Decorated war hero Conall Stewart has spent ten years envisioning his return to his beloved Scottish Highlands. But now, with the days of battle finally behind him, it seems that his dreams of home have been in vain: the land of his youth lies in ruins, and his family is gone. Though he will never stop searching for his kin, Conall knows he must begin again. But when he takes on a rented farm in a nearby town, he finds far more than the fresh start he was looking for.
After catching a mischievous local lad stealing, Conall returns young Jamie to his mother, Aileen Leslie—and finds the woman’s coddling of the child maddening. What Conall does not realize is that Aileen hides a frightening secret: her devoted protection of Jamie is all that shelters them from discovery by a dangerous man from their past. Drawn together by circumstance, Conall soon develops a fatherly relationship with Jamie—as well as romantic feelings for Aileen. But even as the couple accepts their growing affection for one another, time runs out for Aileen and her son: after years of hiding, they have been found. Conall lost his family once—he will do all in his power not to let history repeat itself.
|Size||6 x 9|
|Published||Covenant Communications 2017|
Beautiful story, set in the stunning Scottish Highlands. One of my favourite places on this planet is the area around Glencoe, Glen Nevis - Fort William & Glenfinnan. You can imagine my delight when I discovered that Jennifer Moore had set one of her stories here. She has developed a consistent reputation for doing her homework. Always thorough with her research, you can be sure that Miss Leslie's Secret will follow suit. I was impressed with her use of the language and the local dialect. While I'm not a fan of too much written speech in the form of the way it would be spoken, because no matter how skillfully done it can be difficult to read and follow as a reader. Especially one you are not familiar. I think the 'thoughts' of the character are better written without the dialect. It works here though, which is mostly used in the spoken text. To a certain extent it adds to the authenticity.
What do I love about this book in addition to the location that just sets my mind wandering through all my memories of walking through these places? The originality of the plot. The villagers of Dunaid are written into the life of the heroine, Aileen Leslie. They have been her sole support system for almost 8 years. Posing as a widow with the son of her best friend who died, she has been hiding from the boy's father. Sergeant Conall Stewart is back from the war, a hero and ready to return to his homeland. A place he always felt the need to escape as a young boy, he now feels that longing to return. His family are gone and he intends to do what he must in the interim while he waits for news of their whereabouts. They emigrated to America, and although he has the opportunity to live and farm in the Highlands in fairly comfy able circumstances - he dreams of the day when he will see his family again. Aileen and Conall are thrown together almost immediately and he thinks her a soft woman who refuses to see the true nature of her son. There is every element of a good story within the pages. History, danger, survival, mystery, hope, joy and romance. This one was hard to put down. As ever the covers just seem to be getting better, I've LOVED the past two.
In addition - I was not surprised in the slightest to discover (in the acknowledgements section) that Carla Kelly is an inspiration to Jennifer. You very much get the feel of a Kelly book as you read Moore's. That same quality and certainly both of their deep love for history, and writing beautiful stories with it.
Thank you to Netgalley & Covenant for the eARC. This is my honest review.
This book transported me to the Scottish Highlands. Conall has been far from his home for a long time and through him I was able to feel the longing to be there and the peace that he felt in coming home. This story is full of Scottish traditions and I love how traditions bind people together. I had a really strong sense of this while reading. The author does a really good job of capturing the pride of the Scottish people, their struggles and their love for the land and each other.
Aileen is such a good mother with very strong mama bear tendencies. I loved her for that. She loves that little Jaime with everything in her and I can surely relate to that! Aileen is a strong woman, and a hard worker which made her an easy character to like and root for.
This was another great story from Jennifer Moore!
Content: kissing, mild peril
Jennifer Moore has written another winning story. It's fun to catch up with Conall Stewart after having met him in Miss Whitaker Opens Her Heart. I've really enjoyed the way so many of her books are connected through the different characters. In this one, Conall returns home to the Scottish Highlands only to discover his family has left for Canada. Not willing to give up the homeland he has missed for over a decade, Conall settles down in the small village of Dunaid. There he encounters a mischievous young lad named Jamie. When Jamie steals from him, Conall returns to boy home only to encounter the boy's mother. As Conall gets to know Jamie and his mother, he begins to realize that maybe he's found a new family. But since when did the path of love ever run smooth? Aileen Leslie, Jamie's mother, has a rather dangerous secret that may change everything once it's revealed, and to Aileen's horror, that day seems to be coming closer despite her best efforts. I found the characters winning, the setting and customs fascinating, and the plot engaging. Another fantastic historical romance from one of my favorite authors.