In a departure from her nationally bestselling Highland Lord series, Karen Ranney brings us another emotionally intense and passionate story that will speak to her fans.
When Adam Moncrief, Colonel of the Highland Scots Fusiliers, agrees to write a letter to Catherine Dunnan, one of his officers' wives, a forbidden correspondence develops and he soon becomes fascinated with her even though Catherine thinks the letters come from her husband, Harry Dunnan. Although Adam stops writing after Harry is killed, a year after his last letter he still can't forget her.Then when he unexpectedly inherits the title of the Duke of Lymond, Adam decides the timing is perfect to pay a visit to the now single and available Catherine.What he finds, however, is not the charming, spunky woman he knew from her letters, but a woman stricken by grief, drugged by laudanum and in fear for her life. In order to protect her, Adam marries Catherine, hoping that despite her seemingly fragile state, he will once again discover the woman he fell in love with.
This retelling of the Cyrano story begins promisingly with the return of Colonel Moncrief to Scotland from the French and Indian wars to apprise Catherine Dunnan of husband Harry's death in battle. Married only a few months, she'd truly fallen in love with Harry through the letters he'd sent faithfully from the New World. What she doesn't know is that the author of those letters was not the callow Harry but Moncrief, who has fallen in love with her. Determined to rescue Catherine from her grim surroundings, Moncrief marries her in haste--and then must decide how to reveal his secret. The story glides along evenly, offering glimpses of other mysteries at its core, but even the revelation that someone is trying to kill Catherine feels unexciting. The earnest, noble lovers have little external conflict to keep them apart, and after a while, readers get the sense that they're just marking time waiting for one of them to eject Harry's ghost from their marriage once and for all. Though Ranney (So in Love, etc.) is known for her darker, almost gothic stories, this outing lacks the heightened drama that would push it out of the drawing room and into the bedroom. Agent, Damaris Rowland at the Rowland and Axelrod Agency. (May)
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April 30, 2005
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