Time for another book review. This new one my Jennifer Moore is set in the Scottish Highlands in the 1800’s. She has written lots of historical romances set in different parts of the British Empire, and I’ve read a lot of her books and always like them. Here’s the blurb for Miss Leslie’s Secret:
Decorated war hero Conall Stewart has spent ten years envisioning his return to his beloved Scottish Highlands. But now, with the days of battle finally behind him, it seems that his dreams of home have been in vain: the land of his youth lies in ruins, and his family is gone. Though he will never stop searching for his kin, Conall knows he must begin again.
But when he takes on a rented farm in a nearby town, he finds far more than the fresh start he was looking for . After catching a mischievous local lad stealing, Conall returns young Jamie to his mother, Aileen Leslie—and finds the woman’s coddling of the child maddening. What Conall does not realize is that Aileen hides a frightening secret: her devoted protection of Jamie is all that shelters them from discovery by a dangerous man from their past.
Drawn together by circumstance, Conall soon develops a fatherly relationship with Jamie—as well as romantic feelings for Aileen. But even as the couple accepts their growing affection for one another, time runs out for Aileen and her son: after years of hiding, they have been found. Conall lost his family once—he will do all in his power not to let history repeat itself .
This book has a beautifully, almost haunting, setting. The green, lush Highlands of Scotland. But it occurs right after a horrible time between the English and Scottish, where many clans have been tossed from their villages and are living in dire straits. Many left during this time period.
The pacing of this story starts out slow, as the author introduces the stubborn, delightful characters. But the slow pacing didn’t detract from it. It was steady and well-written, and knowing part of Miss Leslie’s secret kept me turning the pages to see if the villain would ever find them.
War hero Conall Stewart is a quiet, yet charming hero. The way he meets Jamie, Miss Leslie’s son, is cute and I loved the bond the man and boy formed as they worked together. Jamie, the eight year old boy, is probably my favorite character in this story. He is at such a vulnerable, yet captivating age. Every scene with him delighted me.
This story had a good mix of awesome story-telling elements—intriguing characters, action, suspense, secrets, villains and danger, and, my favorite of course, romance. I loved the way Miss Leslie and Conall became friends, and eventually formed an attachment. So cute. The Highland setting is well written and made me feel as if I was standing on green cliffs and looking out to the rough Atlantic Ocean. I rated it 5 on Amazon, 4 on Goodreads, and 4 on my very picky Sweet Scale. Overall, I’d highly recommend this one as a great historical romance filled with rich characters.
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