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Book CoverSandy M’s review of A Scotsman in Love by Karen Ranney
Historical Romance published by Avon 28 Apr 09

I’d been looking forward to reading this book since we talked to Ms. Ranney here at the blog a few weeks ago. Then even more so once I heard from a friend who loved the book. While this is a good read, for some reason the whole of it didn’t work that well for me.

I think the biggest thing for me was that I never felt that connection to the characters that I normally get when introduced to them. I mean, I liked Robert and Margaret. They’re good people who have had bad things happen to them in life, things should have made me feel more than I did. One of the reasons I felt disconnected is that when their stories unfolded in the book, it didn’t happen when they were together.  It happened with either other characters or one of them just remembering back on the events. For me, I wanted them together when they first heard of the other’s pain and reaction to their horror. Because, believe me, those events warranted something like that. Robert and Margaret do eventually talk about their pasts with each other, but by that time the punch of the emotion in the telling is not nearly as strong as it could have been and it’s just not the same in the aftermath.

Another part of the book that left me disconnected is what I call the negativity involved. Now, I realize that in romance there’s conflict between the main characters. That is to be expected. This seemed a more callous conflict than it needed to be.  Even when they aren’t together flinging slights at one another, their thoughts are just as bad toward the other, and it goes on way too long. It’s nearly three-quarters of the way into the book before one of them realizes there’s something more going on in their heart. Robert is the more negative of the two, going as far as to want Margaret off his land and out of his sight before he knows anything about her, constantly criticizing her.  That just didn’t endear him to me; his hardheartedness just lasted too long.

I also didn’t care for Robert’s single-mindedness about Margaret’s looks. She’s not beautiful, nor is she ugly, but he’s not satisfied with a certain part of her and he seems to fixate on that, at least too much for me. She even mentions it herself a couple of times. Yes, he obviously gets over it, comes to love that part of her, but it was just mentioned too many times in too many different ways and I couldn’t get it out of mind in other parts of the book.

I did like the storyline, though. The horrors of their respective lives, as I mentioned earlier, are simply terrible, things you would never wish on anyone. They each have their own way of dealing with feelings derived from those events, doing what they need to do to get by. I liked the idea of them finding each other, a balm for the other’s soul to help them each heal from their past hurts; I just wanted to see this happen sooner.  Robert comes home to try to put his ghosts behind him, pick up the reins of his home and estate to get them in order again. Margaret is just trying to survive her injury, all the while plotting her revenge.

The book didn’t actually come alive for me until the last quarter of it all when Margaret thinks Robert will not be back, so she forges ahead toward her retribution. Once Robert does return and finds out what she’s done, he follows her, hoping he’s not too late to stop her, not too late to make sure she’s his, not too late for a life that neither of them thought they’d never have again. In fact, it’s this part of the book that actually brought my grade up for it as a whole.

I know a lot of you will disagree with me on my thoughts of this story. That’s okay, I’d like to hear what you have to say. I’d like a different take on these issues. I really wanted to like it more than I did. I’m truly sorry that didn’t happen.

SandyMGrade: B-


For three years, Margaret Dalrousie was the darling of the Russian Imperial Court, a painter renown for her ability to grant any subject beauty. When forced to flee Russia for home, she found refuge in a cottage on the edge of the abandoned Highland estate of Glengarrow.

Robert McDermott, Earl of Linnet, had remained in France following the deaths of his wife and daughter. Duty finally called him home to Scotland, but when he arrived, it was to find that not only had Glengarrow been allowed to fall into disrepair, but a strange and annoying woman insisted on disturbing his peace.

A Scotsman in Love is the tumultuous and passionate story of how two disparate souls find acceptance, then friendship, and finally love.

Read an excerpt.