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by Mary Wine

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-4926-5554-1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

An English noblewoman with no connections is deceived by a rich aristocrat, but rather than submitting to his scheme to make her his mistress, she flees to Scotland—where she meets her true love.

When Galwell, her betrothed, invites her to dinner at his home, Athena believes he has sent marriage contracts to her uncle, but instead it turns out to be a ruse, designed to coerce her into becoming his mistress. Angry and defiant, she spurns him and sets fire to his home when she knocks over a candle trying to escape. When the constables come for her, her uncle manages to slip her away, sending her on a sales trip to Scotland as an assistant to a cloth merchant he knows, hoping to buy time to salvage her freedom. He tells her to disguise herself as a boy and not tell anyone, even the merchant, that she's really a woman. When she sheds her disguise for an evening at a village fair and kisses a handsome Highlander, Will, one of the merchant’s other assistants, also sees her and attempts to sell her to a brothel. Escaping that scrape, she runs straight into Symon, the Highlander, who absconds with her to his estate. At first furious, Athena relaxes when she realizes he wants to keep her safe. However, Will has an axe to grind and tracks her into the Highlands, then abducts Symon’s cousin Brenda when he can’t find Athena. All parties wind up in Edinburgh, where a run-in with the recently installed king presents an obstacle to saving Brenda and threatens Symon and Athena’s happy-ever-after due to political intrigues. Watching Symon and Athena figure themselves out is fun, but there are way too many coincidences and incidents where characters make odd choices to move the plot forward and instances where our credulity is stretched for the book to be completely satisfying.

Entertaining despite some flaws.