“If grief had a landscape, it would be these highlands.” By the time I read this sentence in the novel, I felt as if I were roaming those brooding, enduring mountains with Asher and Hannah as they grieved for what they believed cannot be. The strong emotion Grace Burrowes has built into these two compelling characters by this time in the novel had me immersed in their heartbreaking situation.
The vicarious experience the reader has with Asher MacGregor, the Earl of Balfour and Hannah Cooper, a rich Bostonian young woman with a scheming step-father is full of all the rituals, taboos and social pitfalls found in the Victorian Age of England. The meddling and determination of older generation members of their respective families thread through the tapestry of the story in a muted color yet ever present and at work.
The strength of character of the hero and heroine added to the back story of what each of them has endured before they met makes a strong foundation for their persevering and being successful even though it seems for page after page of the novel it will be at the expense of their own happiness. Anxiety builds to a climax that showcases just how strong love can be in the face of adversity.
Grace Burrowes has a remarkable ability to bring the environment to life. The scents and sounds, even the feel and look of the soot from the foul smelling coal seem real. However, her special talent for developing strong, memorable characters is the very best part of her novels. Even the secondary characters have unique personalities that make a reader think they all have stories of their own that would be interesting to know.
MACGREGOR’S LADY is replete with family members, many of whom readers will recognize if they’ve read other Regency or Victorian novels by Grace Burrowes. Asher’s family members the reader may recognize from THE BRIDEGROOM WORE PLAID and ONCE UPON A TARTAN.
The powerful Duke and Duchess of Moreland, from the Windham series, in their not too subtle way salvage a touchy situation allowing the MacGregor clan and Hannah to return to their beloved highlands for the little time Hannah and Asher have together. Hannah feels she must sail back to Boston to face the wrath of her step-father in an effort to make live a little easier for the family she loves and that he abuses.
Neither Asher MacGregor nor Hannah Cooper has it in their nature to grab for their own happiness at the expense of their families. Duty to and love for their families which are an ocean apart wrecks havoc on both their hearts. How Grace Burrowes brings about a happy-ever-after keeps the reader in suspense to the very end but so worth waiting for. Especially good reading!
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.