I tried with this book, I really did. I put it aside after my first “Let’s Read!” post and then picked it up again and made a serious effort to push through it, but I just can’t do it anymore. I almost made it to halfway through.
Warning, spoilers ahead.
What absolutely killed this book for me was the pregnancy. I suppose I prefer my historical romance to have an element of magical birth control. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate babies or anything (mostly), I just don’t like them to come anywhere near my romance novels. I’ll only really tolerate pregnancy if it comes in the end as part of the epilogue. As such, having Lorna be pregnant right off the bat and have that driving the plot was not enjoyable whatsoever. It felt too much like a punishment for her daring to have sex.
I finally stopped reading after Lorna is publicly shamed and kicked out of a village and rescued by the duke who installs her in a cabin on his lands and starts taking care of every need she could possibly have. I’ve already read the Scarlet Letter in high school and I have no desire to retread that ground. It seems like the book can never decide whether it’s going to be “historically accurate” with the way an unmarried pregnant woman would be treated. The villagers shame Lorna in a way that I imagine is accurate (I’m not expert on the time period by any means), but the dowager duchess’s incredibly warm attitude, while welcome, feels puzzling.
The only thing I liked was the duke’s sister-in-law, Mary, who is delightfully bitchy to Lorna (possibly because she was jealous? Who knows. I certainly will never find out.). The downside was, of course, that Mary feels rather one dimensional, despite her love of horses, which was not enough to give her character more personality.
Eventually I started avoiding reading because I wasn’t happy with this book. I ultimately decided to put it aside and never pick it up again. I’m going to move on to books that I actually want to read. So let’s not with the Scottish Duke.