‘She pressed her face into the soft folds of his coat to breathe the warmth of his scent, knowing the coat had a better chance of a future with him. Oh God, but her heart ached.’
A plain Regency governess
In bed with the duke!
Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages! Unceremoniously packed off to Scotland to care for the Duke of Lochmore’s young son, practical widow Joane Langdale fears she will be ignored as always. But the deep connection and heated passion that develops between her and Benneit is far more dangerous! When Benneit is expected to propose to another, how dare Jo dream of becoming his duchess?
I have to say that this is the first book I’m struggling to find words for. Unlaced by the Highland Duke is such a wonderful, emotionally intense story, that I don’t think I have the skills to do it justice. But I’ll try.
The story itself is simple – Joane Langdale is a widowed cousin of Bella, the Duke of Lochmore’s late wife. However, because Jo is from a poorer branch of the family, she is still being passed from pillar to post to make herself useful to her richer relations. These relations also interfere in Bella’s son Jamie’s life, and through the machinations of Lady Theale, Jo ends up going to Lochmore with Jamie, and his father Benneit, the Duke of Lochmore. As Jo grows closer to Jamie, she also grows closer to Benneit – but he is supposed to be marrying to end a feud . . . .
Jo is, well quite simply, she IS Jo, a heroine so real she comes alive on the page. She’s a wonderful mix of what makes us human. Our experiences, emotions, personalities, and depth of character all combine to make us truly unique, and Jo is no exception. All her experiences, and the grey drabness with which she, and others have clothed her, cannot truly hide her wit, humour, and joyful spirit.
Benneit too leaps off the page. He is a dreamy hero, and completely worthy of Jo. There is something really satisfying at watching him being brought to his knees. His aloofness, his ability to fall back on years of control, his very position, have all combined to create a façade, an armour which he hides behind, causing him to appear emotionless. Jo’s presence, and her ‘Great Grey-eyed Stare’ slip through his armour, and suddenly, it seems to him, it isn’t protecting him any more. We get a real sense of his anger and bewilderment, as he struggles to subdue his passions, keep his word, and continue to hide his ‘weakness’. And although he repeatedly tries to retreat behind the façade he has built up, each time gets harder than the last. His struggle is so real, we can almost hear the cracking and shattering of his armour.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Lara has a real gift in creating characters so real, you’d swear you could hear them breathing. The romance is intensely emotional, sensual, and believable. The setting and scenery are breath-taking, and skillfully drawn, so real, it’s easy to forget you are reading. And if you like men in kilts, it’s got those as well! Incidentally one of the main reasons I recommend this, or any of Lara Temple’s books, is her heroines. In my humble opinion, they are comparable with any of Georgette Heyer’s. They are witty, humorous, fun to be with, and the hero never knows quite what to do with her.
This is the second book in the Lochmore Series, (review of the first one can be found here ). I am really enjoying the glimpses of this shared mystery, as each subsequent book moves us backwards through time.
Buy: Amazon UK
Mills & Boon
Lara Temple writes strong, sexy regency romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion.
When she was fifteen Lara found a very grubby copy of Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter in an equally grubby book store. Several blissful hours later she emerged, blinking, into the light of day completely in love with Regency Romance but it took three decades of various fascinating but completely unrelated careers in finance and high tech before she returned to her first love.
Lara lives with her husband and two children who are very good about her taking over the kitchen table for her writing (so she can look out over the garden and dream). She loves to travel (especially to places steeped in history) and read as many books as possible. She recently went looking for that crowded little bookstore but couldn’t quite remember around what corner it was…hopefully it is still there and another girl is in the corner by the window, reading and dreaming…
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Disclaimer: I received this as part of my paid subscription for the Mills & Boon Historical bookclub.