Grant Roberson, the Scottish Earl of Straithern, is in a hurry. His two brothers have recently died from what the doctor says is an inherited blood disease, and it is only a matter of time before Grant succumbs as well. Grant, however, believes that his brothers were murdered and that he is the next target. Regardless of whether Grant dies of natural - or unnatural - causes, he needs an heir quickly. His closest relation (and it is a tenuous connection at that) is housed in Australia, making both the opportunity to murder and the suitability to inherit moot. Grant quickly settles on the doctor's daughter, a reclusive woman who would be a fine doctor herself if she were allowed to practice. Grant himself is a scientist, specializing in electrics, and thinks they can rub along well together, leaving each other to their own pursuits during the day.
The fiancée, Arabella, along with her father and companion, Gillian Cameron, arrives for a month's stay before the wedding and it is a tense situation. Arabella is consumed with her medical studies to the exclusion of all else. She can't abide the idea of marriage and can barely bring herself to be civil to anyone, let alone Grant. Grant begins to have second thoughts - thoughts that tend toward Gillian.
Gillian is the daughter of a good and wealthy Edinburgh family who turned her out of their house when she was found to be pregnant. She has paid dearly for her youthful indiscretion and is reminded daily that she should be grateful for her position as companion, and given only slightly veiled threats that she could wind up back on the streets if she doesn't "handle" Arabella better, turning her out to be worthy of an earl.
Gillian is also drawn to Grant, and a strong friendship develops between them based on mutual respect, curiosity and attraction. They are, frankly, the only two normal and pleasant people in the house. But Grant is engaged, and an honorable man. They can never be together.
There are deep, dark mysteries surrounding the house and its history, which also tie in to Grant's present endangerment. The mystery was very well done, and while I had worked out the "who" of it early on, the "why" eluded me until near the end when revelation upon revelation had me going, "uh-oh…" and then, "eeewwww!" and then, "oooooh…" and then, "awwww…." Good stuff, and an exciting ending.
The relationship between Gillian and Grant is by turns sweet and intellectual and passionate, as a seemingly impossible love slowly overcomes them. Watching them work their way through to their HEA is a treat, and one I highly recommend to you.
Reviewed by Cheryl Sneed October 25, 2007