I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.An American in Scotland by Karen Ranney
Series: MacIain #3
Published by HarperCollins on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, Scottish, General
Purchase Links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound
ADD TO GOODREADS:
New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney returns with the third heart-stirring novel in her latest series, a tale of deceit, desperate measures, and delirious desire.
Rose MacIain is a beautiful woman with a secret. Desperate and at her wits' end, she crafts a fake identity for herself, one that Duncan MacIain will be unable to resist. But she doesn't realize that posing as the widow of the handsome Scotsman's cousin is more dangerous than she knew. And when a simmering attraction rises up between them, she begins to regret the whole charade.
Duncan is determined to resist the tempting Rose, no matter how much he admires her arresting beauty and headstrong spirit. When he agrees to accompany her on her quest, their desire for each other only burns hotter. The journey tests his resolve as their close quarters fuel the fire that crackles between them.
When the truth comes to light, these two stubborn people must put away their pride and along the way discover that their dreams of love are all they need.
In An American in Scotland, celebrated author Karen Ranney crafts a quiet romance set against the horrors of the American Civil War and Scotland’s intertwined history.
Scots mill owner Duncan MacIain and Rose O’Sullivan (known as Rose MacIain to Duncan and his Scottish relations) enter into an agreement for Duncan to purchase the last of Rose’s South Carolina grown cotton. Duncan had previously expressed an interest in purchasing the harvest, so Rose uses the last of her funds to journey to Scotland, braving the Union forces blockading the American coast, in order to finalize the sale. A mistake over Rose’s identity triggers her guilt, but she’s willing to do whatever it takes to help her family back in South Carolina as they try to survive the ravages of the Civil War. She didn’t count on the kindness of the Scottish MacIains – nor did she ever imagine she’d find love.
Duncan MacIain has been struggling to keep his family’s mill operating since the Civil War began restricting his ability to import cotton. Duncan is a pragmatic man who entertains the idea to run the blockade and find a way to get the resources he needs, just as many of his countrymen did. Rose’s offer — and it’s inherent risk — give him the chance he’s been waiting for. Duncan plans for every contingency, except his visceral attraction to the woman he believes to be his distant cousin’s widow. Duncan’s resolve to behave honorably is tested when he and Rose travel from Scotland to America. Along the way, they share secrets and passion until they arrive back at the plantation Rose is trying to save. Luckily their devotion and partnership is already cemented by the time they come face to face with the ugly realities of Rose’s former life in South Carolina.
While the love story of Duncan and Rose is skillfully constructed, I don’t think it would not have been as emotionally compelling if not for the unique settings, of both time and place, explored in this novel. Duncan and Rose travel from the comforts of Glasgow to the emerging (and romantic) Bahamas then on to cotton warehouses of Charleston and finally the harrowing Glengarden Plantation, all affected by wartime havoc. The journey aboard the blockade runner — a ship specially designed for stealth and speed in order to evade Union patrols — was exceptionally interesting.
Author Karen Ranney provides a unique and realistic depiction of ravages of war and slavery, including the lives of a collection of diverse and intriguing secondary characters: from the abusive and deranged plantation owner, Bruce MacIain, his ruthless mother and his frigid wife to the slave Maisie, a pillar of strength and dignity. The barbarity of life on the plantation, both before and during the war, are explored in depth and handled masterfully by the author.
This novel is an excellent example of what I love about historical fiction: the opportunity to learn through total immersion in the life of the past. By giving us characters to care about in a time of tragedy and strife, especially ones with a love like Duncan and Rose’s, An American in Scotland opens the mind and the heart.
Excerpt from An American in Scotland
The woman who opened the door was a matronly sort, dressed in a somber blue that nevertheless was a pleasant color for her complexion. Her smile was an easy one, as if she had long practice at being pleasant.
“May I help you?” she asked. “If you’re a friend of the missus, she’s dining with her family now. Like as not it’ll go on for a few hours. Do you need to see her?”
The smell of food wafted out of the house. Rose was so hungry she could define each separate scent: fish stew, freshly baked rolls, roast beef, and something that smelled like fruit cake.
Her stomach growled, as if she needed reminding she hadn’t eaten a real meal in two days.
“Mr. MacIain,” she said, pushing aside both her hunger and her fatigue. “Is he here? I need to see him.”
“You’ve business with Mr. Duncan? Well, he mostly transacts his business at the mill, miss. Wouldn’t it be better to call on him there?”
She didn’t know where the MacIain Mill was. She’d taken his home address from the letters he’d written Bruce.
“I’ve come from America,” she began, and had no more said those words than she was dragged into the house by her sleeve.
“Well, why didn’t you say so from the very first? From America? All that way? And here I let you stand on the doorstep. Is that your valise? And your carriage? We’ll take care of both right away.”
The woman, matronly only a moment ago, had turned into a whirlwind.
Rose found herself being led through the house, following the scent of food until she thought her stomach would cramp. In moments she found herself standing in the doorway of a small dining room.
Dozens of people, it seemed from her first glance, were seated at the table, all of them attractive and well dressed. Some of them were smiling as they looked up.
“Duncan? This lady came all the way from America to see you.”
She couldn’t think for the hunger. She couldn’t even speak.
A man stood, and she thought that hunger must surely have made her hallucinate. Tall, brown-haired, with the most beautiful blue eyes she’d ever seen. He smiled so sweetly at her, so perfectly handsome and kind, that she wondered if he was real.
He was broad-shouldered, with a face that no doubt captured the attention of women on the street. They’d stop to marvel at that strong jaw, that mouth that looked as if it could be curved into a smile or just as easily thinned in derision.
She hadn’t expected him to be so arresting a figure. No doubt that’s why she wavered a little on her feet.
“Yes?” he said, coming around the table toward her.
“Mr. MacIain? Duncan MacIain?”
He regarded her with a direct stare so forceful she felt as if her will were being drawn out of her with that glance.
She reached out one gloved hand toward him. Suddenly everything changed. The air around her grayed. The floor rushed up to greet her instead of him. Yet he somehow caught her when she fell. As he did so, she had the strangest thought, one that troubled her even as darkness enveloped her.
This was why she’d come all this way.
About Author Karen Ranney
USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, Karen Ranney began writing when she was five. Her first published work was The Maple Leaf, read over the school intercom when she was in the first grade. In addition to wanting to be a violinist (her parents had a special violin crafted for her when she was seven), she wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher, and, most of all, a writer. Though the violin was discarded early, she still admits to a fascination with the law, and she volunteers as a teacher whenever needed. Writing, however, has remained the overwhelming love of her life.