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Dramatic, Powerful Scottish Romance
I was drawn to pick this book at my favorite book reviewer site because I love all books about Scotland; I have Scottish heritage myself on my father’s side. I was further intrigued when I saw that one of the Scottish families in question had the surname of Glendenning. My own Scottish 4x great-grandmother, born in the 1700s, was named Jean Glendenning. I myself visited Scotland last year and hoped that the author would handle both the contemporary and historical aspects well. I loved that the modern heroine was from Canada. Though I am American, my Scottish ancestors came to this continent via Canada (though New Brunswick, not Alberta.)
For the most part, she did. I thought a few of the Scottish aspects wear off, but you wouldn’t really know that unless you had recently visited yourself or were knowledgeable about Scottish history. For instance, Highland cattle aren’t relegated to just a few on the Isle of Skye and at Balmoral; I got up close and personal with some myself in Applecross. Some aspects of the history around Culloden and its aftermath were not wholly accurate either. But these are minor quibbles. Other elements as she nailed completely, like the international flavor of travelers in Scotland. I was surprised at the different number of accents that I heard there. I loved her descriptions of the various plants; I recognized a few. I loved hearing the names of cities, towns, and places I went to on my trip mentioned in the story.
But the story really isn’t about all this, even though it does add a note of Scottish flavor to the story. Or should I say stories, as this book is a blend of two different storylines, a contemporary one and one that’s from the past. The modern heroine, Lara MacInnes, is a Canadian of Scottish descent who decides to take a trip to Scotland to research some family history after a bad breakup. Her mother’s friend runs a Scottish castle B&B; the castle has been in her husband’s family for a long time. Lara meets the son in this family, and that’s where the contemporary romance aspect comes in. Diaries from a Glendenning ancestor, Elspeth, who briefly married one of Lara’s ancestors show a complex world of secrets, deceit, and difficult choices. The contemporary and modern stories weave in and out of each other. The past story is heartbreaking. As someone with an interest in genealogy myself, I could understand as the contemporary couple’s need to find out more about the ancestral couple’s story. The stories complemented each other and were both well written. The story is immersive, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, even the parts that were sometimes hard to read because of Elspeth’s and Lachlan’s difficulties. The author brought the feels, for sure. If you enjoy Scottish romance, either contemporary or historical, you might want to give this book a try.