The third in Grace Burrows’ MacGregor Trilogy, there were moments early on in the story where having read the first two books would have been helpful, but the information required to follow the story is gradually revealed throughout the current story to answer those niggling questions.
A Victorian-era setting, the inclusion of the ‘across the pond’ introductions of American heiresses to find a titled husband and provide the older families with a much needed infusion of capital was just starting to become popular, and Burrows uses that element to great effect in this story.
Woman’s rights and standing were nearly unimaginable to the Victorians, and women of the day lived and thrived solely as things: every element of their lives were controlled and manipulated by their male relations, and few thought to defy convention and attempt to survive without those constraints.
Here we have Asher, a newly titled earl. His character is wonderful: the title was not something that he was born into, yet his devotion to family has him reluctantly accepting the responsibility. When he is pushed to escort a familial acquaintance through a London Season, he isn’t at all happy. A wife or love interest is not in his sights.
Hannah is a Bostonian, sent with her aunt to have a London Season and find a titled husband. She is not in the least interested: she isn’t willing to take the conventional route, preferring to wait and manage her own life. Along with her is an aunt, acting as chaperone, yet wholly unsuited for the task as she is obviously under the influence of laudanum (an opiate) that was popular in the day for the ‘ailments’ of women.
From here the story gradually develops and we see Hannah and Asher both coming to find a commonality in one another and their stories and reasons for not wishing marriage become clear. The romance and pacing early in the story is near perfect and utterly engaging: these are two characters that you want to know, and see their pairing as perfect long before they have the realizations themselves. Unfortunately, at the midpoint of the story the pacing slows and the angst levels start to grow: while little to no new information is provided, it is merely a rehashing of elements previously established. But, there is redemption in that Asher’s story starts to unfold, and we are given more insight into his character that both inform his actions and the story. It wasn’t a reason to stop the books by any means, but it did give me several opportunities where putting the book down was not a hardship.
What emerges, however, is a wonderfully detailed and developed romance between two characters that are of their time, but wholly unlike the stereotypical. She is no shrinking violet and he is no callous cad: there is a respect and connection between them. It is even passionate, despite convention, and their moments are both frequent and steamy, not to mention inventive. Not all of the love is blistering passion: Asher is a master of the small gesture, those moments that mean everything: sneaking her out to skate, presenting her with little treats and truly listening and remembering her likes and dislikes. The romance and thoughtfulness of his character are so well defined and detailed that it is heartwarming and make him a spectacular romantic lead.
Closing with a masterfully developed climax, even the moments that were aggravating to me as a reader were forgiven, as the ending was just perfect for the story and the characters. While it wasn’t as evenly paced throughout, the build up to and revelation of the conclusion to the story were perfection and dragged me to the end even as I wanted to savor.
Title: The MacGregor's Lady
Series: MacGregor Trilogy #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Sourcebooks
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 12 Hours
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
Asher MacGregor has returned from years wandering the Canadian wilderness to assume an earldom he’s avoided, and to seek a bride he does not want. He’s saddled with an additional family obligation in the form of Boston heiress Hannah Cooper, whom he is to escort about the London ballrooms so she might find an English husband.
Hannah is no more interested in settling in Britain than Asher is in returning to the New World, and yet their sympathy for one another soon turns to passion. With Hannah anxious to return to the family she’s trying to protect in Boston, and Asher bound to his earldom in the Highlands, they must trust in love to span an ocean of differences and difficulties.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.