Karen Ranney ~ 4 1/2 and 5 Star Reviews

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An American in Scotland
Karen Ranney
Avon
Mass Market
978-0062337528
****1/2


     Rose comes to Scotland to sell cotton in order to feed her family, who reside on a plantation in South Carolina. The United States is in the thick of the Civil War, and many are suffering. When Rose arrives at Duncan McLain’s home, she faints from hunger and exhaustion. As the generous MacIain family cares for and feeds her, she fights guilt, for she has allowed lies about her identity to stand.
     Duncan feels compassion for his widowed American cousin and wants to help her. He also needs cotton for his struggling mill. It takes some convincing, but he agrees to buy her cotton. But he does not want to take her with him when he retrieves it, because he does not want her there for the risky blockade run. They travel to Nassau and then South Carolina, where secrets come to light.
     In Karen Ranney's latest, she wisely leaves Rose a mystery, revealing her secrets gradually. Setting part of the tale in Nassau and South Carolina adds great richness to the story. The characters, good and evil, will linger in readers' minds long after the last page is turned.
Heather Nordahl Files

Scotsman of My Dreams
Karen Ranney
Avon
Mass Market
978 0062337504
****1/2


     Minerva Todd does not know where her younger brother Neville is, and she's sick with worry. She knows that when he disappeared, he was in the company of Dalton MacIain, the notorious Earl of Rathsmere. She decides that she will not leave him alone until he tells her where Neville is. So when his servant turns her away, she continues her efforts.
     Dalton has a well earned reputation, but going to fight in the American Civil War changed him. Now a bullet has blinded him, and he's beginning to lose himself in whiskey. At first Minerva and Dalton don't like each other at all, but that begins to change... even though Neville is the one who blinded him and Minerva refuses to believe that could be true. Karen Ranney's latest features brilliant dialogue, complex characters, and a well crafted plot. Readers will relish devouring this one.
Heather Nordahl Files

 
 

 


In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams

Karen Ranney

Avon

Mass Market

978‑0062337474

****1/2

 

     Glynis MacIain has loved Lennox Cameron ever since she was a small child, but she thinks he will soon be marrying someone else. She can’t bear to watch him with another woman, so she flees Glasgow for London and quickly marries a diplomat. She spends the next seven years in Cairo and Washington, D.C., a thorny place to be during the American Civil War. Now that she's a widow, she comes back home, and she discovers Lennox did not marry after all.

     When she fled all those years ago, Lennox had no idea it would be so long until he saw her again. The Civil War affects Scottish fortunes as well. There is a great deal of sympathy for the Confederacy, and Lennox is building a ship for a Confederate blockade runner. MacIain family fortunes rest with the other side. The family mill is on the brink of financial ruin, and Glynis' Washington past has returned to haunt her in the form of a Union spy who wants information about Lennox.

     When readers pick up a Karen Ranney novel, they know they’re in for an intricately plotted tale replete with fascinating characters and surprising twists. Her appealing hero and heroine have fabulous chemistry and intelligence.

Heather Nordahl Files

 

 

The Witch of Clan Sinclair
Karen Ranney
Avon
Mass Market
978‑0062242464
****1/2

Mairi Sinclair has an unusual life for a Scotswoman of 1872. She runs a newspaper in Edinburgh, though she does it under her brother's name. By her age, she could be called a spinster.  She is righteously furious to be barred from being able to hear a respected author speak simply because she is a woman. Logan Harrison, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, will not allow her inside the hall.

Logan only wants to follow the rules, and letting Mairi in would break those rules. Her anger leads her to lash out at Logan in the best way she knows how: She publishes a broadside, criticizing him. She is shocked at the fallout from this act. Now her sources are no longer talking to her, and people are cancelling their subscriptions. Logan must be sabotaging her, so she confronts him. While she finds no conspiracy, she does discover a most confounding passion.

Karen Ranney's latest is the second in a series, but readers will not feel lost. This is a quiet and thoughtful tale with a driven heroine who has lived her life with a kind of tunnel vision that slowly clears away through her relationship with Logan.

Heather Nordahl Files 

 

 


The Lass Wore Black

Karen Ranney

Avon

Mass Market

978‑0062027801

*****

 

 Cameron has always been self‑centered and flirtatious. Now her brightness has been stripped away, since a horrible carriage accident disfigured her face. She isolates herself and neglects her meals. In desperation, her aunt calls upon Mark Thorburn, a doctor and aristocrat, to help her by any means. So he masquerades as a footman to see that she eats.

Mark has defied his disapproving father to follow his passion for medicine. Even worse in his family's eyes, he spends much of his time caring for the desperately poor in Edinburgh’s Old Town, people far beneath him in status. His fascination for difficult, veiled Catriona nearly wipes all of his responsibilities from his head. Unfortunately, Catriona thinks he’s a footman, and her experiences with doctors cause her to view them with distaste. Moreover, she thinks she is nothing without her beauty. Mark can be her guide to show her the truth.

Readers who read The Scandalous Scot will open this book, wondering how on earth a character like Catriona can possibly be a romantic heroine. But Karen Ranney does an extraordinary job of revealing how she has become the person she is and gives her a truly awesome hero to help her heal.

Heather Nordahl Files

 

 

A Scottish Love

Karen Ranney

Avon

Mass Market

978‑0062027788

****1/2

 

Years ago, Gordon MacDermond and Shona Imrie were lovers, but she married another. Now she's a widow and completely destitute, and her pride compels her to keep her penury a secret. Her brother, wounded in the Crimean War, and her companion depend upon her, but she is running out of things to sell. She must sell the only large thing of value left--the Imrie family home, Gairloch.

Shona's brother is dead set against the sale, but even he does not know the extent of their need for cash. Shona's prospective buyers from America have arrived before she can prepare. Not only are the man and his daughter hard to deal with, she has to swallow her pride and allow Gordon to provide them with food. Shona and Gordon's interactions are extremely prickly and heavy with the weight of the past. Underneath the prickly attitudes is pain, and underneath the pain is an enduring love that feels like it has no chance of coming to anything but loneliness and anguish.

Karen Ranney uses her tremendous skill and meticulous research to craft an exquisite love story full of heartache, tension and hints of Gothic flavor. The heroine's overweening pride can be tough to take, but it also makes her every maddening decision perfectly in character and, oddly, makes her sympathetic as well in this beautiful tale.

Heather Nordahl Files

...

A Borrowed Scot

Karen Ranney

Avon

Mass Market

978‑0061771880

****1/2

 

     Montgomery Fairfax is an American in London, away from his homeland because of a newly inherited title and estate. He has been directed to the mysterious Mercaii Society in hopes of learning the provenance of an unusual mirror, but he cannot complete this mission, for the Mercaii are a perverted group. He rescues an obviously drugged, naked woman from involvement in an unknown ritual and flees with her in tow.

     Veronica MacLeod wants some validation of her psychic gift, but received nothing but horror in return. She has endured the myriad indignities of being a poor relation to a family that resents and marginalizes her at every turn. Now they have thrown her out of the house, leaving Montgomery with little honorable choice but to offer to marry her. With such a start, this marriage has little hope of happiness, but love somehow finds a way.

     Montgomery and Veronica are both difficult to love, both being uncommunicative and reluctant to trust, but in the gifted hands of Karen Ranney readers will understand them and truly enjoy their story. The light paranormal element brings added appeal, and though this tale is part of a series, it stands alone.

Heather Nordahl Files
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..

The Devil Wears Tartan

Karen Ranney

Avon Mass Market

978-0061252426

**** +

 

 

          Because of a scandal she caused, Davina McLaren has been forced to marry a man she's never met. She's understandably apprehensive, but seeing how handsome her new husband is soothes her fears somewhat. Her wedding night with Marshall Ross, the Earl of Lorne, makes her feel even better, as her new husband shows her pleasures in the bedroom that she has not previously experienced. But her husband leaves her bed during the night, and the man she sees the next day is cold and reserved.

          Davina resolves to fight for her marriage, but the battle will be more of a challenge than she expects. As a result of years of captivity and opium addiction, Marshall fears he's going mad. His nights are filled with bloody visions, and he fears if he sleeps with Davina, he will do her harm in the night. The visions don't seem to visit him when she's there, but he's sure the peace will not last. Unfortunately, Davina will put up with being pushed away only so many times, before she won't come back.

         Karen Ranney's latest is a dark, dramatic tale with a Gothic feel. Davina is a sympathetic heroine, and the mystery of Marshall's illness takes some unusual turns in a novel that should not be missed. 

Heather Nordahl Files