The Scottish Witch: The Chattan Curse
Cathy Maxwell

ISBN-13: 978-0062070234
Publisher: HarperCollins
Line: Avon
Release Date: Oct 30, 2012
Pages: 384
Retail Price: 7.99

Heat Level: Sensual

When a Chattan male falls in love, strike his heart with fire from above . . .

Portia Maclean believes she is beyond love and marriage. Then one moonlit night, while attempting a daring masquerade in a desperate bid to protect her family, she finds herself swept off her feet by a powerful stranger. But what will he do once he discovers she has betrayed him?

Harry Chattan is fighting for his family. For two hundred years the Chattan men have been destroyed by love . . . and now he's come to Scotland on the hunt for a witch to break the curse. Instead he finds himself bewitched by Portia. Harry has vowed to fight the demons that torture him.

But will that battle destroy her as well?

Series: The Chattan Curse



Cathy Maxwell has penned a ‘spell binding’ story that had me mesmerized from page one. While I was new to Cathy’s work, I won’t be a stranger anymore!

Deeply drawn characters that usher us into their pain, happiness, trials, desperation, fears, yearnings, perseverance and love as few books can do. And, with as many three dimensional characters as Maxwell provides, readers are immediately and happily invested in each of their stories. Which is no small feat for an intriguing cast that includes Harry Chattan and his friend, General Montheath, Portia Maclean, her mother, Lady Maclean, Portia’s sister Minnie and her intended, Tolliver Olliver, Fennella Machnactan and her daughter Rose, Charles Chattan and a supernatural cat named Owl.

Yet somehow, Maxwell intricately and deftly spins them all into the fabric of this luxuriant stand-alone novel that fortunately has a book preceding it and one to follow.

Sealed by a curse 200 hundred years old and set against the backdrop of mystical Scotland, The Scottish Witch will keep you spell bound maneuvering the personalities, their motives and the highlands in search of love and a cure.

“When a Chattan male falls in love, strike his heart with fire from above . . .”

More than two centuries ago, Rose, a beautiful, trusting young woman hand fasted to her English love, Charles Chattan ended her life in a dramatic leap from her family’s estate when Charles doesn’t return to fulfill the marriage instead wedding another for a title. Dripping with despair and anger, Rose’s mother, Fennella places a curse on all future Chattan males – when they fall in love, they will die. And for almost 200 hundred years, the line has been cursed. But nothing can stop love or the curse it seems.

As small as Scotland is, it’s big enough for thousands of stories and once again becomes the setting for a historical novel. Yet somehow, thanks to Maxwell’s skillful settings and scenes, tight plotting and clever dialogue it feels uniquely Chattan.

Portia Maclean is dutifully bound to care for her selfish but proud mother, Lady Maclean and lovelorn sister, Minnie. As they struggle to eke out an existence, Portia believes, like her mother, her time as a spinster has come. When an introduction to the Book of Spells has her recalling the witch Fennella, Portia experiences a heady rise in status. Hearing the village rumors of the English Chattan, Harry Maclean who has come to Scotland in search of the witch to break the curse in order to save his brother, Neal, she sees an opportunity to make enough money to save her home and family. Bothered by her conscience but driven by desperation, Portia begins her deceit.

A moonlit night, strange words spoken through her and an unusual cat set the stage for the entrance of a humbled Harry Chattan to beg Portia disguised as Fennella, to break the curse. Accepting his money and the challenge, they again meet but not as witch and supplicant, rather as man and woman and the intrigue begins. With his purse, Portia pays back rent and her mother a wardrobe for Minnie who shows more promise in marriage than does her sister. But having caught the eye of the dashing Harry and knowing his vulnerability, Portia is keen to help him without giving away her secret.

As Harry and Portia are thrown together by circumstances – he through his friend General Montheath whom he agrees to help win Lady Maclean and Portia by matchmaking for Minnie, the attraction and questions swirl about them. Each grows in the estimation of the other as their individual attempts to help their siblings and friend temper their misgivings and soften the edges of suspicion.

But Harry knows time is growing short as he anxiously seeks a way to break the Scottish witch’s spell, save his brother and perhaps the Chattan line when he discovers Portia’s deceit. Though born of desperation, Portia continues the ruse in an attempt to help Harry with whom she is now in love. And somehow, Harry who has made his own mistakes and been driven to despair by the curse, comes to understand Portia’s motives and view her in a new light.

Adventures, deceit, trysts, true love, village loyalty coupled with an ancient seemingly unbreakable curse create a delightful romp through the Scottish moors that provide readers with hope for the future that arrives in the form of Harry’s sister Margaret who has also taken up the cause of her brothers to pick up where Neal and Harry must leave off and, is accompanied by an unusual cat…

While The Scottish Witch: The Chattan Curse is part of a series, it stands alone as its own story perfectly. But readers will want more and a teaser chapter to the last book will see to that! An epilogue cleverly leads from Harry’s story to that of his sister Margaret as she carries on the desperate quest to break the Chattan Curse and save her brothers.

Thank you Cathy Maxwell! This book is not to be missed but to be savored and will have readers excitedly anticipating the final installment, The Devil’s Heart in May 2013. 

Reviewed by Helena