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The Lass Wore Black (Scottish Sisters) Mass Market Paperback – 29 Jan 2013

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (29 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062027808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062027801
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.4 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 646,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Catriona Cameron was once famed for her seductive beauty and charm. Now she saw no one, hiding from the world . . . and no one dared break through her self-imposed exile.

No one, that is, until Mark Thorburn burst into her home, and Catriona's darkened world began to have color again. Thorburn, secretly the heir to an Earldom, claimed he was a footman. But Catriona didn't care about the scandal their passion could cause . . . for his very touch sparked her back to a life of sensuality, one she thought she'd never have again.

Little does she know that Mark is part of a masquerade. One that will end when they become the target of a madman set on revenge. Mark realizes he will have to do more than win her love . . . he will have to save her life as well.

About the Author

Karen Ranney wanted to be a writer from the time she was five years old and filled her Big Chief tablet with stories. People in stories did amazing things and she was too shy to do anything amazing. Years spent in Japan, Paris, and Italy, however, not only fueled her imagination but proved she wasn't that shy after all.

Now a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, she prefers to keep her adventures between the covers of her books. Karen lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I expected The Lass Wore Black to be like most other historical romances of this era, but I was pleasantly surprised when it started to do things a little bit differently. This was more than just a romance and after a little bit of a rocky start I found myself enjoying this.

What set The Lass Wore Black apart were its characters. They were very far from perfect and had multiply flaws. They were not necessarily likable but they were human.

Catriona used to be a beauty, she prided herself on her looks and loved the way she could seduce and influence men. She becomes horrifically disfigured after a carriage accident and losses her looks and the powers that came with them. This book explores her recovery and how she finds a different, kinder side of herself once she lost her vanity. Catriona is not always easy to like, at times she is selfish and stubborn, but I could not help but admire her. She handles herself well after the accident, considering the damage that has been done. She rarely self-pities or complains even though she is in a lot of pain. When she wanted to she was capable of great kindness and I ended up really liking her.

Mark is another great character, unlike Catriona he is selfless and lives to help others. He is smart and kind but his actions were not always agreeable. He deserves Catriona (for good reason) but takes it too far. He is not always clean cut, not always the angel he is painted to be but his heart is in the right place.

The Storyline and pacing were great, it never felt rushed and I was never bored. I thought the sex scenes were a little dull but found the romance sweet. Over all I thought this was a charming and at times dark historical romance that dared to be a little different.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read such a lot of Karen Ranney in the last year or so since I discovered her, but then I was lured elsewhere to my other world of Vampires, Demons, Werewolves and other sexy beasts, also FSOG, Bared to you etc. the list goes on; I was exhausted!
I needed to slip back to the Historical books that I love. The one review on this page tells you all you need to know about the story but I stepped into the pages and didn't come out until the end because I loved this book; a change really is as good as a rest.

Karen Ranney really takes you into the heart of the characters so you feel as if you are the person you are reading about. It was a balm to my soul.

No need to reiterate what has already been done perfectly before me but the first review seemed so lonely and three stars so meagre in the face of such a good recommendation, hence my five stars.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 32 reviews
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Catriona does not win me over 31 Jan. 2013
By HP - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Normally I comment on a book when it is either so good that I want to shout read this book! or it is so bad that I hope to prevent others from wasting time and money. I am breaking my rule with this novel because the author is so skillful at what she does. It is the character, Catriona, that I find so abhorrent that no genius with the written word would be able to salvage her. I enjoyed the first book in this series so much that I preordered this book for my Kindle and completed it in about a day.

The heroine, Catriona is a self-centered, amoral, selfish person intent only on pleasure for herself regardless of the harm she causes others. She is capable destructing innocent lives of others but you only learn of that from the first book in this series. We catch up with her in this book as a tragedy befalls her and throughout the story we are hopeful in her gradual redemption. I don't buy it. She did not suddenly become so bad after the tragic loss of her parents because the groundwork has already been laid that she was indulged and favored as a child. You just knew she was going to head in the wrong direction. Now as an adult a horrible accident has disfigured and maimed her. What will this aggravating person do? Anyone can be saved but Catriona does not grasp the good life until the very end of this book, and even then, well..... Throughout most of this story Catriona spends her time feeling sorry for herself, sorry for her loss of beauty which means she will no longer win the good life. She is a very shallow person. Even toward the end of the story when the hero is giving her an encouraging compliment she says, "this from such a handsome person", so you see she is still only influenced by surface, and not inner beauty. The hero, Mark, is a true saint. Instead of following an unproductive life espoused by his father and followed by his brothers, Mark embraces a career of doing what he can to benefit others. I kept asking myself what he saw in Catriona because we are led to believe that he falls in love with her long before she shows signs of changing. Maybe Catriona was really another one of his do-good projects, this one that he marries and provides for.

I enjoy follow-on books because they usually briefly touch on the characters of a previous story that I liked and we learn in this story that Jean and Morgan are happy and starting a family. I did not enjoy making a heroine out of a character I detested. Catriona should have been allowed to go to the dustbin after the first book.

Do not believe that I have given up on Karen Ranney. She is an excellent author and I have preordered her next book, The Devil of Clan Sinclair.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
How many layers between the real me and the one I let people see? 12 Feb. 2013
By Mary Gramlich - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having the wrong person love you and too selfish to think of the harm it could bring was what ruined Catriona Cameron. Forced to hide her mistakes behind closed doors and drawn curtains, Catriona refuses to let another man into her heart. Catriona would never have expected a lowly "footman" to be the reason she cannot obtain a moment's rest.

Dr. Mark Thorburn started out as a footman to gain entry into Catriona's life and gain her trust. Mark never expecting it was her heart he wanted to capture or that his need for her would obscure all else. The pretense was grueling as she never let him forget his place in the food chain of life not knowing he had more rank and money than she could ever imagine. Mark could see through all the layers Catriona covered herself in to the real woman who was exasperating and exhilarating all at the same time.

The problem that should have resolved itself when the truth is revealed only becomes worse as Catriona's demon materializes. The journey Catriona has taken to heal the old wounds should pave the way for love to step in but instead someone is trying to crush her spirit once again.

With a spirited exchange of words Karen Ranney has displayed how great romance is written and fascinating characters are developed.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Leads connection not strong enough 1 Feb. 2013
By Melissa - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Somehow the ingredients that make a good romance novel like redemption and excitement which are a part of The Lass Wore Black, do not come together so well. There's a certain charm and tension missing between the leads.

Catriona was a stunning woman who was also vain shallow and incredibly self centered. She is no proper Victorian miss. She has had three lovers and now wants to enter society and make a good match but all her dreams are forgotten when she is involved in a carriage accident marring her lovely face.

Catriona escapes to Scotland living with her Aunt in seclusion shrouded by a veil to cover her facial scars. She is essentially a hermit with no will to live because she deeply mourns her loss of beauty.

Catriona's aunt is worried about her and sends for a Scottish physician Mark Thoburn to assist her niece. Mark remembers the beautiful Catriona and he attends her not as a physician but disguised as a footman. He delivers her food to her and Catriona is less than thrilled that her Aunt's new footman is bold and unwilling to obey her.

Mark and Catriona share many barbs. Mark somehow falls for the veiled Catriona and I am not sure why because Catriona does very little to encourage his affections. She is rude and belittling. Mark does not act so honorably in this novel at times, especially for a physician when it comes to dealing with Catriona. Still Mark has a good soul, he doctors the poor and he feels his heart go out to Catriona.

Eventually Catriona decides she will become a better person and this is the most intriguing storyline of the novel. Catriona has always lived for herself so thinking of others first does not come to her naturally; she must choose to be compassionate. Her interactions with some of the poorest Scots in Edinburgh are touching, more so than her intimate moments with Mark.

However Catriona does not transform completely she can still be stubborn and she recognizes her envy of her sister's good fortune. Her best scenes though come when she faces her shortcomings, especially fine is her courage when she lifts her veil before an old suitor. Ms Ranney creates a poignant picture there along with her interactions with children who observe her face. These are the most memorable and emotional scenes, not the ones featuring a romantic tryst between the leads. Therefore, I am giving this story three stars more for Catriona's transformation rather than the leads romance.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Gender-flipping the "Scarred Hero" Trope 17 Nov. 2013
By Clio Reads - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is much about this book that I really, really liked:

1. The gender-flip of the "scarred hero" trope. Catriona has been scarred/disfigured in a terrible carriage accident and now must learn how to get along without beauty, which had been her defining feature. Physical allure is more important to women then men, beauty more critical to women's identity and social value, so it was a thought-provoking reversal of a fairly standard plot device.

2. Catriona was not a virgin. More than the loss of her beauty, she mourned the loss of passion and feared no man would ever want to be intimate with her. I found it refreshing that she recognized that she'd been bad by society's standards, but knew that if she'd followed the rules, she would never have known sexual fulfillment. A sexually-liberated heroine is a rare treat in historical romance.

3. A really, chillingly evil villain. I'm not usually a fan of murder-mystery subplots in romance novels, but this wasn't a mystery: the reader knows from the start who the bad guy is, and the scenes written from his perspective are gut-churningly dark.

4. Secondary characters, like Mark's grandfather and his housekeeper, were really unique and interesting. Often characters like these fade into the background; I appreciate that here, even minor characters were vividly drawn.

Other things about this book I didn't enjoy so much:

1. The pacing of the plot and flow of the dialogue was choppy/uneven. Parts of this book dragged, and parts went so fast they were hard to follow. A few times I had to re-read a few pages because I lost the flow of the narrative. Sometimes dialogue didn't make sense. This story is unique enough that I think if someone else had written it, I'd give it five stars, but I found Ms. Ranney's narrative style clunky and unwieldy.

2. Neither hero nor heroine were very likeable. Mark is busy, self-righteous, judgmental, and kind of self-absorbed. At the start of the novel, he is betrothed to another young woman, Anne. Though he has not formally declared his intention to marry her, he knows his behavior, public and private, has given the impression that they have an understanding. When he begins to fall for Catriona, he blows off the blameless Anne with a brutal lack of delicacy, tact, or remorse.

3. Catriona is selfish and vain, though given her injuries and physical and emotional pain, her self-pity is understandable, if tedious to read. More than Mark, she exhibits substantial character growth over the course of the novel.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
engaging Victorian fairy tale romance 29 Jan. 2013
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In 1862 London, Catriona Cameron panics when she sees Andrew Pender at a gala as he is the only person she had sex with and she fears will expose the beautiful "virgin" to ridicule. Riding inside her coach, a shot kills Maisie the horse followed by an explosion. Shards of glass rip into Catriona's face and her leg twists at a horrible angle as the coach turns over.

In 1863 Edinburgh, Catriona's Aunt Dina MacTavish worries about her niece, who hides from the Ton and wears a veil to conceal the scars when she must venture outside. Desperate to help Catriona who she thinks of as her daughter, Dina asks Dr. Mark Thorburn to help her niece who she admits is not a blood relative. Reluctantly Mark has no time for wallowing fools as his patients are the city's needy slum dwellers, but visits Catriona who thinks he is a handsome footman. He revises his opinion of her from self-pitying idiot to someone in need. As much as he heals her, she mends his heart with love. Though he knows he owes her the truth that he is an aristocratic heir, neither is aware someone wants to finish the job started with the killing of Maisie by murdering Catriona.

This is an engaging Victorian romance starring a dedicated doctor and his despondent lost soul patient. The exciting fable provides readers with a strong moral premise by looking profoundly at what beauty truly is. Although the ogre is obvious early on, fans will relish this powerful fairy tale romance.

Harriet Klausner
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