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Beauty Among Ruins

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  344 ratings  ·  211 reviews
In Ciesielski’s latest sweeping romance, an American heiress finds herself in Scotland amid the fallout of the Great War, and a wounded Scottish laird comes face-to-face with his past and a woman he never could have expected.

American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she i
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published January 12th 2021 by Thomas Nelson (first published January 2021)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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Randi Annie Framnes
Beauty among Ruins is the standalone novel by J'nell Ciesielski, published by Thomas Nelson. The year is 1915 and we follow socialite Lily Durham when she is sent to England as punishment for having played too many tricks on her parents. They hope she will find an eligible husband, but Lily takes position as nurse’s aid at Kinclavoch Castle convalescent home for WWI soldiers in Scotland. The matron thinks her an air-head unable to do any kind of real work and challenges her with the worst assign ...more
Karren  Sandercock
Flighty American heiress Lily Durham is banished to England to stay with her cousin Bertie at her family’s estate, world war one begins and she’s stranded. Bertie decides to do her bit and becomes a nurse; Lily trains as a nurse’s aide and off to Scotland they go for their first posting. Kinclavoch castle is the home of Alec MacGregor, it’s a crumbling ancient Scottish Highland estate that he’s been desperately trying to keep financially afloat since his father passed away and it’s being used as ...more
Melissa Tagg
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I could not possibly have adored this book more. I read J'nell Ciesielski's The Socialite earlier this year and immediately became a fan, so I would've read Beauty Among Ruins no matter the setting or storyline. But when I discovered it took place in Scotland (and featured a Scottish hero 😍) I went from eager to I-need-this-book-now! And it completely lived up to my readerly hopes. I loooooved the Scottish setting—an old castle serving as a convalescent home during the Great War. I enjoyed the m ...more
A historical romance set in Scotland during the First World War between an American socialite Lily Durham and a Scottish laird Alec MacGregor. I listened to this as an audiobook and liked it. It is a clean romance with a mystery angle to it and a good setting. I have previously heard Kate Rudd's narration for the book Cul-de-Sac and really enjoyed it. Her narration for this book is clear as well which made it easy for me to follow the story, but the Scottish accent she used for the Scottish char ...more
Rachel McMillan
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A sparkling and winsome American socialite is a fish out of water when she finds herself assigned as nurse to Tommies convalescing in a crumbling estate turned hospital. The castle and its grounds are under the tenuous care of Alec who watches as centuries of his family's history are sold against the world chugging away from titles and landed gentry, into the formidable new social castes the Great War has forged.

Together, Alec and Lily are sparks and dynamite in this gorgeously descriptive take
Aimee (Getting Your Read On)
I'm always on the lookout for books by this author. She excels at giving me characters who grow and develop throughout the book. Lily was questionable to me in the beginning and I wasn't sure I was going to like her but it didn't take too long for me to change my mind. I loved how hard Lily worked to bring light and sunshine to those who needed it. I always knew I was going to like Alec even when he was growling, brooding and barking. His sense of duty and loyalty were there from the beginning a ...more
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"You are the most extraordinary inconvenience that has ever happened to me."

Truer words were never spoken from the mouth of Alex MacGregor, known in the surrounding area as Lord Strathem, a virtual hermit who rarely appeared in public. When Alex agreed to convalesce wounded soldiers within the walls of his dilapidated Scottish castle, he never expected an American heiress to arrive amongst the nurses aides; Lily Durham was all joy, and sunshine, and eternal optimism wrapped up in a bossy little
Eva K (journeyofthepages)
Beauty Among Ruins written by J'nell Ciesielski and Narrated by Kate Rudd is a well told story about an American woman of elite status with strong opinions and impulses, Lily. Her recklessness gets her sent from New York to the Scottish Highlands during WWI where she meets her brooding beau, Alec. The narrator skillfully tells this story but it is written at a very slow pace. The plot does not develop quickly but rather it takes some time to build. The descriptions of the emotions and personalit ...more
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lily Durham an American Socialite was banished to England by her parents to learn how to become a proper lady. Unfortunately while there, the Great War has started, and finds Lily and Betty working as nurses to help wounded soldiers in Scotland. Wounded soldiers are convalescing in Alec MacGregor home, the Kinclavoch Castle whom he has spent his whole life preserving.

Ciesielski wrote a gorgeous story rich in amazing historical fiction details in the backdrop of World War I Scotland, a bit of my
Literary Redhead
An intriguing romance-mystery set in glorious Scotland during WWI. Can American socialite Lily Durham open the wounded heart of laird Alec MacGregor as they work together to uncover a threat to Kinclavoch Castle?

Despite a slow pace at times, I fell in love with the beautifully written tale and compelling characters who grow in depth as the mystery unfolds. BEAUTY AMONG RUINS is enhanced by its “clean” approach to romance and a fine mystery that keeps you guessing. Lang may yer lum reek!

4 of 5 S
American heiress, Lily Durham, has been sent by her parents to her aunt and uncle in England in hopes she will settle down, return, and marry one of the eligible gentleman selected by her parents. But Lily has dreams and desires of her own. When her cousin takes nurse's training and heads to Scotland to help injured soldiers coming back from World War 1, Lily joins her. They are posted to Kinclavoch in Scotland, a debt ridden castle now owned by Alec, Lord Strathem, who is allowing part of it to ...more
Pepper Basham
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of J'nell's writing. I love the way she does dialogue and her fantastic ability to write details, especially historical ones. And USUALLY, I end up loving heroes over heroines in fiction (especially a Scottish brooder like Alec), but this book...well, Lily STOLE the show. Her personality, optimism, and spunk were refreshing and fun.
The storyline and excellent characters kept the pace moving forward and Alec and Lily's romantic tension was WONDERFUL!
So what do you get with Among
Abigail Harris
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: remo-2021
In a novel staring a character I didn't expect to like I found a new favorite author!

The setting for "Beauty Among Ruins" was ripe for the picking in my opinion. How could it not be with WWI, Scotland, an old castle, a gruff laird who has a sweet sister, and a misunderstood heroine?!

Yet, at the very first I didn't expect to like Lily for I thought she was just going to rebel... How wrong I was! She grew into a charming character that I needed to know what happened to.

Alec is the same kind of gru
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
A lively American nurse brings joy to a decrepit Scottish castle used as a hospital during the First World War.

Beauty Among Ruins by J'nell Ciesielski is a lovely historical romance between a wealthy American nurse and an impoverished Scottish Laird during the First World War.

Lily was a young and wealthy American sent to England by her parents to spend time with her aristocratic relatives. They hoped the time away from home would help curb her wild personality and make her behavior more ladylike
Dec 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-arcs
Beauty Among Ruins follows Lily, an American girl who is sent by her family (who finds her too reckless for her own good) to England where she will aid as a nurse to help men coming back from the war. There she meets the owner of the castle, Alec MacGregor who even though he encounters financial difficulties, is trying his best to keep his land and property in his family.

Overall, this was a nice story but it didn't grab my attention like I wanted. I didn't fell in love with the romance which ma
Suzie Waltner
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The setting, characters, and time period in Beauty Among Ruins made this book, written by J'nell Ciesielski , my favorite of hers yet.

Let’s start with the setting. A castle in Scotland? Yes, please. However, said castle is currently housing injured British soldiers as well as the family while also in need of some major repairs.
This book is set during World War I and introduced me to a new aspect of the history of the war with Scotland’s involvement. When a book makes me want to research facts, I
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this story by a new to me author! The setting of a Scottish castle during wartime was really enjoyable to read about. I listened to the audio book and thought that the narrator did a good job with this story. She used a light brogue when reading the Scottish characters’ lines. The accent was not too heavy and very easy for me to understand, yet definitely sounded Scottish. Her tone of voice also changed to a pleasant accent for the main character, Lily.

I liked the way the ro
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
J’nell Ciesielski has delivered an entertaining WWI era romance about an American heiress swept away to Europe - Scotland to be exact. There, she takes on the role of a nurse in a dark and dreary castle. Romance blooms while a series of mysterious events threaten the future of the estate.
I enjoyed this read. There were plenty of antagonists to keep me guessing who the real villain was. As I worked through the story, I was reminded of Beauty and the Beast although I would not call this a retelli
Jamele (BookswithJams)
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, partner
I LOVED this one so much! It is the first physical book I have read in I can’t remember when, and let me tell you, I was excited to dive in and be within the walls of a Scottish castle and all of its history and learn everything along with Lily. Lily is an American socialite in 1914 who bucks tradition (just how I like my protagonists) and her parents send her overseas to live with her cousin Bertie as she is not quite falling in line like they think she should. As the Great War breaks out, she ...more
"Aye, but you seem to have smiles, and sometimes that is what is needed more than a clean apron."

What a delightful and enchanting historical romance set during WWI. The book does not boast of detailed accounts of the war nor does it have a faith element in the story, but it does boast of raw, palpable emotions, breath-taking beauty, and the heart's call for home. If you enjoy historical romance, this is a book not to be missed. It made me laugh out loud from the well-placed humor and banter, wee
Received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for a fair review
A historical fiction romance set in Scotland “Beauty Among Ruins”, by J’nell Ciesielski (Thomas Nelson), features a wounded hero troubled by the weight of the family heritage and for not being able to enlist and an intrepid, bold heroine with a compassionate nature.
In the beginning, Alec is a very appealing brooding, stoic hero. Swamped by family responsibilities and a “legacy of debts”, Alec has a deep sense of honor and duty and a pe
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
This book is among other things, a romance. It’s also historically based fiction and somewhat of a mystery. The love between Lily and Alec is immediate and heartwarming. The novel takes place mainly in Scotland in 1914 during the war that’s raging in Europe. Mysterious happenings threaten Kinclavoch’s future. Lily is a spoiled socialite used to having her own way and Alec is a brooding, inward character. Find out how they connect with each other and who is behind the disastrous events at the cas ...more
This is my first J’nell Ciesielski book, but it won’t be my last! I really enjoyed the writing style and the storyline. It was romantic, had great characters, and I loved that it was set in Scotland, in a castle, no less!

I loved Alec and how Lily slowly broke through his gruff personality with with her always sunny disposition. I also loved how she didn’t really let things get her down. The slight mystery aspect was interesting as well as its resolution.
I will definitely be reading more of J’Nel
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

I absolutely loved this book! I was immediately hooked by the setting of an old castle falling into disrepair and its mysterious lord. While banished from the States, young Lily Durham finds herself trapped by the developing war in Europe. She accompanies her cousin to serve as a nurse's aid at a Scottish castle that has been transformed into a convalescent home for soldiers. While at first I thought the heroine was rather frivolous, I found her heart and irrepressible spirit engaging.
Oct 24, 2020 rated it liked it
This World War I era novel is a bit Downton Abbey-esque, so fans of the show will find a lot to enjoy here. I enjoyed it myself, though I thought it would have benefited by being shorter. I can easily see it making a fun miniseries for TV, but the reading experience is a bit too strung out.

(I do have to give props for the use of Inveraray as the model for the Scottish castle... Even without paying attention to the cover, I recognized it immediately from the description! Super gratifying to a pas
Caroline arrow_reads
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing

New York heiress, Lily Durham feels lost in the society parties and matchmaking. She slowly begins to find herself among the wild countryside of Scotland. Where she becomes a nurse to the wounded British soldiers of WWI who find themselves at Kinclavoch Castle. There she also meets the Laird of this castle, Alec MacGregor who is desperately trying to save his family home and history from his father’s past debts. I thoroughly enjoyed this story of adventure, mystery, and most of all love. ⁣

4.5 ⭐️
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the first page of this book I fell in love with Lily. I loved her zest for life, her spunk and her desire to want more out of life. Despite all she had been through, she learned to live an I admired that.
Alec was a wonderful character too. He suffered under the burden of trying to pick up the pieces after his father had messed things up, his sister's health and his mother's stubbornness and a slimy journalist that just wouldn't quit
I admired his strength under the circumstances and loved hi
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just love how J’nell tells a story! Lily, an American Socialite was sent to England by her mother for punishment for her unladylike like ways, where she follows her cousin to a castle as a nurse. Well not really a nurse, but she figures she can learn, it can’t be that hard, right. As soon as she gets there, she can tell she is not wanted, and looked down upon. She is snubbed as an American.

Lily does her best to try and do what is asked of her, but often she mistakenly finds herself in predicam
Diane Peterson
4.5 stars.
If you are a reader that loves fast action and lots of hot sexy bits, this is not the book for you. BUT if you love a slow burn romance with gradual character development and a bit of intrigue, there is much to love about Beauty Among Ruins.

Lily Durham is an outspoken, fun-loving New York socialite, and a great disappointment to her persnickety mother. Her parents send her to live with relatives in England hoping she will mature. When World War I erupts Lily finds herself working as a
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that I will say that The Socialite will always be my favorite. This author does have talent. I love her stories but somehow I was jest a little disappointed in this book.
All the ingredients the book had to offer was there but the way the Scots spoke kinda threw me off.
I did have a little trouble understanding the language they spoke.
I will say I learned a lot while reading this book. Historical fiction really is the best teacher.
I guess maybe it just wasn't for me
I don't know. I will tr
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With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who no ...more

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