epic of honor, war, and forbidden love.  A tremendous tale of passion that you'll never forget.  I laughed, cried, and was swept away.  Cindy Vallar is a talented author who will touch your heart. -- Diana Cosby, Romance Novelist
A glorious and grand story that will sweep you up and carry you away to the intriguing Scotland of Bonnie Prince Charlie.  Filled with action and engaging characters, this novel is sure to bring a greater understanding of the '45 and its aftermath.  The story of Duncan and Rory as they face love, heartache, sorrow, and joy will forever bind them to your memory.  Cindy Vallar is an excellent storyteller whose first novel will delight and thrill readers. -- Marthe Arends, author of The Lion's Shadow

Extremely well-written story, fast paced, with vivid characters.  The depth of Ms. Vallar’s research is impressive.  She shows an especial appreciation for the fierce, touchy pride of the Highland clans.  Best of all is her sense of place.  If you’ve ever been to Scotland, you’ll feel like you’re back.  If you haven’t been there, you’ll think you have been by the end of the story.  As I read, I could see the dark clouds lowering over the loch.  I could feel the biting wind.  It made me long for a drop of--well, it made me want something to warm myself up. The Scottish Thistle is a large-scale novel, brimming with romance, adventure, and fascinating history.  There is something in it for everyone, and I recommend it without reservation. -- Robert W. Broomall, author of The Lawmen and Murder in the Seventh Cavalry

StarStarStarStarStarSet against the rich, brooding backdrop of Scotland in the 1700s, The Scottish Thistle is a lushly-woven tale that will intrigue both Scottish historical novel fans and those with romance in their souls.  Rory is a lively, intelligent woman and Duncan is the perfect hero--strong yet pliant, steadfast and tender.  This excellent first novel will reel you in from the first paragraph and leave you thirsting for more. -- Elizabeth Delisi, author of Since All is Passing

It's an absolutely great read.  Boy, you got the lingo down and wrote two very vivid characters with Duncan and Rory.  Especially liked the epilogue with the history. -- Debbie Tash

What a delight!!  You clearly did tons of research, but you deftly kept a delicate balance and didn't let the research take over the story.  Rory and Duncan are truly memorable, and the secondary characters are just as real. -- Carolan Ivy, author of Beaudry's Ghost

This is an unsolicited testimonial!  I spent the whole day and devoured the whole [book].  Delightful day, marvelous story.  Don't deny yourself the pleasure. -- Martha Vonredlich

From the very beginning, I felt completely drawn into the book.  The way you weaved Scottish history and love along with the dialect, but flavored it with adventure, kept me completely absorbed. Your research was so meticulous that the descriptions of the places were so vivid one could actually see the castles and hear the battle cries. -- Jackie Aker, Florida

Cindy's book is excellent--give it a try! -- Lynne Connolly, author of Yorkshire

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© 2002-2006 Cindy Vallar