New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney returns with the third heart-stirring novel in her latest series, a tale of deceit, desperate measures, and delirious desire
Rose MacIain is a beautiful woman with a secret. Desperate and at her wits’ end, she crafts a fake identity for herself, one that Duncan MacIain will be unable to resist. But she doesn’t realize that posing as the widow of the handsome Scotsman’s cousin is more dangerous than she knew. And when a simmering attraction rises up between them, she begins to regret the whole charade.
Duncan is determined to resist the tempting Rose, no matter how much he admires her arresting beauty and headstrong spirit. When he agrees to accompany her on her quest, their desire for each other only burns hotter. The journey tests his resolve as their close quarters fuel the fire that crackles between them.
When the truth comes to light, these two stubborn people must put away their pride and along the way discover that their dreams of love are all they need.
Ranney concludes her American Civil War trilogy (after Scotsman in My Dreams) with the Scottish branch of the MacIains family inserting itself into the Confederate cause in order to support Rose, who they think is the wife of their American cousin, Bruce MacIain. In actuality, Rose is Bruce's New York raised, abolition-minded sister-in-law. She dodges the Charleston blockade and travels to Glasgow in order to offer mill owner Duncan MacIain the opportunity to purchase 1,000 bales of South Carolina cotton with gold. Despite having been abused for helping several slaves escape, Rose is determined to go back in order to rescue her sister, her niece, and the remaining slaves from starvation. Duncan is reluctant to allow Rose to place herself in danger, but he recognizes that her determination will not allow her to stay in Scotland or even in Nassau, where their relationship deepens as the danger increases. Ranney sensitively writes about a sad and ugly period of American history, and her thoughtful, multidimensional depiction of the enslaved characters avoids stereotypes and whitewashing the past.
a series that manages to cross continents and stereotypical gender roles for the time.
The third book in this series that uses the backdrop of the American Civil War as an entrée into Scottish society and trade. Each story does stand alone, providing a clear plot for each of the protagonists who are linked by trade and mercenary interest until love enters the picture. By 1863, the Confederacy was low on funds, people were struggling to survive under restrictions and blockades and Rose is determined to keep her sister’s family alive. Posing as a widow arriving on the doorstep of her brother-in-law’s relations. She is determined to bring back money and trade guarantees for the cotton grown in the South Carolina plantation.
Duncan McIain is a successful businessman, convinced that Rose is family and a profit can be made, if only the matter of war, trade embargoes and blockades can be avoided. Nearly all of the drama and conflict in this story is provided by background elements of war and political climate, not from the intended pairing of Rose and Duncan. These two show an instant attraction, tempered only with Rose’s early reluctance to fall too far.
After a lengthy voyage where the two actually started to become closer and more connected, the story winds through the Bahamas and on through the blockade only to arrive in a Charleston devastated by war and fire. Confronted with the realities that war has wrought, a despicable human being in Duncan’s cousin / Rose’s brother in law and the devastation around them, the two bond even closer together to convince a family, which wants no help, to accept it.
History provides a solid backdrop to this story, while framing the romance without taking precedence. Rose and Duncan are wonderfully well suited to one another, and her small deception is never more than a blippet in their journey to happy ever after. Moments that bring earlier couples from the series into the plot, a nice moment to check in with earlier friends. It’s a curious world that Ranney has built here: political opinions and moral judgments on the slavery issue are non-existent and left for the reader to make: a situation in which I am sure those of the time were more concerned with their everyday life and decisions to survive than the larger questions involved in the reasons for war. Smooth writing, polished story and descriptions that bring the worlds alive, this is a series that manages to cross continents and stereotypical gender roles for the time.
I received an eArc copy from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.