In Alden’s (Hate to Love You, 2014) romance novel, a woman returns to her Scottish hometown and to an old flame she had spurned.
Anjuli Carver left the small town of Heaverlock years ago to pursue a singing career, and she achieved fame and wealth. Her guilt over a tragic loss drove her to retreat from the limelight, and she returned to her hometown. She impulsively bought a crumbling manor there, and shortly afterward, she lost her fortune to a crooked financial adviser and a deadbeat ex-husband. Now, to restore the house, she must negotiate a deal with the local architect, Rob Douglas—who also happens to be the same man she left standing at the altar years ago and whose heart she stomped on anew three months ago. The novel sometimes shifts to Rob’s third-person perspective as he pretends to be over his heartbreak and only mildly interested in Anjuli. Soon, however, both of them ache to be together as they confuse and torment each other with mixed signals. Meanwhile, the village’s energetic rumor mill doesn’t help matters. Readers will appreciate this book’s sassy, romantic heroine, even with her tendencies toward self-sabotage. Rob, meanwhile, is an enjoyably dark, brooding, and kilted Scot with a heart of gold. Alden’s use of a quaint Scottish village as her setting allows her to explore the culture’s mix of the old and the new; characters engage in modern pursuits, such as sustainable architecture, but also continue to sport kilts for traditional festivals. The modern aspects provide the book with humor and relevance, while the historical details contribute nostalgia and romance. The novel’s explicit sex scenes, meanwhile, are in keeping with the refreshingly modern tone. The supporting characters also add color, although some of their actions during the climactic parts of the book seem a little forced, apparently to create additional drama as the main players face sudden obstacles.
Alden’s smart, savvy writing, blended with the traditions of the Scottish moors, creates a charming, multifaceted narrative that’s rife with sexual tension.