I have to admit that when I first read the back cover blurb of this book, I was not impressed with yet another story involving “the pretender” to the throne of Scotland, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. I didn’t think I could endure another tale about the downfall of Scotland and his large part in it. Happily, this story doesn’t center around the war.
This story picks up after the Battle of Culloden in Edinburgh in the year 1750. James MacLonan has returned to Scotland from exile in France where he fought for the French army in the war against England. He was sent to France by his family to avoid the repercussions so many Scots faced by the English after Culloden. James’ father was able to purchase a pardon for James – with some strings attached. To prove his loyalty, James is required to find – and marry – a woman with good political connections to the Whig government. James is more than a little doubtful he can do it.
Theadora Tilton is the beautiful and charming daughter of an English general. She has turned down numerous suitors for lacking the skills she deems requirements in the perfect husband. One night, she meets James MacLonan and discovers they get along very well. She also finds him a man who meets her strict requirements. What she doesn’t know is that James was a Jacobite. Of course, when she discovers this, most readers – myself included – will think this is the core of the problems they must face to be together. Fortunately, that is not the case. Thea is very upset to learn of James’ past, but she manages to over come it, and they wed. Finally, a heroine who is strong in the most truest sense of the word! She’s the perfect match for James.
I found this story hard to put down. There is usually some conflict between a hero and heroine that takes them the entire book to resolve. But, that doesn’t happen here, which I found to be a refreshing change. From their very short courtship and marriage to their move from Edinburgh to the MacLonan estate in Glenmuir, I was extremely curious to see what would happen next. The author did a good job drawing out the details to give the reader a feeling of being there. After the extremely long journey by horseback to Glenmuir, I was as relieved as Thea to have the trip over. The author also does a great job of moving the story along. This reader wasn’t left with an all-too-familiar sense of, “Get on with it already.”
The conflicts that do come up in the book are handled well by the author. There are some surprising twists and turns that had this reader cheering the hero and heroine on. I recommend Pretender’s Games, and I will be looking for this author’s previous books too.