THE SCOTTISH DUKE – Karen Ranney
A Perfect 10
Scotland – 1861
Lorna Gordon fell on hard times when her gentleman father, a botanist, died. She had no family and was lucky to be able to be hired as a maid at Blackhall Castle, home of the Duke of Kinross. Lorna works hard, but at the same time is determined to get her late father's book published. Slipping into the castle library to work after hours, she has observed the duke as he wanders his home at night. Every maid in the castle is in love with the handsome duke, and Lorna isn't immune. One night she makes a decision that will affect the rest of her life, as well as the duke's life. At a costume ball, Lorna dresses as Marie Antoinette, mask and all, and is noticed by the slightly tipsy duke, who is bored to tears with the entire event. He has no idea who she is, or why he is so smitten, but what transpires causes an upheaval at the castle.
Alex Russell, the duke, has closed off his heart to love. Losing his father, younger brother and sister to illness when he was sixteen has affected him dramatically. When he did marry, he neglected his wife, and when she sought love elsewhere, and died in childbirth; Alex's heart grew colder. His tryst with the mysterious Marie Antoinette affected him more than he thought it should. So when he finds her months later, all he wants to do is make things right.
Lorna's independence has left her in dire circumstances, and she is stunned when the duke is once again in her life. What transpires afterwards angers a few members of the castle household, and may prove dangerous to Lorna.
I love all of Karen Ranney's books, but THE SCOTTISH DUKE is a Perfect 10 because it is even more emotional and captivating. The characters are wonderful and the writing is exceptional. Long time readers will thoroughly enjoy this novel, and new readers are encouraged to join the rest of us!