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Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1984
Publisher: Walker

London lass Linnet Hudson, poor but well-bred, marries gentle Duncan McTaggert, a visitor from Scotland, in 1880--only to become an instant-widow when Duncan is killed in a carriage accident a few weeks later. So, now orphaned and homeless, Linnet decides to visit her never-seen in-laws in Scotland--at the McTaggert homestead of Jura House outside Kilayrnock. En route, however, traveling by foot from Kilayrnock, Linnet is knocked down by a mysterious horseman, then rescued by handsome, hypnotic Simon Fordyce--who just happens to be passionately hated by the McTaggerts! Why? Because he has bought the local Castle, which used to belong to the McTaggerts in wealthier days. In fact, once Linnet does arrive at Jura House (a filthy, shabby manse), she learns that her dotty aunts-in-law and her brother-in-law Dougal are all obsessed with reclaiming the Castle, saving every penny in that cause. The in-laws, then, are far from hospitable. And they're downright outraged when it turns out that Linnet is now the owner of Jura House (by Duncan's last will), that she intends to spend money on cleaning it up. . . and that she continues to socialize with Simon Fordyce, who shows her the plight of local tenant-farmers and the benefits of a mill he's hoping to build. A few gothic scares--including a priest's hole incarceration--ensue; Linnet has a moment or two of doubt about Simon. (Did he perhaps arrange for Duncan's London accident--to clear the way for his development plan?) But the obvious bad-guy is unmasked soon enough, Jura House gets a thorough cleaning (the liveliest action here), and the inevitable Linnet/Simon match is made official. Routine romance-with-danger, thin but pleasant.