Beauty Among Ruins by J'nell Ciesielski
Genres: Historical Romance, Scottish
In Ciesielski’s latest sweeping romance, an American heiress finds herself in Scotland amid the fallout of the Great War, and a wounded Scottish laird comes face-to-face with his past and a woman he never could have expected.
American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she is banished overseas to England as a “cure” for her frivolous ways, the Great War breaks out and wreaks havoc. She joins her cousin in nursing the wounded at a convalescent home deep in the wilds of Scotland at a crumbling castle where its laird is less than welcoming.
Alec MacGregor has given his entire life to preserving his home of Kinclavoch Castle, but mounting debts force him to sell off his family history bit by bit. Labeled a coward for not joining his countrymen in the trenches due to an old injury, he opens his home to the Tommies to make recompense while he keeps to the shadows. But his preference for the shadows is shattered when a new American nurse comes streaming into the castle on a burst of light.
Lily and Alec are thrown together when a series of mysterious events threatens to ruin the future of Kinclavoch. Can they put aside their differences to find the culprit before it’s too late, or will their greatest distraction be falling in love?
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I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links, meaning I’ll receive a small commission should you purchase using those links. All opinions expressed are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.
I love reading any book that takes place in Scotland whether it is in the past or present. There is just something about it that makes romance all the better in my opinion. In this one we are in 1915 and Lily Durham has been sent to England in order to find a husband. However, Lily takes a position as nurse’s aid at Kinclavoch Castle convalescent home for WWI soldiers in Scotland.
While Lily is a socialite she isn’t the flighty woman the head matron thinks she is. She is determine to help regardless of being given the worst possible assignments. She is a breath of fresh air for the patients and does a wonderful job of keeping their spirits up.
In fact she is such a breath of fresh air that she is able to get Laird Alec MacGregor out of the despair over finances that he is in. Of course someone wants the estate to fail and when a patient goes missing Lily and Alex work together to find out what happened.
Lily is a great character and one who despite having been told her whole life that all she had to look forward to was finding a husband and making a good match is, determined to be more. To have a purpose beyond marriage. While Alex is the quintessential brooding Laird goes through a lot of emotional change as he gets closer to Lily.
As I said, I love Scotland, and putting Lily there gave her more challenges to overcome than she would have if she had stayed in England where she was sent. It gave her a chance to spread her wings and fly. The romance and the mystery are both so well written that this book checked every box for me. It was simply wonderful.
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