January 10, 2017
I wonder why Karen Ranney isn't one of my auto-buy authors.
I don't have an answer to that question; it's just one of those thoughts which go through
your mind and then you forget it. So, it appears I purchased some of Karen Ranney's books and never read them - OMG how could I lose track of my TBR pile - evidently very easily. I find it is easier to lose track of my books now that they are electronic than when they used to be an actual paper pile.
So, once upon a time there were two sisters, Jean and Catriona, and they had two books written about them. In fact they are part of the series with the profound title of Scottish Sisters series. A Scandalous Scot is about Jean MacDonald, aka Cameron, the nice sister. The sister who comes within an inch or two of being a martyr but most definitely qualifies as a doormat.
Here's the plot - there are spoilers. Jean and Catriona's father was a Doctor Cameron. His wife was dying, pleading for someone to end her pain - which he did. He was then executed for killing his wife. Now, because of the scandal, his two daughters are hiding away at a Scottish estate - Ballindair Castle. Their aunt Mary MacDonald is the housekeeper of the estate and she is trying to turn the two girls into "good" servants. As we soon find out, she has her hands full. While Jean and Catriona were not born to great wealth, they have had a comfortable life. So, life as a servant is a real setback for them. Jean (our heroine) is trying, she wants to make her aunt proud and she wants to be the best maid ever. Her problem is, she's a bit of a dreamer, a do-gooder and a ghost-hunter. She finds the supposed haunted Ballindair Castle enthralling and is hoping to run into a ghost or two along the way. Which explains why she is often in places she's not supposed to be. I was torn in my opinion of Jean. One moment she was an engaging, funny person, then the next she was a doormat for her sister Catriona. Let's talk about Catriona.
Catriona is a secondary character, but she is also a steals scenes. She's a pretty loathsome character, which is why when I found out she was going to be the heroine in her own book I was somewhat shocked. Each page I turned, the deeper I got into this book, the more Catriona disgusted me. Just the thought that she was going to be a heroine disturbed me enough to lessen my enjoyment of A Scandalous Scot. Catriona also brings up another unanswered issue I have and it concerns siblings. Catriona walks alllll over Jean, and Jean allows it for the longest time. I just couldn't understand why Jean put up with Catriona's capriciousness for so long. If Catriona hadn't been Jean's sister would Jean have let Catriona's meanness continue? Jean stood up to other people in the book, why not her own sister? It was not comprehensible to me. Jean was blind to her sister’s faults and that disturbed me a lot in this story. Just because one is a sibling doesn't mean that one has to put up with crap!
Then there is our hero, Morgan MacCraig. I was also torn with his character. I liked him in the beginning. I liked his stubbornness and his irritation with Jean. But he, like Jean, was blind when it came to his friend Andrew. You see Morgan is also hiding out. He is trying to escape the scandal he left behind in London. That scandal would be: divorce. Divorce was a biiiggggg taboo in in this time period - so there would have been a huge scandal for Morgan. Morgan fell in love and married a woman who liked men - a lot... almost all of England. And, she didn't keep her many affairs a secret. Finally he could stand it no longer and divorced her. This of course means he will never fall in luv again. My irritation with Morgan came with his choice of bestest ever friend Andrew. Andrew tags along to Scotland with Morgan for some reason. Andrew is a real creep, he's a typical upper-crust male of that time period. He is also married. But that doesn't really matter, he has his life and she has hers. So, why this guy is still a friend of Morgan's I don't know. He's everything that Morgan dislikes. He is also the same as every single man Morgan's ex-wife had in his bed. Morgan believes that the slimy Andrew never bedded Morgan's ex. Why he believed this sleazy guy was beyond me. Andrews is a lying, immoral degenerate and why Morgan put up with this guy for so lonnng was also incomprehensible to me.
While I loved the slow-moving romance portion of this story and I like Morgan and Jean as a couple, I found their blindness toward both Catriona and Andrew irritating. It lessened my enjoyment of the story. While I do recommend the story, I cannot give it a glowing recommendation.
Time/Place: Scotland 1860 - big skirt time