A Scotsman in Love
Karen Ranney
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Buy *A Scotsman in Love* by Karen Ranney online

A Scotsman in Love
Karen Ranney
Avon
Paperback
384 pages
April 2009
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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I thought this book was going to be like so many other Scottish historicals kilt-wearing, heavily-muscled man-of-few-words who carries off some poor unsuspecting English Miss to his Scottish castle. It isn't (thank goodness!).

Karen Ranney writes well. Her prose flows with excellent description and authenticity (apart from the occasional jarring Americanism). The main characters dance around each other initially, not knowing what to make of each other and being rather antagonistic. In lieu of telling us what each thinks the whole time, she shows through their dialogue how they confound each other, excellent foils both dealing with their own experiences of grief, shame, shock and loneliness.

The heroine, Margaret Dalrousie, is a famous portrait painter - at least she was before she left the Russian court in shame and nearly penniless and went to live in a cottage adjoining the Scottish estate of the Earl of Linnet. The Earl isn't at his estate, which is becoming rundown while he spends all his time in France. When Robert McDermott returns and bumps into Margaret, things change. He takes up his responsibility as landowner again, trying to overcome his grief over the death of his wife and daughter, but Margaret is like a stone in his shoe, continually irritating him. When he asks Margaret to paint a picture of his dead wife, he doesn't realize how he is opening himself up to grieving and perhaps even moving on with his life.

A Scotsman in Love focuses very much on Margaret and Robert, alongside a few other well-written side characters. Though there's not a great deal of plot, it's not necessary - all the action lies in the dialogue and interactions between hero and heroine. I very much enjoyed this story, especially the fact that the two main characters are flawed yet also appealing. It was definitely much better than I was expecting, better than most other books of the genre that I've read recently. I am only left wondering why on earth it was awarded such a dreadful cover with a half-naked man in a kilt when our hero only ever wears more normal clothing!



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Helen Hancox, 2009

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