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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 2 star ratings
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    Be Still my heart

    To say this book was made my heart smile does not even begin to describe it! A hero who cares deeply for his son Jamie, Benneit, Duke of Lochmore, is being pushed by his late wife's family to take Jamie and let them care for him or enroll him in school. When he will not give in, they push to have his late wife's cousin Joane to act as a companion to Jamie until he married. He was already set to marry Lady Tessa McCrieff, but it was not official yet. The union would pull the two families together and mend a rift that had been ongoing, plus McCrieff would help support his business. Jo, having been widowed for two years, is looking forward to caring for Jamie because she loves children. Plus she will enjoy being in Scotland and be a little more independent. Jo knew Benneit from when he was courting he cousin years ago, but they had not interacted that much. Of course he never paid that much attention to her. But fate is ready to step in when he sees how Jo and Jamie spend time together and her special way with him. Never realizing how lovely she was inside and out, Benneit begins to have feelings for her and she for him. Can I say that Lara Temple has enchanted me with her wonderful words that magically bring the setting of Scotland and the world of Benneit and Jo alive? She pulled me into the lives of the characters to the point I could feel their emotions and only hope they could be together forever. He is such a compelling character with his love that surrounds his son and you know he will do anything to protect him. Jo grows strong the longer she is away from her family and loves Jamie almost as much as he does. Is there any way they can be together now that he is pledged to another? I literally could not put this book down once I started. Yes, I was up until 3 in the am, but this was much more important than sleep! To say my heart melted and I sighed several times only touches slightly on my emotions. I cannot wait to read the next story in this series and can only hope it comes soon!! This will go on my to be read again shelf and I would say one of my favorite reads this year! (less)
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    Utterly breathtaking!

    Since her husband died, Joane Langdale was the poor relation who went where the Uxmores deemed she would be useful. This is how she became the governess of Jamie, the Duke of Lochmore's four year-old son. It was for a very short time, as Benneit, the duke, was set to marry Lady Tessa McCrieff. Nothing was definitive, but it would contribute to end a long-time riff between the two families, and Jamie needs a mother. Jo and Benneit had been aware of each other the year Jo came out and went largely unnoticed, while Bella, the Uxmore jewel, dazzled Benneit into marrying her. Now widowed, Benneit has become so preoccupied with the duchy's finances, he fears he is not paying enough attention to his son, as the not-so-meek Mrs Langdale almost points out. She is prickly, he seems cold, and their business association appears doomed from the start. They are stubborn, but not stupid, and not as immune to the other's nearness as they initially thought. Utterly breathtaking. These are the words that came to mind when reading Lara Temple's stunning descriptions of Scotland and how she captures the harsh beauty of the country. The visuals are so astonishing, that even while only reading about it, I was as mesmerised by the majestic landscape and the sea as Jo was. UNLACED BY THE HIGHLAND DUKE is not only a feast of sumptuous imagery with a touch of gothic, but an outstanding character study. As the author slowly peels away the layers, frustration, melancholy, longing for a fuller life surface. I watched in fascination as Jo and Benneit emerge from behind their masks, and I was swept away in this amazing journey of discovery. I loved that there was the tiniest spark of attraction and that it very gradually ignited into an all-consuming fire. It is a thing of beauty to watch a relationship evolve so organically, so naturally, and to be able to truly believe in it. Benneit is torn between love and duty, and because he is so honourable, it took him quite a long time to come to his senses. I was overwhelmed and enchanted by Ms Temple's sublime prose, her exquisite vocabulary, the rightness of the dialogues, and the impeccable pace sustained throughout the book. I also found quite impressive how seamlessly the story arc flows from book one of The Lochmore Legacy, Janice Preston's The Inconvenient Highland Wedding, as I remembered Tessa, Lord Aberwyld, and the distillery that Benneit aims to build. I didn't think that going back in time to tell the whole story would be so successful, but it is. I give 4 1/2 stars
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