April 30, 2015
Another book in Scotland
The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor takes place in a time period I don't believe I've ever read in a romance - during the reign of Queen Anne of Great Britain. This would be
right before the Hanover's moved in to take over the throne. Anne would be the last Stuart to sit on the throne - unless, of course, you actually look at the family tree and see all the Stuarts in the Hanover family. Anyway, that tussle between the Stuarts is the background plot in this book.
I will say this right up front: I really don't have a problem with books written in Scotland and that's a good thing because there seems to be a ton of them lately. I love the brogue, usually, although I recently started one by Amanda Scott and I was looking so many words up I couldn't continue. That particular book made me realize that there could be toooo much of a good thing or in that case tooo much brogue. But, back to The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor. This book is part of a series which I have not read, but I didn't need to read the others in the series to follow this one. Having said that, there were a number of people from the other books who did put in an appearance.
Here is the premise. Captain General Daniel Marlow aka the Jacobite Killer, has been sent to Scotland to escort Jacobite Abigail MacGregor to Queen Anne. Originally Queen Anne wanted Abigail's mother, Davina, to come but she's sickly so Abigail comes in her place. This may come as a surprise to you but there are a lot of secrets in this story. As it turns out, I didn't really buy in to any of those secrets and that turned out to be a problem for me.
Secret number one - Davina turns out to be the oldest daughter of James II of England. For some reason she was secretly raised as a Catholic in a convent. At first, I thought she was an illegitimate daughter but her mother was Anne Hyde. This would mean she was legitimate. Maybe if I had read Davina's story this would have made sense, but I didn't and this part of the story was just waaay over the top for me to believe. Why would you put one child in a convent, especially the heir to the throne, and raise the other children as Protestants? It just didn't make any sense. Then Davina sends her daughter to tell Davina's sister (the queen) that she (Davina) is just not interested in ruling Great Britain - no siree. Davina was happy with the sheep in Scotland.
Anyway, the queen sends her bestist captain general, a man who has slaughtered hundreds of Scots to bring back one girl annndd doesn't tell him the reason why. You would think that the "why" might be important for the captain general to know - maybe he would like to plan some strategies or be on the lookout for things that might evolve around this secret. I don't think it's ever a good plan to keep secrets from ones captain general. However, Queen Anne has been keeping other secrets from Daniel. It seems that Queen Anne's husband, George, fathered Daniel. Could be possible. But from what I understand of Prince George, he was devoted to Queen Anne, rather dull, not so very clever and not much of a ladies man. He was very much a shadow of Queen Anne. He also impregnated her seventeen times; only one of those children living to the age of eleven. None of that background history has anything to do with the story though, except for me. Knowing George's history I was unable to accept him as the father of Daniel. Besides that, I wasn't sure what that had to do with the story - other than the queen keeping it a secret from Daniel for years, it didn't really add anything to the narration.
There were some other things that were thrown into the storyline that didn't add anything. One of those things was the possessive woman/villain who wanted Daniel more than any guy in the whole world. She was dangerous. If there was any woman who so much as glanced his way, they would disappear or be injured or something horrible would befall them. When she was first thrown into the mix, I thought she might have a run in with Abigail, but nothing really happened there. In the end, she joined all those other villains who get shipped off to some-place-else, The Island of Misplaced Villains.
Now, about the romance. Well because Daniel kills Jacobites and Abigail has seen Jacobites killed and she hatessss the Jacobite Killer there might be a bit of a problem with these two finding their HEA. Hey, this is Romanceland! After pages and pages of I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, I can't trust you, I can't trust you, I can't trust you, you lied to me, you lied to me, you lied to me, my eyes glazed over, my eyes glazed over, my eyes glazed over, they have a HEA. All the MacGregors, along with Queen Anne and Daniel have a picnic in Scotland - la la la.
This story was too much of a stretch for me to enjoy. I am a big fan of Historical Romance, not too much of a fan of Historical Fiction and this book touches too much into Historical Fiction for my taste. So, for me it didn't work - maybe others would enjoy it, because the writing is not bad. The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor just wasn't my cup of tea.
Time/Place: Scotland/Great Britain/roads 1709