Monday, March 18, 2013

The Lass Wore Black by Karen Ranney

He was her Highland lover, but would he be her savior?
Catriona Cameron was once famed for her seductive beauty and charm. Now she saw no one, hiding from the world...and no one dared break through her self-imposed exile.
No one, that is, until Mark Thorburn burst into her home, and Catriona's darkened world began to have color again. Thorburn, secretly the heir to an Earldom, claimed he was a footman. But Catriona didn't care about the scandal their passion could cause... for this very touch sparked her back to a life of sensuality, one she thought she'd never have again.
Little does she know that Mark is part of a masquerade. One that will end when they become the target of a madman set on revenge. Mark realizes he will have to do more than win her love...he will have to save her life as well.
Ah Highlanders... yep, you know I jumped at a chance to read this one. However, although he was technically a highlander, no kilts to be had. No checking to see what was worn underneath one. *sigh* Still, I was in the mood for a historical romance so on I read.

I have to admit I had several problems with this book. First was the "bad" guy. At the beginning we know that someone is after Catriona. A spurned lover. Still, I didn't get why he had to kill her. I did get it later, but not at the beginning. Everyone kept saying it was because of unrequited love. Uh, really? Catriona at least got that the guy was obsessed and not in love, but still it didn't prevent others from saying it was because the guy loved her and she didn't love him back. Seriously, what kind of sick definition of love does her friends have? The guy was obsessed, yes... but it was control not love the guy was after. *off soap box*

Still, this wasn't a book about strange love definitions as I think was sometimes submitted. So, I didn't feel that the book preached it even if I felt our heroine's friends were a bit insane. :) Oh and btw, this book did have great secondary characters. I have to say Mark's grandfather and the change in Artis, a maid, were both very interesting. Maybe even more so than the main characters.

I did have a small problem that stemmed with Mark. He's quite judgmental (he is reprimanded for it) and doesn't get that leading on another woman with silent promises and giving your word without follow through gets you an angry female. Then he has the nerve to be confused by the whole thing. Really? You don't get why that has nothing to do with male/female reactions? At the same time he is demanding that Catriona not act spoiled. Really dude? He does come clean with the other woman so he redeemed himself since he realized what he did. At least my problem with Mark really only stemms from this part of the book. Otherwise, I really liked the determined hero and he often carried the book.

I should also mention Catriona specifically. Throughout the book she laments her lost beauty in an accident. I know some people would get tired of her lamentations easily. However, it made sense to me. In a society in which she was trying to be a part of so she would not starve... for survival... perfection, or as close to it, was her gold. Her ticket. Yes, it was vain, but so was the society people coveted. So, when people started acting like "what's her problem?" and "she should be over it by now"... all I could think was it was understandable and it takes time to learn a new way of life. If it was quicker, it wouldn't have felt genuine when she did start to change. So, despite how annoying it might get for some, I liked the slow progression into someone who is compassionate. Then I did get a bit tired of her lamenting what she lost when she was supposed to have dealt with that issue. :)

There was at least one smexy scenes in which you might go... what? Won't say why since I wouldn't want to spoil your "what-ness" (it's a word!). :) Still, was steamy enough. I have to also say that I liked Mark more at these times because he wasn't always talking about how ugly she became. He was straightforward, but not insulting.

I give this book 3 stars. I was entertained by this book regardless of the problems I had with the book. I liked the idea of the heroine as the scarred and damaged person (rather than the hero which is often the case) and the extremely handsome man accepting who she is and what she looks like. I really enjoyed that twist. I also enjoyed the secondary characters. Catriona does grow in character in this book and I also recommend it for that growth.
I received this book from TLC and no compensation for my review was given.

24 comments:

  1. Hm you did have some issues with this one and I just do not know

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    1. Hm... you might still be entertained like I was. :)

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  2. Damn, those friends are indeed weird. They just didn't get it. Mark sounds interesting! Thankfully he redeemed himself, otherwise he would be a doosh.

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    1. Yea, after several times of her friends expressing this over and over... I started to go... wait a minute!

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  3. I like the idea of scarred heroine as well and a man willing to accept as is, so glad you enjoyed overall despite the issues.
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  4. "He's quite judgmental (he is reprimanded for it) and doesn't get that leading on another woman with silent promises and giving your word without follow through gets you an angry female."

    Poor Mark. He sounds a little dense at times. I kind of just want to pat his head and roll my eyes at him:) I've been on a highlander romance kick (though I'm bummed no kilts are to be had in this one!) so I might pick this up, and I'm prepared for Mark being a little obtuse so that shouldn't bother me too much now:) Fantastic review Melissa!

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    1. You know I could have ignored this part, but when he started to lament that it is just women... uh, excuse me? A good friend (male) would have been upset at the same thing but I suspect he would apologize instead of calling it "female problems". Grrr.... If this wasn't emphasized I could have passed it off as being social awkward. As it was... Good thing it really didn't last. :)

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  5. I'm almost ashamed to admit this but I'm afraid I'm totally put off by the cover.

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    1. Hm... I'm kind of liking the cover. More man flesh than woman flesh. It's a good thing... :D

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  6. Interesting, but well... maybe not for me.

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  7. First of all, seriosly, her name is Catriona? Well then!
    It's so funny, am I the only one who's never read a book about Highlanders before? While this may not be the best choice, I should probably give ONE a chance to see what all the gushing's about. What say you? Maya Banks? She writes those Highlander books, doesn't she?

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  8. Something is off about the cover. I think the dude looks like he has boobs. Okay and I am now curious about the what in the smexy scene did they use weird old fashioned sex props or something? Ha ha! I am evil I know.

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  9. I do like these types of cover. I could never pass one up. Sounds good. Not to mention I'm a sucker for irish lads. LOL!

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  10. Well I'm always one for a good Highlander book! I think I might skip this one though because I have a few that have gotten some fantastic reviews and since this one didn't quite blow you away.

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  11. Sometimes, being entertained (but not blown away) is totally fine! Plus, there's nothing like a good Highlander book (though how you can have a Scot and not put him in a kilt, I'll never know!). Sounds fun, though!

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  12. It's been ages since I've been on a historical romance kick, but back in the day, Karen Ranney wrote some of my favorites. I think Upon a Wicked Time was my favorite...though I understand the hero is a little controversial.

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  13. Sounds like the lass had a stalker, I guess even then they had men who felt scorned and killed woman so no one else could have them. Wonderful review and ah yes..the word highlander is enough to draw me to a book ..bummer about no kilt!

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  14. Um hmm...first I have to say, I have never dissected a historical romance like that ever. I just read them for fun. Next time I read one I am going to see what bothers me about it. Second Mark was good in the smexy scenes because then he wasn't talking about how ugly she had become? Excuse me? He told her she was ugly? Huh? Scars make the heros more ruggedly handsome or give their face character. He told her she was ugly?
    Please tell me ain't so!

    Heather

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  15. I just can't get into Karen Ranney her books. I read my first Maya Banks highlander last week, and fell in love with the book.

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  16. I feel like the spurned lover turned killer is a trend that could totally get lost and I wouldn't miss it. Nonetheless, glad you enjoyed it enough to give it three stars. Now I'm so curious about the "what" part! :-) Great review!

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