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.
What lengths would you go to in order to protect your biggest secret? In a story of tumultuous history and a need to survive, Aileen shows extreme bravery. She will do anything to shelter her young son, the precocious Jamie, from danger. Aileen is easy to cheer for and adore, as her charm shines through her mama bear tendencies.
Conall, an unlikely hero, reminded me to not base everything on first impressions because mine weren't that great of this man. He quickly wormed his way right into the center of my heart, right along with that darling Jamie.
This story obviously has fantastic characters, but a realistic portrait is also painted of Scotland. It's not all sunshine and roses, as hard times are shown. I loved the way age-old traditions were explained and entwined into the plot and sweet romance. The setting makes me want to pay this country a visit, especially if I could travel back in time and see things as they were about 200 year ago.
Content: mild violence; mild romance.
*I received a copy from the publisher, which did not affect my opinion in any way.*
Scotland has always had a pull on me. So I jumped at the chance to read Miss Leslie’s Secret. I was not disappointed. The book described all about the weather and the terrain and the life there. Having been there myself, it just makes me want to go back. I didn’t care much for the haggis, this quote though, just eww….
His stomach growled as he thought of the mutton roasted slowly on a spit, the boiled eel, and the Highlander haggis the British soldiers had teased him about. They had no idea what a true delicacy ‘twas.
But this one is what I love about Scotland….
Around him, Conall could hear murmured conversations. Deep tones, loud exclamations, and guttural sounds formed at the back of the throat- this is how language was supposed to sound, he thought. Not the rapid chatter of Spanish or the nasal tones of French or even the precise, clipped words of English. The Scottish tongue was warm and hearty, filled with feeling. The language was as rich as the land it came from, and throughout his travels, he’d missed it more than he could have imagined.
The book goes back to a simpler time that also had much more hardships. I like my air conditioning and the internet, thank you very much. Without the internet, both Aileen and Conall had a lot of work in order to find their family members.
The chemistry between Conall and Aileen and the affection that Conall felt for Aileen and Jamie was obvious in the writing. I felt anxious at all their meetings. Aileen had a secret to keep and also had a little pride in her that kept her from letting Conall totally in. Conall was a true gentleman and taught Jamie (Aileen’s son) how to be one. Jamie seemed to soak up everything Conall taught him.
I liked how Connell was an honest man. He was a good listener and seemed to observe a minute before saying anything in response.. He was compassionate but could be an effective teacher as well.
“‘Tisn’t always a person’s fault if bad things happen. Nor is God to blame, nor the fire.” He glanced down and saw Jamie was watching him, listening closely. “We must have faith and do our best to be moral, honest people. And if misfortune does befall us, we pray for God’s mercy, and we help each other. ‘Tisn’t enough to count on a fire or the Lord to keep everything in order. The most important thing is to care for others and to help them, ye ken? Thinkin’ bad things happen because of something we did or didn’t do is useless.” He stopped walking, turning to look Jamie in the eye, willing the boy to understand the weight of what he was saying. “Blamin’ ourselves or others leads only to remorse and pain.”
Also, I saw somewhere that Jennifer Moore was working on a book about a woman named Fionn. I saw her mentioned in this book!
I always get sad at the end of a book I really enjoyed. I always want more of the characters. Just a little more into their lives. Just more of Scotland too! I know my review is all over the place but there was more than just the characters that I liked. I loved reading about the scenery and the culture, their hardships in life, things that matter the most to people!
If you like Scotland, reading about human trafficking, regency romances, keeping secrets and the consequences they bring, family, Military men, faith, forgiveness,, boats, suspense, then this might be for you.
This book was so much fun. We actually just took a trip to Scotland and I was very excited to read a story set in the Scottish Highlands. It did not disappoint. I knew of many of the places that were talked about, so visualizing the characters at home was easy to do. I loved the personalities of Conall, Aileen, and Jaime. Watching the characters grow together was done so well. Then the when the secret comes out, the tension rises and the ending was perfect. I would highly recommend this book to any and everyone.
I loved this book! Such a great setting in Scotland, in the aftermath of a tragic history that shows not only the mettle and strength of Aileen and the other members of the community, but their heartache as well. Everyone has lost someone, and both Aileen and Conall have family members who are lost. Aileen has created a new family for herself with Jamie and an elderly woman from her village (who is pretty funny) and soon Conall joins their tight-knit circle as he and Jamie take to each other. It was fascinating to learn about many of the traditions of the Scottish and how they weave into their spiritual beliefs. A wonderful story of change, opening up to love, and the importance of family and community.
(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
I really enjoyed reading this one. I really liked the way I could feel the uncertainty of this time in history in this one. During this time period, many of the Scottish people had been driven from their homes by their landlords not wanting to deal with tenants anymore. Both of the main characters deal with this uncertainty of what had happened to their remaining family members for different reasons. I can only imagine just how horrible this would have been for the people it really happened to. So sad!
I liked the Scottish traditions and oddities of beliefs that are shown. The Scots are truly a superstitious people, and I love the way that's shown in the book through their festival but really through the way they live their lives. They constantly are doing things a certain way, because they believe that doing it another way will cause them harm in some way or another. This kind of stuff fascinates me, probably in part because I have a lot of Scottish ancestors. It's interesting to see the way they would have lived and the things they would have done.
The characters in this one are so great! I loved Aileen. I love the way she cares so much for her son, Jamie, that she can't see that he needs a bit of correcting to turn into the kind of man he should be. I love that she does have a secret, and it's a huge one! But the reason she has such a secret is because of the goodness of her heart. Her kindness is a huge thing in this book.
I like Conall too! I liked the way he was able to take Jamie under his wing and lead him along a little bit. You can tell he did a great job too, because of the way Jamie sees him as a father figure. I loved that when it really counted, he was there for Jamie and Aileen and went out of his way to take care of them.
The plot of this one is great, I love that it has the love story, but there's some action and adventure as well. This is one book you won't want to miss!
This Highland historical romance set in 1800’s Scotland had a slower pace to it than some of Moore’s books, but the setting and characters were intriguing enough and well-written to pull me along at a steady pace. Knowing Miss Leslie’s secret keeps you reading to see how fate treats her and her son. War hero Conall Stewart is a quiet, yet charming hero. The way he meets Jamie, Miss Leslie’s son, is cute and I loved the bond the man and boy form as they work together. Jamie, the eight year old boy, is probably my favorite part of this story. His character is so vulnerable, yet sassy, yet polite and heart-tugging. Every scene with him in it delighted me. I loved that boy. This story has a good mix of awesome story-telling elements—intriguing characters, action, suspense, secrets, villains and danger, and, my favorite of course, romance. I love the way Miss Leslie and Conall become friends, and eventually form an attachment. So cute. The Highland setting is well written and made me feel as if I was standing on green cliffs and looking out to the rough Atlantic Ocean. Overall, I’d highly recommend this one. It was a great historical romance.