Book Review: An American in Scotland By Karen Ranney

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Title:  An American in  Scotland.

 Arthur:  Karen  Ranney

Series: MacIain #3

Genre:  Historical Romance

Era: Antebellum Period

Publisher:  Avon Books

Pages :  345 ( Mass market paperback)

Grade: B +

Review: An American in Scotland is the third book in the MacIain series.  The book takes place during the American Civil War. In the beginning of the book we are introduced to  Rose Sullivan who has just traveled from America all the way to Glasgow, Scotland.  She has come to see Duncan MacIain,  who is the Scottish cousin of her brother-in-law Bruce MacIain who is the American side of the family. She has a business proposition, she wants to sell him cotton.  Duncan had reached out to Bruce before about buying cotton from him, Duncan who owns a mill,  can make great profit from this,  but due to clash of personalities the deal falls through.  Rose hopes that Duncan will have renew interest in buying the cotton that will save her family from starving and the proceeds will help them keep Glengarden, the family plantation. Rose is expecting to meet some kindly elder gentlemen but is shocked when first sees Duncan who she is instantly attracted to. She then falls in a dead faint due to exhaustion and lack of nourishment. She is nursed back to health by Duncan’s mother and the family servants.  Rose sees for herself how caring Duncan’s family is, and not the savages that Bruce makes them out to be.  Duncan and his family automatically assume that Rose is Bruce’s wife and that he died in the war leaving he widowed.  Rose doesn’t correct them on this, but she does feel guilty for deceiving them.  The truth is that she cannot stand Bruce, and wishes that he was dead.  Bruce had tortured her both emotionally and physically,  and  he is sadistic bastard all around, who left his family to fend for themselves while he went off to war. Duncan agrees to buy the cotton from Rose because it will help his mill,  and also he wants to stay close to  Rose.  As they set sail on the Raven to head to America,  Rose has no idea that Bruce has survived the war, and has returned to Glengarden.

 Overall ,  I really like this book, I got through it really quick,  and it was not hard to read. Its been a minute since I picked up a romance, and this book is making me want to read romance full time.  When I got this I didn’t realize that it was the third book in a series. Which I was excited about because I don’t want to leave this world yet.  Though I do suggest reading the previous two books,  I don’t think its necessary that you have to read them in order.  The Only thing that I was a bit confused on was Olivia ( Lennox’s mother)  But I managed to pick up what was going on as I continued with the story.   Despite her dubious background and that she abandoned her children I found myself liking Olivia.  Who was a complex character to say the least. Another character I love was Rose,  I just loved her spirit, and how passionate she about issues she cared about.  I felt that she was very well suited for Duncan.  I think that they complimented each other,  and changed each other for the better.  Plus,  I like that characters actually treat each other with respect throughout the book,  instead of the usual love hate thing going on. The only real problem I had was that  I thought some of the plot lines were a bit contrived.  Like Bruce forcing  Rose to work and live amongst the slaves.  I just don’t see Rose’s sister allowing that,  even if she didn’t like her sister, she would be protective of her family’s reputation. It would not look good  on the family that one of its members is working and living amongst the slaves .I also took issues with Duncan who was against slavery,  but he had no problem with purchasing cotton which was made with slave labor. Which I thought was hypocritical.  Plus I wanted to see more of Claire ( Roses sister)   She was pivotal in the plot, I would have liked to hear her more from her point of view than what other characters thought of her.  Other then this,  I really enjoyed this book.  I highly recommend this book.

Amazon link to book:

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Book Review: Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

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Title:  Victoria:  A Novel of  a Young Queen

 Author:  Daisy Goodwin

 Genre:  Historical Fiction

  Era:  Victorian

 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

 Pages: 416

  Grade: A

Review:  This is the first book I am reading for the #2017HFReadingChallenge . I have not read as much historical fiction as I would have liked.  I would like to change to that.   I was excited to learn that Daisy Goodwin had written a novel on Queen Victoria. The book was not a disappointment at all.  I finished in three days.  I couldn’t put this book down.  The novel briefly touches on Victoria’s childhood and then starts at the beginning of her reign.  The story starts off  with young Victoria wanting desperately to be free of the controlling grasp of her mother and  John Conroy.  She eagerly awaits for the day that she will be Queen.  After the death of her uncle King William IV she is finally crowned Queen of England. She soon realizes that there is more to being Queen then she imagined. And how dangerously unprepared for the job she is. She comes rely on Lord Melbourne who she sees as a father and maybe something more as time passes. Meanwhile those who are looking to advance their own power are waiting  for any weakness any weakness in the Queen to expose.  One of things I really liked about this book is how close it stuck to history.  There was something that Goodwin embellished on  but it was nothing drastic.  I thought that relationship between Melbourne and  Victoria was more embellished then it was in history.  I did get a sense that maybe she had a crush on him but I don’t think it went as far as it did in the book.  Though honestly I was not bothered that they chose to embellish on this particular couple. I like the what if factor of it all,  and I thought it was tastefully done and Goodwin made the pairing believable.  Another duo I like was relationship between Victoria and her mother.  I really liked how Goodwin wrote them.  The relationship was complicated and messy,  but despite this they really loved each other.   The only minor criticism I had on this book was that I thought Goodwin spent more time on Melbourne/Victoria and less on Victoria and Albert.  I just felt that the Victoria/Albert relationship was a wee bit rushed, but despite this I still loved the book. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Daisy Goodwin is a writer for the PBS series on Victoria.  After reading this book I am even more excited about the series.  I encourage everyone to read this.  I am definitely going  to be reading more books by Daisy Goodwin.

 

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