To Love a Scottish Lord
Instead of over-the-top goings-on, To Love A Scottish Lord, with its tortured characters, false accusations, and crumbling castle, presents a thoughtful story with mature characters. The love story is tender and enormously touching. This book was like a cool oasis for me after a few too many overheated historical romances.
Once a ship captain, Hamish MacRae and his crew were captured in India. His crew was killed and he was tortured. Hamish barely escaped with his life, and has come back to Scotland a changed man. He is no longer happy and gregarious, but plans to hide himself away in the aptly named Castle Gloom and stay there away from his fellow man.
Hamish’s brother Brendan refuses to give up on him. Unknown to Hamish, Brendan asks help from Mrs. Mary Gilly, a healer known as the Angel of Inverness for her care of the poor. Mary agrees to see Hamish. Naturally he does not want to be healed, but blessedly there are no silly posturing, pouting antics from either of them. Instead, they talk – imagine that! Mary’s quiet but firm attitude leads to Hamish lowering his barriers. She treats his injuries (which are terrible) and as they spend time together, they talk even more. Mary tells of her marriage to Gordon, a master goldsmith. Gordon was much older than Mary, and was a kind man who was good to her – and she loved him. She describes her studies of the healing arts and her regard for the Reverend Matthew Marshall, who has invented an electrical stimulating machine that might aid in Hamish’s treatment.
As Hamish and Mary become close, they become lovers. Their lovemaking is tender and serves to heal them both, but a man from Mary’s past intrudes on their happiness. Gordon’s one-time apprentice Charles, a thin, sour, and jealous man who disapproved of Mary’s healing practice while at the same time assuming she’d marry him after Gordon’s death, decides to make very dramatic trouble.
To Love A Scottish Lord hasn’t a bit of melodrama about it. The first half of the book is a slow revelation of Hamish’s torture in India and its effect on his body and mind. Hamish is not a bitter man, but he is deeply scarred, and he is holding on to a secret from his captivity that causes him shame. In the second half of the book, Mary is the more prominent character. We discover more about her past, and Hamish is forced to confront his secret in order to help Mary. Both are admirable and lovable characters. Beautiful but silly hoydens and brooding rakes can be so tiresome sometimes; reading a romance with a thoughtful man and intelligent woman at its core was a treat.
To Love A Scottish Lord is the fourth in The Highland Lords series. I will definitely have to go check out the others. Karen Ranney has a beautiful and subtle writing style and there’s not a trace of silly purple prose to be found. This book is a real winner.
|Review Date:||August 9, 2003|
|Book Type:||European Historical Romance|