Ranney (To Bed the Bride) goes Gothic in the first romance of her Highland Fling trilogy. Lady Jennifer Adaire’s fledgling romance with Gordon McDonnell, the son of her family’s gardener, leads her mother, the Countess of Burfield, to banish Gordon from Adaire Hall. He leaves for London and becomes a music hall impresario, but returns to Scotland five years later to visit his dying father. Jennifer and Gordon reconcile surprisingly quickly, but when Gordon’s father learns of their rekindled love, he reveals a dark family secret in a shocking Gothic twist that tears the couple apart once more. Meanwhile, in a subplot that goes nowhere, Jennifer’s boorish brother Harrison neglects his wife and duties while racking up debts at Gordon’s club. The most interesting thing about Gordon—his career in London’s seedy entertainment sphere—serves only as set dressing, and Jennifer and Gordon are a frustratingly passive pair, reacting with horror to family secrets neither of them actually seek out, causing their eventual reunion to feel unearned and anticlimactic. But the bonkers mid-book reveal overshadows these more subtle flaws. Fans of darker historical romances may find that the unusual plot makes up for the middling prose and pacing issues. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/20/2020 Release date: 07/01/2020 Genre: Romance/Erotica
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