Fletcher MacNeil, half Comanche Indian and half Scottish, was raised on the stories of his Scottish ancestors and homeland even though he lived his whole life in Texas. When Fletcher was 15, his father remarried and Fletcher, feeling that he was just in the way, set out to make his own way. Unfortunately, he gets into a bit of trouble and finds himself sitting in an army jail cell, accused of murder, and awaiting the gallows. The last thing he expected was Gordon Geddes, a Scottish solicitor, arriving to inform him that he was the only surviving heir to Castle Sheiling on the Isle of Hedabarr. In order to claim his inheritance, Fletcher escapes and sails to Scotland, a new world.
Rosalyn Geddes, sister of Gordon, is the housekeeper at Castle Sheiling. She is shocked when she first meets the savage duke, as she refers to him. His dark skin and long braids are so unlike the people on the island. Yet, a strange feeling settles in her whenever she looks at him. Rosalyn’s brother reveals to Rosalyn and Fletcher that there is another stipulation to the will. Fletcher must marry and produce an heir within the year or all the fortune goes to an idiotic cousin. Fletcher agrees, but is concerned for his half siblings he left behind in Texas and vows to return to look for them if they are not located soon. Rosalyn vowed she’d never marry again. Her first husband was a heinous man whose cruelty resulted in the death of her daughter. But after an unexpected intimate encounter with Fletcher, Rosalyn concedes to the marriage. As Rosalyn and Fletcher face the day to day life of running the island, they begin to learn more about each other and are more open to the possibility that their relationship could be more.
There were several things I really enjoyed about this story and I would actually give 3 1/2 stars if Goodreads allowed that rating. Fletcher’s introduction to his duties as earl were comical. He was shocked to discover that the position of earl mostly required common sense as many of his duties were no more than settling arguments among the islanders.
I also enjoyed the initial banter between Fletcher and Rosalyn. She saw him as a rude, crude, and ill- mannered savage who liked to parade around naked. While Fletcher saw her as haughty and with cool superiority. Just the kind of woman he avoided. They often toyed with one another just to aggravate the other one.
I especially got a kick out of some of the secondary characters. The decrepit, gassy butler was pretty amusing and I liked the side romance that occurred between Rosalyn’s brother and her best friend. Fletcher’s siblings were likeable characters as well, and will hopefully have stories of their own.
As I said, there were lots of enjoyable elements to the story. I gave it 3 ½ stars because it just fell flat for me for a few reasons.
The conversations at times didn’t seem to fit the environment or the time period and just felt a little bland. The intimate scenes fell flat for me as well just seeming to be too abrupt and not really eliciting romantic feelings. I felt like the romance aspect was often overshadowed by other events in the story. There were other parts of the story that seemed resolved too quickly- Fletcher’s adjustment to the island and his sister’s adjustment as well.
Overall, it was an enjoyable novel but just fell short for me in some areas. As I said though, the secondary characters were good and I would be interested in reading their stories in the future. I was given and ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.