Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Early Review of The Lass Wore Black by Karen Ranney

  • Title: The Lass Wore Black
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Format: Paperback; 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (January 29, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0062027808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062027801
  • Author's Website: http://karenranney.com/

Catriona was one of the most beautiful woman in all of London. She was being courted by a Duke, and everything she ever wanted seemed to be possible and within her grasp. Then, in an instant, tragedy struck and everything changed. While on her way home, something broke through the windows of her carriage shattering not only the glass but Catriona's face as the shards did their damage. As the carriage overturned, her leg and arm were crushed and broken within the wreckage. In a matter of moments, the beauty she had always relied upon to carry her through was taken from her, leaving her with scars that even her sister flinched at. Told she was lucky for surviving, she wasn't sure she totally agreed with that. Perhaps this was God's way of punishing her for her selfishness and past sins. She definitely hadn't been a saint. Unsure how to cope, she retreated from the world wearing only black as it mirrored her mood. Without her looks Catriona was just a shell of her former self. Her sister had always been the smart one and she'd always been the pretty one. Now she didn't know who or what she was, perhaps the monster the mirror suggested? Abandoning hope, she lost her appetite, refused to eat, and contemplated taking her life. That was when her aunt Dina stepped in and asked a friend for guidance and help.

Doctor Mark Thorburn had known Catriona before the accident although she most certainly never noticed him. He'd done an apprenticeship with her father years ago. He had been one of his favorite mentors and perhaps out of his fondness for him, or his curiosity of the young beautiful woman who had been his daughter, he decided to go above and beyond the call of duty. Realizing she refused to see any more doctors, he opted to pose as a footman who was assigned to stay with her until she ate her meals. What he never could have of imagined when he started his deceitful little plan, was that they would be just what the other needed.


This is the sequel to A Scandalous Scot. Catriona was the scandalous sister to Jean MacDonald. Not happy with being reduced to a maid after they're father was hanged for performing a mercy killing on his terminally ill wife, Catriona had an affair with a married man hoping he'd whisk her away. Her soon to be brother-in-law disapproved of the liaison and gave her a choice between being respectable or being someone's mistress. If she chose the former, he'd sponsor her debut into society where she'd have a chance at having a real relationship. Faced with the choices she chose wisely and decided to reform her scandalous ways. With the help of her aunt Dina, she learned how to interact and mingle with members of the ton. Everything she ever wanted seemed within reach when the 'accident' occurred.

Some people think bad things don't happen to good people. If something bad happens, they believe you must have done something to deserve it. But that's not the way the world works. Life has a way of just happening--whether it is good or bad. It's how you react to the bad, however, that truly defines you.

When Mark first started masquerading as a footman he found a woman not only scarred on the outside, but on the inside as well. She had no idea how to reinvent herself. No clue who she really was when separated from her looks. She'd had hopes and aspirations of becoming a wife and mother. Now she doubted if she'd ever attract a male's attention ever again. She kept her face hidden fearing she'd scare children and attract stares. Ironically, now she wouldn't attract them for her beauty, but for her disfigurement.

Mark is a well respected doctor who is a member of the peerage, but if he had to pick between being a peer and a physician, medicine would win out. He loves his work and trying to come up with new ways of helping his patients. He administers to both the less fortunate and the wealthy. While a lot of people like him, he doesn't have much of a social life. He has a tendency to throw himself into his work. As he gets to know Catriona, and sees how she slowly starts to put the pieces of her shattered life back together again, he sees the real Catriona who was buried beneath the spoiled facade she had worn.

Some of my favorite lines/quotes:

- "The world is prejudiced against a great many things," he said. "the trick is to ignore what you can and endure the rest."
  "So says and extraordinarily handsome man."

- "Of all the people in the world I might pity, I think I'd label you last. You're a fighter, Catriona, and one of the most stubborn, obstinate, and hard-headed people I've ever had the privilege to meet. You stand your ground regardless of where you are or what circumstance you're facing."

"I see your beauty, " he said again. "Perhaps one day you will, too."

-  'Passion could bind two people more ably than chains.'

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. Plenty of action, suspense and romance in this one. I liked the patience Mark displayed with Catriona. I loved how he slowly brought her back among the living and gave her hope for the future. I loved how he saw the woman beneath the shattered shell and realized it wasn't just the accident that had affected her but the deaths of her parents, especially her father's that had affected her too. On the Lisa Renee 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.

Reading order of the books:

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