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The Exile of the Glen*
Grace and Redemption
I am a big fan of this author’s work, having read her previous book in this series, “The Lady of the Glen.” I enjoyed that book a lot, as I absolutely adored the heroine’s character (and the hero wasn’t bad either!). Knowing that story, I was curious to see what this author would do with Alastair because he is actually the villain of that book (The Lady of the Glen). What the author has achieved, though, is laudable and better than I had imagined. From the very first scene, where Alastair is in the boat heading to his exile on a remote Scottish island hoping to find succor with distant family, she sets up the story as one of redemption. The first scene is so well done. We can truly get a sense of both the setting, which is so harsh, as well as Alastair’s despair over what his life has become and will be. He doesn’t fully own all that he’s done at this point, but he is starting to see the error of his ways; in doing so, the author sets up what could be a potentially good character arc.
Much of this book is watching Alastair sink lower and lower in a variety of ways, making the book more focused on an individual’s story than usually happens in a romance (more typically about both in the couple even at the start). In fact, the romance aspect doesn’t pick up until well into the book, but it makes sense within the context of the story. Grace is only offered him by a woman who is in her own way an outcast from her society. These two wounded souls find comfort and understanding in each other that they don’t find anywhere else. I found the relationship between Alastair and Elle (short for a Scottish name that’s hard to pronounce or write) to be sweet and tender as it evolved, giving them both what they needed. They both become better people through their relationship with each other–better versions of themselves–and I love that in a romance; I think love does that to people in real life, so it is a delight to see that mirrored in fiction. While this book could be read as a standalone, you would have a much better context for it if you read “The Lady of the Glen” first. Another good book by an excellent author.