A Borrowed Scot
by Karen Ranney
A Borrowed Scot is a powerfully emotional love story set in 1860s Scotland featuring a damaged American hero and his fey Scottish wife.
Veronica McLeod and Montgomery Fairfax meet at a club for the occult in London which had been recommended to both as a venue where they might find some answers to some pesky occult questions: Veronica has the Sight and Montgomery has inherited a mirror said to possess magical abilities. Neither had their questions answered, for Veronica is drugged and about to be used a a sacrificial offering when Montgomery steps in and rescues her. However, no good deed goes unpunished and Veronica's uncle, a powerful earl, simultaneously kicks her out of his home and demands that Montgomery marry her. He does, knowing that ruin and destitution awaits Veronica if he doesn't, and they pack up and head to Scotland.
Montgomery is an American of Scottish descent who has just inherited the Scottish title of Lord Fairfax. He is the last of his American family, everyone else having been killed in the Civil War where he found himself fighting for the Union against the rest of his family. He has so much pain and guilt that he has conjured up in his mind the ghosts of his brothers to keep him company. He was an officer in the Balloon Corps and he uses his obsessive work on a steering system for his balloons as a way to keep from dealing with the world - especially his new wife.
Veronica had a happy childhood in Scotland until her parents died and she went to live with her English relations who treated her with disdain. She is able to feel the emotions of those around her and her family has very few noble ones. She has one of the best reactions to being forced into marriage that I've ever read - she goes to the privacy of her room and dances with joy. She is so happy to be leaving her truly awful situation - anything would be better. But, she is almost overwhelmed by the pain she feels in her husband, his loneliness and isolation. She tries to bridge the gulf between them and they manage to on a sexual level, though they've a long way to go to find something deeper.
I thoroughly enjoyed Veronica and Montgomery. There is a lot of angst in their personalities and relationship, and I couldn't help but mourn with Montgomery and celebrate his slow emergence from darkness. Veronica is a more open person, very forthright, and just what Montgomery needs.
This is a meaty, moving and emotionally satisfying read - just what I expect from Karen Ranney.
Reviewed by Cheryl Sneed, April 6, 2011
April 2011, 384 pages
Though she possesses remarkable talents and astonishing insight, Veronica MacLeod knows nothing about the man who appears from nowhere to prevent her from committing the most foolish and desperate act of her life. Recently named Lord Fairfax of Doncaster Hall, the breathtaking, secretive stranger agrees to perform the one act of kindness that can rescue the Scottish beauty from scandal and disgrace - by taking Veronica as his bride.
Journeying with Montgomery Fairfax to his magnificent estate in the Highlands, Veronica knows deep in her heart that this is a man she can truly love - a noble soul, a caring and passionate lover whose touch awakens feelings she's never before known. Yet there are ghosts in Montgomery's shuttered past that haunt him still. Unless Veronica can somehow unlock the enigma that is her new husband, their powerful passion could be undone by the sins and sorrows of yesterday.