cover image OUT OF THE MIST


JoAnn Ross, . . Pocket, $6.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-7434-6473-4

Veteran romance author Ross follows up her Callahan Brothers trilogy (River Road, etc.) with this fun but fitful offering, the first in a new series based on a trio of Scottish-American sisters. The story starts when ornery Scotsman Duncan MacDougall sends his grandson, Ian, to America to reclaim the Brooch of Lorn, a historic jewel that the feuding Stewart and MacDougall clans have been stealing from each other for centuries. Genius filmmaker Ian masks this surreptitious mission by pretending he's making a film about the annual Highland Games that the Stewart family sponsors in their small Tennessee community. Then he meets and falls in love with art gallery owner Lily Stewart—the same woman who, Duncan says, stole the brooch from him months earlier. Though Ian quickly deduces Lily is innocent, he can't figure out how to tell her the truth about his motives. Lily herself struggles to clean up her family's many messes while fearing that Ian will leave town once the film is done. It's never clear why otherwise sane adults like Ian or Lily give in so easily to their families' preposterous agendas, and the background information that forms the trilogy's foundation is often inserted at awkward moments. However, the story's robust momentum and lively characters make this a fun, energetic read. (Oct.)

Forecast: Ross's fans as well as readers enamored with all things Scots will turn out in droves for this new offering, which sports a striking metallic purple cover with Ross's name emblazoned in large print across the top half.