Review: When a Laird Finds a Lass by Lecia Cornwall

when-a-laird-finds-a-lassReviewed by Ronelle

Malcolm MacDonald has a comfortable life in Edinburgh; he’s a lawyer in his uncle’s firm, lives in a small but adequate room off The Royal Mile, and has plans to propose to an accomplished lady with a good dowry. All that changes when three elders from his clan show up on his doorstep, having come all the way from Donbronach to tell him that his father has died and Malcolm is now the laird of clan MacDonald. He travels to the brooding, crumbling castle of his forefathers with bright hopes of changing and improving things, but is thwarted, frustrated, and quite frankly bewildered, by his clan’s reluctance to change. Then, the elders begin insisting that he marry—just so long as he doesn’t pick a MacLeod lass. The two clans are the bitterest enemies and the people of Donbronach couldn’t stomach such an insult.

Marcail MacLeod has hastily accepted a marriage proposal from a man she’s just met, all so she can punish a sweetheart who hurt her. En route to her new home, she discovers that her fiancé is just as faithless and in a desperate bid for freedom, she jumps ship. Unfortunately, that jump doesn’t go as planned and when she awakens, she has no memory of who she is or where she belongs. The kindly clan who takes her in believes she could be a selkie, a sea maiden sent to wed their new laird. They decide to call her Ronat in honor of her arrival from the sea. She settles into a comfortable life at Donbronach, helping its people and falling in love with its kind laird. They’re both outsiders in this place and the attraction is undeniable… even if Malcolm Ban MacDonald is determined to resist.

But Ronat’s true identity isn’t the only problem—or mystery—plaguing clan MacDonald. Will the budding romance between the girl from the sea and the uncertain laird of Donbronach survive the revelations to come? Beltane is coming, and a wish that could save clan MacDonald, but will the clan hold together long enough to see their hope fulfilled?

***

I’m a sucker for pre-1800 Highlands romances, especially when there’s a good mystery involved! I love the brogue, the castles and claymores, the rugged men in kilts, and… well, I just love everything about them. When a Laird Finds a Lass fell into that category and was an overall pleasant, if predictable, read. While I knew how it was going to end, I didn’t necessarily expect some of the details surrounding said ending. There were a few other surprising tidbits here and there, but those final chapters… they were almost worthy of a rom-com. I loved it.

Malcolm Ban MacDonald and his mysterious (to everyone but the reader) rescued maiden, Ronat (Marcail MacLeod) were a great match. Their personalities, strengths, and weaknesses complimented one another beautifully. I appreciated that Malcolm was so devoted to his ideals and principles as a gentleman and Ronat’s complete determination to have him in spite of and because of them. They were fairly well-developed both as individuals and as a couple. I felt that the stop-start, I-want-you-but-I-can’t-have-you-because-I’m-a-gentleman nature of the relationship between Ronat and Malcolm was drug out a bit too long. (I’ll admit that I was tempted to throw my tablet in disgust and frustration a couple of times.) When the, ahem, climax of their romance did finally come about, it was a disappoiningtly brief scene. I wanted more steam, more passion, more…something. It was sweet, though, and Malcolm’s post-coital reaction was in keeping with his character.

The supporting cast of characters—the three elders, little Glenna, and the rest—added dimension to the tale. Their histories, personalities, plights, and loves served to highlight the struggles Donbronach faced and their suggested wishes shone a light on their hearts in a unique way. I loved and despised, rooted for and booed, hurt for and felt smugly satisfied by each in their turn as the story required. Ms. Cornwall presented characters who were fairly black-and-white and evoked clear, clean feelings. The only gray area came in the form of the choices they presented to Malcolm.
I will make the note on the following brief, and it is a major kudos to Ms. Cornwall. If you’ve read my other reviews, you know that one of my major pet peeves as a reviewer is poor editing. THIS BOOK WAS NOTICEABLY ERROR-FREE! Yes, I wrote that in all CAPS for a reason; When a Laird Finds a Lass is the first book I’ve read in… well, let’s just say awhile, that did not have distracting typos. The brogue was inconsistent, but that seemed to be more of a style issue than a typo.

Bottom line: Ms. Cornwall has penned a sweet love story with a dash of mystery and intrigue. While I felt like some elements of the story could have been better developed and others shortened, When a Laird Finds a Lass was a good read. I recommend this for lovers of edible Scottish gentlemen, clan feuds, and love conquering all.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon

When a Laird Finds a Lass
by Lecia Cornwall
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Swerve

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