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Saturday, October 26, 2013

{Book Review} MacLaurin's Lady by Julie Tetel Andresen

MacLaurin's Lady
by Julie Tetel Andresen
Publisher: Harlequin
Publishing date: 1995
Length: 354 pages
Source: Review copy from tour organizer

Intrigue and adventure beckoned all who dared to enter the enchanted Castle Cairn . . .

But little did Elizabeth Cameron suspect that its winding passages also guarded the secrets to her own mysterious past. And would lead her to her one true love.

Ian MacLaurin had come to the Highlands to put to rest the demons of his youth. But the great stone walls of his ancestral home seemed unwilling to cooperate, until they drew him into the embrace of a most unlikely siren . . . the bewitching Elizabeth Cameron

 This was a fun, Scottish tale involving many aspects well known to the romantic novel. Although its formula can be called typical, its details were uncommon, fun, mysterious, and intriguing! The great big, old, stone castle with all its accoutrements - the secret passages leading into all kinds of rooms, the great admirable library stacked with volumes and volumes of leather-covered tomes reaching high into the vaulted ceiling, the endless halls of the castle covered in dark old wood panels, the wealth of memories of its past printed permanently by its occupants for centuries, the highlands and fields and moors and meadows and lochs of old Scotland...all made my heart go pitterpat. I've a soft spot for descriptions such as these and for Scotland in general!

After such rich setting details, there are the well-developed characters that you feel as if you know them, that they may just be people you know set into this fantasy setting, as they are lively and realistic.

This tale focuses on the old unrequited love and mistimed union scenario --a union that will never become reality due to jealous rivalry. The children born of these ill-fated unions often bear the brunt and brutal consequences of a society's well-entrenched prejudices and are often at the mercy of malicious characters who look to benefit from this secret knowledge, motivated by greed and vengeance without a care as to the innocents whom they will harm.

The lady in this tale is Elizabeth Cameron who decides to defy her father's wishes and attend the Royal Historical Society's summer meetings. Always a strong-willed and independent woman in nature, she defies her father following her compelling desire to attend the function; she learns much more than she bargained for and it all begins with a bundle of old love letters she received from an anonymous sender.  Elizabeth had hoped the historians at the summer society meeting could help unravel the mystery shrouding these love letters, perhaps even assisting to find the counterparts in some way.

There at Cairn Castle she encounters the disinherited son of the castle, MacLaurin himself. She learns that his presence, after ten years of absence, is to retrieve a letter buried among the books being sent to MacLaurin's uncle, the castle's new owner whose passion revolves around books, the history of Scotland, and the genealogy of Scottish clans.

Elizabeth decides to assist MacLaurin in locating this letter which can harm her charge, Allegra, her cousin's illegitimately conceived child by her lover, MacLaurin's own friend ,Bev. Maclaurin's friend wishes to keep his love child's identity a secret, for the child's sake as well as his own reputation, and they must retrieve this letter which had inadvertently ended up among the castle's many tomes. What should've been something simple, turns into anything but as these two are constantly thrown off their path by various events. Elizabeth discovers her own birth is not as she knew, derailing all that she knows and throwing her world off her axis. She begins to connect the oddities in her life. A strong woman, she is surprised and shocked, but ultimately decides to uncover the whole truth about her mother and MacLaurin's father.

With ghosts in a castle, intrigue, mystery, and what looks to be like a heartbreaking end, MACLAURIN'S LADY is a well-developed tale that is full of wit and fun, love and love lost, and much more. If you like reading about a hero, a damsel, a rescue, adventures, and need an escape for a few hours to a lovely bit of romance in a Scottish setting, pick this up! 

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