The Lass Wore Black by Karen Ranney
Series: Scottish Sisters #2
Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Genres: Historical Romance
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Catriona Cameron was once famed for her seductive beauty and charm. Now she saw no one, hiding from the world…and no one dared break through her self-imposed exile.
No one, that is, until Mark Thorburn burst into her home, and Catriona’s darkened world began to have color again. Thorburn, secretly the heir to an Earldom, claimed he was a footman. But Catriona didn’t care about the scandal their passion could cause…for this very touch sparked her back to a life of sensuality, one she thought she’d never have again.
Little does she know that Mark is part of masquerade. One that will end when they become the target of a madman set on revenge. Mark realizes he will have to do more than win her love…he will have to save her life as well.
After quite a bit of recovery Catriona is taken home to Edinburgh and is taken care of by her aunt by marriage. Her Aunt Dina is beside herself with worry. She believes that Catriona is slowing trying to kill herself by not eating. She won’t leave her suite of rooms except at night to take a walk when everyone else is asleep. Catriona won’t even see any doctors – she’s through with them. Dina decides to ask for help from a doctor she knows, Mark Thorburn. Mark is a saint. He helps not only the rich but is also engaged by the city to go into the slums of the city to take care of the poor. He is kind and compassionate and really an all around good guy. When Catriona refuses to open the door to him, however, he decides to do things an unconventional way and kicks her door in. He tells her that he’s the new footman and then forces her to eat.
The relationship between the footman and Catriona is contentious to say the least with Mark browbeating her into eating but they also start to talk. Mark hopes that he can win her confidence and then he’ll be able to examine her. Catriona is having none of it. She constantly wears a veil so that no one can see her scarring. She wears black all the time and Mark believes it’s a sign of Catriona mourning the loss of her beauty. The two become friends and then lovers but Catriona still doesn’t know that Mark is a doctor. When that news comes out Catriona feels used and Mark’s not sure what to do. Catriona is a woman who now has time to examine her life and she’s not sure she likes what she sees. Yes, she’s been in mourning for her beauty because she knows there’s not a whole lot inside that she has to offer anyone. Besides – she believes that no one would love her because of her scarred face. When Mark shows up she’s rude and mean but eventually she starts to realize that you attract more bees with honey than with vinegar (and I don’t mean that in a manipulative way). She realizes what a total bitch she’s been and decides to change her ways.
The romance between Mark and Catriona is…different. He’s not always there because he has patients and this leaves Catriona a long time to sit and think – which is a good thing. Unfortunately it didn’t leave all that much time for the romance, except sex. Yes, they do talk and get to know each other but as lovely as that was it lacked something. I have no idea what that something is however but it was like the electricity was missing between the hero and heroine. IDK. I know that I was a bit shocked when Catriona asked Mark to sleep with her for money – and he did it…and took the money. Whaaaa? I know he didn’t do it for the money but it just seemed wrong to me.
I have to say that I liked seeing Catriona grow in this book because she definitely did. Ms. Ranney did a wonderful job of turning Catriona around from her previous incarnation. I could see Catriona growing more in the future and that was great. Mark was wonderful as well and I really liked his character. I thought he had the perfect personality and disposition to be with Catriona. I did have an issue with his pretending to be a footman as I’m never a fan of people pretending to be something they’re not – it’s just never a good thing in a romance novel as it never works out well. There was also a suspense part of the book that had to deal with Andrew, Catriona’s old lover, and his obsession with Catriona but that was definitely more background than anything.
In the end it was a good read that I had some issues with but an entertaining read overall.
Rating: 3.25 out of 5