Lady Astrid Derring has lived in poverty since her husband, Bertram, abandoned her. As a Duchess she has social position, but her lack of funds is crippling. When she receives an anonymous note saying that the duke is about to contract a bigamous marriage in Scotland, she uses the last of her money to travel north and save the other woman from a dreadful man.
Once she reaches Scotland, Astrid finds herself under attack by barbarians, but
she is rescued by a Texan on a mysterious quest to Scotland. The man, Griffin Shaw, feels honor-bound to escort Astrid to her husband.
When a murder takes place, things get more complex.
Who is the murderer? Why is Griffin travelling to a remote part of Scotland? Can Astrid and Griffin ever manage to understand each other and run their own lives?
This run-of-the-mill story moves forward without much historical detail (except mention of a train, so presumably the late 19th
century) and with little in-depth characterization. Family feuds are fixed in a trice, people behave in stereotypical ways, and the heroine, Astrid, is actually unappealing. And what about her name? Astrid is certainly an uncommon name for a 19th-century woman, and I'm dubious about the son of two highlanders being named Griffin,
There's an amusing error where the author, clearly knowing that what Americans call 'jelly' we Brits call 'jam', has provided the heroine with the line, "my legs feel like jam." Unfortunately, we would use the word 'jelly' here, and reading that phrase with 'jam'
is comical. In addition, the author has the common habit of using the word 'likely' where Brits would say 'probably', which was jarring each time I came upon it.
In summary, there's nothing special to redeem this book from its historical and literary shortcomings. It
is an easy and quick read but ultimately entirely forgettable.