For Connor, duty means everything. Years ago, it forced him to break Genevieve's heart and marry another woman—one who made him miserable. Now a widower at odds with his son, he's determined to put his heart first.
As Connor and Genevieve begin to find their way toward a future together, they can't escape the past. Someone is bent upon revenge against Connor and his feelings for Genevieve make her the perfect target.
In this newly revised novel released by Carina Press, lovers of historical romance will encounter the unlikely situation of an English governess being hired by a Scottish laird. The political relations between England and Scotland were never easy, sometimes worse than others. In this short novel the heroine is known to Connor Douglas, the clan laird, a man recently widowed and trying to raise a resentful and rebellious son by himself unsuccessfully. But as is so often the case, behind the obvious reasons for hiring Miss Genevieve Fitzsimmons, there is far more to the story and it is that "back story" and personal history between these two that is the setting for this historical romance. Because romance it is--frustrated and heart-breaking though it may be. On Connor's side, he has endured a marriage that was arranged for him at his birth. That it was massively unhappy is evident by his wife's suicide--a happening for which Connor is blamed by some. On Genevieve's side, there is the long, ten-year history of having been forgotten, rejected, left with nothing but broken promises, and a determination that even though she is destitute and must accept this position, she will NOT allow Connor to break her heart once again. Ten years earlier they had spent several weeks together at her grandfather's English estate--Connor's father and Genevieve's grandfather were business associates--and both had declared their love for one another. Yet Connor returned to Scotland and married another. She'll teach his son, save some money, and then she'll be out of there!!
As always this story is shrouded in the prejudices of the Scottish against the English and this is most evident in the son's attitude toward Genevieve right from the start. But this lady is thick-skinned and basically a loving and compassionate woman who recognizes the sadness in this boy, the loss of his mother, the constant attempt to win his father's rare approval, and his intrinsic loneliness. She manages to win over others in the household as well as finding a way to get along with Connor, a man who mystifies her, whose rather cool reception puzzles and hurts, and even the housekeeper who seems to genuinely like her. Through it all she guards her heart while trying to find the truth of Connor's wife's suicide. Enter another Scottish beauty who is obviously trolling for a husband and whose sights are set on Connor. The story is an interesting insight into the politics of courtship as it was in that century.
Amid all the ups and downs, the kindnesses and misunderstandings, the welcoming demeanor of some and the overt rejection of others, Genevieve's story and her hopes and disappointments of the past and for the future form the core of the story. Her growing connection to Connor' s son and his father are the truly grand parts of the book. That she is resented by the hopeful bride-to-be is right up front. But hidden behind the scenes is an enemy who will put her life in serious danger in the hopes of bringing life-long misery and sadness into Connor's life as retribution for his wife's unhappiness and subsequent death.
There's lots going on in this short novel but it is a very well written story and the author has used an economy of words that is a testimony of her writing skill. I did not get the sense that the resolution of the crisis was hurried or that the story was brought to an abrupt ending. I had a sense that the characters were well developed and the revelation of the enemy was a complete surprise. I love a well-guarded secret! I also appreciated the good grammar, good editing, and the obvious care in preparing the manuscript for publishing. So all in all, this was a fine reading experience and one I was delighted to experience. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.
This book was released by Carina Press on 01 August 2011.