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