cover image The Laird

The Laird

Grace Burrowes. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-1-4022-9502-7

In closing the Captive Hearts Regency trilogy (after The Captive and The Traitor), which closely examines post-traumatic struggles, Burrowes uses the familiar romance framework to tell a somber and affecting story about people who did the best they could under awful circumstances. Nine years after disappearing on his wedding night to go to war, Michael Brodie returns home to Scotland without warning. His bride, Brenna, isn't sure how they can put back together a marriage that never really got started, but her love for Michael means she's willing to try. While the typical romantic push and pull appear, the true center of the story is the damage caused both in war and by evildoers close to home. Burrowes displays exceptional skill in dealing gently with difficult topics, including sexual assault, and manages to build a remarkably positive story that ends happily; would that all such tales did. Agent: Steve Axelrod, Axelrod Literary Agency. (Sept.)