Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Blog Tour Review: The Lass Wore Black by Karen Ranney

From the Back Cover:

Catriona Cameron was once famed for her seductive beauty and charm. Now she saw no one, hiding from the world...and no one dared break through her self-imposed exile.

No one, that is, until Mark Thorburn burst into her home, and Catriona's darkened world began to have color again. Thorburn, secretly the heir to an Earldom, claimed he was a footman. But Catriona didn't care about the scandal their passion could cause...for this very touch sparked her back to a life of sensuality, one she thought she'd never have again.

Little does she know that Mark is part of a masquerade. One that will end when they become the target of a madman set on revenge. Mark realizes he will have to do more than win her love...he will have to save her life as well.

My Thoughts:

I'm always looking for something different in historical romance, particularly in Scottish romance, for while I never tire of brogues and kilts, so many of them tend to run together for me, being quite similar in nature. So when I saw the synopsis for The Lass Wore Black, I decided it was time to give author Karen Ranney a try. I was not disappointed! A scarred socialite in self-imposed isolation, mourning the loss of her beauty and her dreams for a well-placed marriage, a handsome physician who masquerades as a footman to get close to the veiled woman who refuses medical attention, and a jilted ex-lover bent on revenge--what's not to love?

I enjoyed this story from the first page and was very impressed with Ms. Ranney's writing. Scarred heroines are nothing new, but when they're done well they're awesome, and I thought this was a unique story well told. I loved both of the characters; Catriona was horribly scarred in a carriage accident, and her grief and her conceptions about her appearance and the reactions she feared so much from society were realistic and heartbreaking. Having been ill-served by the physician who first treated her injuries, and patronized and condescended to by others since, she's sworn off doctors and the hope that her life can be improved. An earthy, passionate woman, she has resigned herself to the knowledge that she'll never know the pleasure of a man's touch again, until an exasperating, infuriating, charming footman worms his way into her darkened chambers, into her bed, and into her heart. But what kind of future exists for a relationship like that? And what will happen if she ever gets up the courage to show him her face?

And Mark has got to be one of the more swoon-worthy heroes I've encountered in awhile. A second son of an earl who went against his father's wishes by becoming a physician, he spends his days tirelessly ministering to Edinburgh's poor. Having studied with Catriona's father and seen her once when she was younger, Mark remembers the spirited beauty she was and can't help but be drawn to the shadow she has become, spending her days staring out the window at a world that is passing her by, leaving the house only after midnight to walk in solitude while the world is asleep. As he slowly earns Catriona's trust, he finds himself falling in love with her and faced with the dilemma of how to reveal his true self to her, and whether she'll still want to see him when she finds out who he is. And as he begins to ask questions of people who witnessed Catriona's accident, he discovers that it was not an accident after all, and that the person responsible is still nursing a grudge and set on finishing off the job he started. Can he find the man and stop him in time? Or will he lose Catriona before he ever really has her?

The story lends itself to a lot of emotional angst and I really became invested in the outcome. How would Catriona react when she found out Mark had been deceiving her? How would Mark react when he finally saw Catriona's face? I'm not telling; you'll have to read it to find out! The dialogue is smart and witty--from the initial arguments between Catriona and Mark, to the admissions of their hopes and fears, to their declarations of love--it's all good! I also loved the setting: Edinburgh, 1862. The city comes to life, from the quiet, stately Charlotte Square where Catriona lives, to the cramped, dark streets of Old Town where Mark does what he can to aid the unfortunate. My only complaints are that it was a tad too long and a bit repetitive with the inner monologues, I found myself skimming in some places to get to the good stuff, and I thought Catriona's former lover's obsession with her was a bit over the top, but overall I thought it was a very satisfying, meaningful romance, rich in period detail and very well-written. I'll be reading more from Karen Ranney!

My Rating:  4 Stars out of 5

Want to win your own copy of The Lass Wore Black?
Simply leave a comment with your email address
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This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and ends at 11:59pm Tuesday, April 16th. Winner will be selected at random.
Thanks, and good luck!

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected. Stay tuned for more great giveaways!

The Lass Wore Black is on a blog tour!
Click here to view the schedule for more reviews and giveaway opportunities!


  1. Historical romances set in Scotland always interests me. I also rarely tire of the kilts and highlanders but a little something different doesn't hurt. I like that the heroie has insecurities and that she isn't perfect. I'm curious to see her story and why she's scarred. Sounds like a great story!

    GFC: Na

  2. Scottish historicals have always been a favorite of mine, but sometimes they do get a bit blurred together. It's hard to come up with new ideas all the time. This one sounds like it has a twist that I haven't read about yet.

    GFC: Jasmyn

  3. This historical sounds captivating and special. Great locale which is always appealing. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. I love historical romance! This looks like something I would enjoy. I'm actually currently reading a historical romance novel called "What Happens in Scotland." So far, so good!

    mestith at gmail dot com

  5. Glad you enjoyed this one! I'm looking forward to reading it myself - it sounds like a great escapist read.

    Thanks for being on the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

  6. I would enjoy this historical. Thanks for this chance. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  7. I love this setting and have not read this author. Thanks!



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