Series: MacIain (Book 1)
Seven years have passed since Glynis MacIain made the foolish mistake of declaring her love to Lennox Cameron, only to have him stare at her dumbfounded. Heartbroken, she accepted the proposal of a diplomat and moved to America, where she played the role of a dutiful wife among Washington's elite. Now a widow, Glynis is back in Scotland. Though Lennox can still unravel her with just one glance, Glynis is no longer the naïve girl Lennox knew and vows to resist him.
With the American Civil War raging, shipbuilder Lennox Cameron must complete a sleek new blockade runner for the Confederate Navy. He cannot afford any distractions, especially the one woman he's always loved. Glynis's cool demeanor tempts him to prove to her what a terrible mistake she made seven years ago.
As the war casts its long shadow across the ocean, will a secret from Glynis's past destroy any chance for a future between the two star-crossed lovers?
Good second chance story with a bit of mystery and a different background than most historical romances. I really enjoyed the setting of Glasgow and the merchant classes as a break from London and the nobility. I also learned some things about the American Civil War that I didn't know before. I love it when an author does the research to ensure that their stories are accurate.
Glynis and Lennox had grown up together as neighbors, with Lennox being her brother Duncan's best friend. When she was eighteen, she gathered her courage and told him how she felt and kissed him, only to have him stare at her in shock. To make matters worse, she heard that he was going to marry someone else. She fled to London, where she accepted the proposal of a British diplomat, then going with him to America. Seven years later, she returns to Glasgow as a widow, happy to be back home with her family.
But things have changed. Her family has fallen on hard times thanks to the war. Their cotton mills have been hit hard by their inability to get shipments from the South. Her father died right after she married, and her brother is trying to keep the business going. On the other hand, Lennox and his family have done well with their shipbuilding business. His crafts are in high demand by Confederate blockade runners. She is surprised to find out that he has never married.
The first time that Lennox and Glynis see each other after her return, there are sparks. But Lennox notices changes in her, ones that seem to have beaten down the spirit he remembers. He's missed her and thought of her often over the years. He's intrigued by and attracted to the woman she is now, and is determined to get to know her again.
She is still just as attracted to him, but she can't give in to it. There is too much that she has seen and done that keeps her from believing that she could ever deserve having him back in her life. Her life with her husband hadn't been a happy one. The man she thought he was turned out to be very different. The more I learned about him, the less I liked him. Everything she went through made her a stronger person, even though she didn't always see it. She hopes that being back home will enable her to move on with her life, until someone from her past shows up with plans of his own.
I really enjoyed seeing the rekindling of the relationship between Lennox and Glynis. She had never doubted her love for him, but because of her past she is determined to stay away from him now. The problem is that Lennox isn't cooperating, and the effect he has on her makes it hard for her to stick with her intentions. Lennox hadn't realized his feelings for her until it was too late, and now that she's back he's determined to get his way. I enjoyed their interactions; thanks to the long history they have together they are frequently very amusing.
There's one scene between them that gets witnessed by a rather nasty woman, who then proceeds to attempt to destroy Glynis and Lennox's reputations, which only forces them together. But both of them let their pride get in the way of sharing their feelings, leading to misunderstandings and a lack of trust. Lennox is also protective of Glynis, if only he could find out just what he's protecting her from.
Both Glynis and Lennox were dealing with the effects of the American Civil War. Lennox and his shipbuilding business have been very successful at building ships that are capable of running the Union blockade of the South. Though Great Britain was technically neutral in the war, there were quite a few businesses that ignored the government's position. There is someone who seems very determined that Lennox not be able to fulfill his latest order. When his purchaser is murdered right there in the shipyard, he's determined to find out who is responsible. Glynis has someone from her past who is blackmailing her, trying to get her to spy on Lennox and his business. She's ashamed of some of the things in her past, and is afraid of what could happen when Lennox finds out. I loved seeing how she found the courage to do what she had to do, and how she went about doing it. There was an interesting twist to the identity of the murderer and it wasn't who I expected it to be.