1. Sutherland’s Secret Sharon Cullen. Loveswept 2016. Netgalley. Brice Sutherland is returning from a meeting with the other Scottish clans when he finds a bundle of rags in the road. He stoops down to pick it up and realizes with a start that it is a woman. She’s been tortured and bruised to within an inch of her life. He fears she will die before morning. Lady Eleanor Hirst, Countess of Glendale’s story of what happened to her and how she came to be there by the roadside fills Brice with rage and concern. He hides her at his castle even though it puts his people in danger, her being English. As she heals, they discover a love that neither knew before. But forces are working against both to see them destroyed.
I love Scottish historicals for the down-to-earthiness of them and this is no exception. Brice and Eleanor are truly characters to champion. Neither is quite complete without the other and together, they are formidable. I loved seeing the character arcs and watching them both grow into who they would be. I could have used a touch more of the setting though. I realize that it was hard to do that however, under the circumstances of having to hide. Their love affair was blazing and touching given what Eleanor has been through. I would give this 4.5 stars.
2. Shameless Joan Johnston. Dell Books 2016. Netgalley. Pippa Grayhawk and her father move from Australia back to his father’s home in Texas after Pippa finds herself pregnant by a married man. Nursing her broken heart, she runs into Devon Flynn. Though their families have been bitter enemies for ages, the two become friends. Pippa keeps her pregnancy secret from Devon, afraid that if he knew he wouldn’t understand.
Pippa’s and Devon’s relationship grows realistically given the circumstances. Their love story is both heartbreaking and joyful to say the least. The character’s growth is effective and believable. I loved learning about Australia from Pippa and her father and Texas from both them and Devon. This is a sweet romance, a little heated but not too much, if you don’t like that. I wish there’d been more closure at the end regarding two other couples but there is another book set to hit the stands, so that will be another future read. 4 stars.