Elis Madison's Reviews > A Scandalous Scot

A Scandalous Scot by Karen Ranney
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's review
Aug 12, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: ghoulies-and-ghosties, era-victorian, what-no-kilts, use-your-words, romance-only-romance
Read from August 11 to 12, 2012

Morgan MacCraig has to skulk home to Ballindair Castle because he's so scandalized London that his political career is over and nobody likes him anymore. Except his boyhood friend Andrew, and it doesn't take long before you'll start wondering if that's a good thing. Andrew accompanies him home to give his gentleman-parts a break from all his sundry mistresses, while Morgan broods about his lost honor and the fact that he'll never measure up to his sainted father.

Jean Cameron a/k/a MacDonald works as a maid at Ballindair Castle. It's a long fall for her and her younger sister, the slutty beautiful Catriona, but their aunt has offered them this work, since the alternative for girls from a fallen family would be to become mistresses. Jean isn't really mistress material--she's a bit of a wren, so we're told frequently through the book, but there were lots of offers for Catriona in Inverness, where they hail from. So Jean throws herself into the work, whatever she's asked to do, and tries to be glad for it, for the sake of her sister's innocence. They use a fake name because if they let on who they were, people would be afraid to drink the tea if they were the ones who brought it.

Jean's hobby, when she's not boiling sheets or cleaning privies (or staring agog at the lord's penis after she barges into his room without knocking)

... is ghost-hunting. She has read about the ghosts of the castle, and she lurks around in the shadows at night trying to catch them haunting. Why? Well, because she reckons she's at least better off than they are. Not sure that explains it, but...

Oh, did I mention she barged in on the lord when he was naked? Well, that was their second meeting. The first one was when she thought he was a ghost and tried to run through him because she was late to work. Let's just say they don't start off on good footing. Morgan doesn't much like anyone right now, especially himself, and this little wren keeps flapping up in his face at the damnedest times.

A fair amount of the book is spent hinting around at Morgan's ruinous scandal and Jean's tragic past without telling us anything. I'll spoil the secrets here so you won't be as frustrated as I was: (view spoiler) I suppose it was bad enough at the time, but after all the buildup I really expected something shocking.

The rest of the book revolves around what amounts to a bedroom farce, which results in the wrong sister being "ruined" and Morgan struggling with more issues of honor, while Andrew of the wife-and-five-kiddies-in-the-country-and-a-dozen-or-so-mistresses-in-London shags Ballindair's version of Morgan's ex-wife, mutating a new form of social disease, no doubt. More secrets are revealed, and the population of Ballindair's ghosts expands a bit. If the romance part sounds a little like Cinderella, it's apparently supposed to; at one point Morgan tells Jean about the French version, Cendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de Verre (I personally like the German version of the name better; Aschenputtel just has a ring to it.)

I picked this one up thinking I'd be getting kilts and capers. Usually Scotty romances are full of clan wars and high adventure. I wasn't disappointed, exactly--there's some really nice dialogue in the story, and I liked Jean quite a lot. Still, I wasn't as emotionally caught up with this tale as I wanted to be, but that's probably me, since I'm not so much into the "loves me loves me not" angsty stories. Nothing to dislike here, though, so it gets a solid "middlin'" rating.
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Reading Progress

08/11/2012 "I noticed this book some years ago but didn't buy. The price back then @ somewhere around $18 (print, I think) was way out of the park for an indie author. They've come down to a much more competitive price so it's on my blackberry now, for times when I'm stuck somewhere without a book. We'll see if it rates."

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Elis Madison P.S. Ignore the "reading progress" comment. It belongs to a different book. That's what I get for having more than one on my "currently reading" list.

message 2: by Ilze (new)

Ilze Your reviews are so entertaining!

Elis Madison Thank you, Ilze!!

Meera I was going to write a review, but you summed it up perfectly! This is great!

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