A lively American nurse brings joy to a decrepit Scottish castle used as a hospital during the First World War.
Beauty Among Ruins by J’nell Ciesielski is a lovely historical romance between a wealthy American nurse and an impoverished Scottish Laird during the First World War.
Title: Beauty Among Ruins by J’nell Ciesielski
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 12, 2021)
Print Lenght: 368 pages
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?
From the Publisher’s Blurb
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Lily was a young and wealthy American sent to England by her parents to spend time with her aristocratic relatives. They hoped the time away from home would help curb her wild personality and make her behavior more ladylike.
During her stay in England, the First World War started, and she could not return home.
When her cousin Beth decided to take a nursing course, Lily went with her, and when Beth was sent to a military hospital based on a castle in Scotland, Lily followed.
Kinclavoch Castle was an imponent building that had clearly seen better days. Its owner, Alec MacGregor, Lord Strathem, was a young but recluse man that did not interact much with the nurses and soldiers.
Vivacious and innocent, Lily was great with the ailing soldiers. The matron despaired of her lack of discipline, and some fellow nurses were jealous of her sparkle.
Lily’s light and Alec’s dark clash and mingle, and a lovely emotion grows between them. But jealousy, ambition, social standing, and honor would stand in their way.
This is my first book by this author, and I really enjoyed her writing style and character building.
Alec was adorably grumpy but also honorable and principled. Lily was sweet, strong, and lovely.
I especially loved that Alec could understand and appreciate Lily’s personality and that she never gave up on helping him.
As a backdrop for the romance, the book brings the harshness of the war by the eyes of its wounded and the vital role played by the voluntary nurses.
Beauty Among Ruins is a romantic and inspiring story about being loved for who you are and finding a place to belong.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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About the Author
With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle.