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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ARC Review: To Marry a Scottish Laird by Lynsay Sands

Campbell “Cam” Sinclair sees a young boy being beaten by a thief. He joins the fight and realizes there are two more attackers. He is stabbed in the back by one. Between him and the boy, they defeat the robbers, but Campbell is hurt. The boy is really a girl, Joan, who is a healer. She disguised herself as a boy to make travelling easier. She sets out to tend to her unconscious defender. Leaving him safe, she decides to bathe in the river. Cam wakes, follows the trail, and discovers her secret. He doesn’t say anything and they continue on their journey to Scotland. Joan is on a mission to deliver a scroll left by her dead mother. Cam is friends with the MacKays and promises to take her to them. Joan’s mother, Maggie, was a healer and midwife. She lived in a friary, learned to write, and tended to the sick. After her death, Joan was cast out. She has no family and no home. After delivering the scroll, she feels she has no purpose in life. Cam’s wife died in childbirth and has no interest in going through loss again, but he’s the oldest son and needs an heir. He confesses to Joan he knows she’s a woman and they get better acquainted. They are caught in a compromising position in front of Ross MacKay and his men. The MacKays welcome them and realize the scroll is addressed to the lady of the house. Joan is Annabel MacKay’s niece, the daughter of her late sister Kate. Ross demands Cam make an honest woman of Joan and they are married. They travel to the Sinclair home and find many unmarried women waiting for Cam. His mother has decided he needs a wife and invited the prospects. Some are furious and pack for home. Others stay and make their peace with the situation and offer to help Joan by sewing her new clothes. There’s a poisoning attempt on Joan’s life. One woman is mean and insulting and winds up dead. Then a gentle horse rears up and throws Joan. Someone wants Cam bad enough to kill Joan, but who?

Cam starts out by saving Joan’s life and she immediately returns the favor. Their courtship is an interesting dance because they spend so much time alone. He deserves to be happy again and she deserves a loving family. The fact that she is related to the MacKays gives her a built in support system.

Nice taste of a whodunit intertwined with the love story. Marriage has always been a cut throat business, especially with titles, money, and property on the line. Going back home unmarried meant these women were on their way to the convent. Some refused to go quietly and would rather kill the competition.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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