A Noble Deception by Veronica Bale
Series: The Douglas Clan #1
June 1, 2014
Genre(s): Historical Romance (Adult)
Scotland, 1455. King James the Second is caught in a bitter feud with the powerful Black Douglas clan.
After the king's latest insult - the unjust confiscation of Douglas lands - Lord John Douglas, Earl of Kildrummond, fears his quiet realm will be next. In a bid to thwart the king's ambition, the ailing nobleman deems that his successor will not be a Douglas. Instead, Kildrummond will pass to a distant relation: the landless, wealthless Lachlan Ramsay. There is one catch, however ... Lachlan must marry Lord Kildrummond's illegitimate daughter, Moira MacInnes.
Lachlan does not wish for a wife. Moira does not wish for a husband. The arrangement on offer, however, will give them both the one thing they do wish for: Kildrummond. If they agree to marry - on the understanding that they will have the union swiftly annulled upon the earl's death - they will both get what they want.
It is a simple enough plan, but can they carry their deception through to the end? When passions ignite, will Moira and Lachlan discover they want more than just Kildrummond?
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
As the illegitimate daughter of an earl, Moira thrives on her independence, content to make her own way rather than rely on anyone else. So when her dying father passes Kildrummond to a distant heir with the condition the Moira marry him, she’s anything but pleased. But refusing would put the land and people at risk, and the handsome Lachlan makes it clear that it would be a marriage in name only, so she does the only thing she can do. Accept and try not to fall in love in the process.
As much as I love historical romances, most of the time I avoid them because of the covers. I just cannot bring myself to post a review alongside a cover of some simpering, possibly fainting woman whose clothes are falling off while some dude with pecs the size of Volkswagons fawns over her. So little Miss Mischievous on the cover of this one had my attention immediately.
I’m not sure why I’ve been picking up so many Highlander romances lately. It’s not like I’m sixteen years old and raiding my mom’s stash of bodice-rippers. But I find myself in search of the perfect historical romance, and this one came pretty close.
Moira is not your typical romance novel heroine. She’s the illegitimate daughter of a titled man, and as such she’s seen the judgement and derision that was directed toward her late mother. She knows she’s a constant reminder of the earl’s infidelity and that his wife barely tolerates her, and she doesn’t want to risk her independence or pride the way her mother did. But she’s also not the closet beauty one might expect. She’s pretty, but in some ways plain, and she’s too thin — at least according to nearly every man, including Lachlan. Where most books like this simply put Barbie in plaid and have every man in sight falling over himself for her attention, Moira is just another girl, perhaps even too old (by historical standards) to be considered for a wife.
Lachlan was also not what I expected. He wasn’t thrilled to be roped into a marriage he didn’t want, but he wasn’t a complete jerk about it. He instead came up with a very feasible plan to simply have a marriage in name only, have it annulled when the time came, and make sure Moira was guaranteed a home there for as long as she wanted.
But of course, the more time they spent together in their charade, the more they came to like each other, and that’s where the story bucked another standard. They actually had the marriage annulled and went their separate ways. What?!?! Fortunately, the happy ending was around the corner, and we eventually got there with the best response to a marriage proposal EVER… But through it all, A Noble Deception proved to be anything but just another historical romance. It’s fun, with characters you can’t help but love, none of the usual cliche dangers, and just the right amount of romance. The only thing I didn’t like was that there weren’t ten more chapters for me to dive into.