Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Beauty Among Ruins by J'nell Ciesielski


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'm always on the lookout for books by this author.  She excels at giving me characters who grow and develop throughout the book.  Lily was questionable to me in the beginning and I wasn't sure I was going to like her but it didn't take too long for me to change my mind.  I loved how hard Lily worked to bring light and sunshine to those who needed it.   I always knew I was going to like Alec even when he was growling, brooding and barking.  His sense of duty and loyalty were there from the beginning and are traits I always find attractive.

The story evolves as threats and mystery enter from the shadows.  It gave life to the book and helped with the forward momentum because things got a little slow here and there.

I enjoyed the Scottish setting and the large cast of secondary characters.  This book was a good one and provided an excellent distraction.  As always, I will be watching for future books from this author!

Content:  mild peril, mild violence, war time violence talked about.  Kissing.

- I received a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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