Friday, June 29, 2012

A Scandalous Scot by Karen Ranney

  • Title: A Scandalous Scot
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Format: Paperback, 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (June 26, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0062027794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062027795
  • Author's Website:

Morgan MacCraig had come back to Scotland after a bitter divorce that left him a pariah of London society. Divorce was considered scandalous and all but one of his friends had turned their backs on him. Never mind that his wife would sleep with everyone but him. He had had enough of London society and woman. He decided to go back to Ballindair Castle, his boyhood home.

Jean MacDonald and her sister, Catriona, had fallen on hard times and had come to Ballindair Castle to escape poverty and scandal. The scandal associated with the two sisters was so bad they'd been forced to use a false last name. While they were born to a higher status, they now were working as maids on the estate.

When Catriona devises a plan to elevate her position from maid to mistress, Jean attempts to stop her. The only problem is Jean gets caught in a new scandal with Morgan. That compounded with the scandal she's trying to keep secret could be Jean's and Catriona's undoing or salvation.

I truly enjoyed this one. Ms. Ranney infused her tale with a little whimsy when she added in a few ghosts which reportedly haunt the Scottish castle. I truly thought it gave us a nice insight into Jean's psyche by letting us know that while things might have gotten rough, she hadn't been completely tainted by the events in her life and has become an avid ghost hunter. As the story progresses, we see she's very loyal and feels responsible for her younger sister. While Jean resigns herself to her new life and position in society, Catriona seems to be rebelling against it and has gone a bit wild, which makes things very difficult for Jean. 

Morgan MacCraig, Earl of Denbleigh, has lived in the shadow of his seemingly perfect father. He didn't take lightly the shame he brought to the family name when he divorced and had not done it on a whim. It takes two to make a marriage, and he learned shortly after marrying his wife that she wasn't all that interested in him. It had been his title and fortune she'd been after. Strange how one bad decision can sometimes alter a person's life.

While some stories have a character you love to hate, I thought it unique that Ms. Ranney threw in Catriona and Andrew, each of who I almost instantly disliked and wanted to throttle. They aren't exactly bad guys just a little self absorbed and ignorant as to how their actions affect others or, perhaps more accurately, just don't care how they affect others. They added another dimension to the story as well as some extra drama. Additionally, through their selfish actions they set the romance between Jean and Morgan in motion or, at the very least, sped it up.

One of the fun things about this story is that Jean tries to convince Morgan they shouldn't get married. She tries to debate her way out of it, and with each reason she states as to why they should not get married, she endears herself even more to him. I think it's Jean's reluctance to get married that makes Morgan decide a marriage between them is a good idea. What Morgan doesn't realize is that it is something that lurks in her past that makes her reluctant.

Overall I really enjoyed this one and gave it 3 1/2 roses. It's the type of story that puts a smile on your face and puts you in a good mood. I loved the fact that Jean is not 'perfect' by society's standards, but she's got spunk and is forthright with everyone--two things Morgan truly needs. I liked how Jean had to come clean with Morgan about her past and how he seemed to take it in stride. I admit that I thought the scandal would be more scandalous, but for the day and age this story took place it would have been. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

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