Publication Date: September 9, 2020
About the Author: An international bestselling author, Nichole Van is an artist who feels life is too short to only have one obsession. In former lives, she has been a contemporary dancer, pianist, art historian, choreographer, culinary artist and English professor.
Though originally from Utah, she currently lives on the coast of Scotland with three similarly crazy children and one sane, very patient husband who puts up with all of them. In her free time, she enjoys long walks along the Scottish lochs and braes. She does not, however, enjoy haggis.
Due to the peculiarities of Scottish inheritance, the Countess Violet Kerr is an earl in her own right. As such, it is her duty to take care of the estate, arrange good marriages for her sisters, and act as head of the family. Plagued by indecision, however, Violet feels paralyzed and crushed by the weight of responsibility upon her. When Ewan Campbell, a giant of a man who is surprisingly also an artist, comes to work as a painting assistant for her uncle, Violet remembers meeting him in the distant past. Could this man be the key to unlocking her difficulties?
A former prizefighter with a dark cloud hanging over his past, the lowly born Ewan has a native intelligence and a comforting presence. But the one thing he does not have is a title (or the money that goes with it). Ewan listens to Violet’s quandaries and encourages her self-confidence, but his own confidence balks at laying his suit before a Countess. After the meddling interference of his highborn friends, the Earl of Hadley and Lord Rafe Gilbert, Ewan suspects that Violet might not be immune to his interest. But is it in her own best interest for him to pursue her? The high-minded Highlander must decide whether to fight for Violet Kerr or retire from the lists.
This book was a delightful addition to this series. Ewan was a character with depth and determination. It was interesting to see how his wits or dexterity were often assumed by others to be lacking because of his large size. Without “mansplaining” to Violet what she ought to do, he was able to help her unravel her thoughts about her difficulties and make decisions that were otherwise eluding her. Violet herself was a sympathetic character, exhibiting flaws that many can relate to, but showing a sense of kindness and duty throughout. The attraction between Ewan and Violet was palpable, and Van shows this clearly as Violet stumbles upon Ewan’s modeling for a painting in Greco-Roman dress (ahem, undress).
The overarching story of the series continues to progress as the Brotherhood continues to search for their lost companion, Jamie. Van builds suspense throughout and astonishing revelations are made that will certainly keep this reader coming back for the next book.