A Fine Madness by Elizabeth Essex

A Fine Madness (Highland Brides Book 3)A Fine Madness by Elizabeth Essex

Release Date: May 2, 2017

Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for a book provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

This was a charming little story about Hamish Cathcart, the third son of an earl and Rory’s (from Mad for Love) half brother and Elspeth Otis, orphaned daughter of John Otis, infamous author of a banned book. This is the third book in the series, but it appears to run concurrently with Mad About the Marquess and I thought it tied the three books together nicely.

Hamish is in a bind, his father has decided that it is time for him to marry and has given him about 5 weeks to pick a bride or be cut off. Hamish has no desire to dance to his father’s tune and is determined to find a way to make his own fortune. As luck would have it, opportunity knocks in the form of Lady Ivers – sister to John Otis. She suggests that Hamish revive and revamp her late brother’s book and points him in the direction of the original publisher.

Elspeth is at home with her two aunts (her mother’s sisters) celebrating her 24th birthday when she is surprised by a delivery from her aunt (Lady Ivers) from Edinburgh – since she has never had any contact with her father’s family, she is shocked to find out that her aunts have kept the knowledge that Lady Ivers has sent her letters and gifts over the years from her. She makes a rash decision and leaves the cottage and travels to Edinburgh – much to the dismay and contempt of her aunts. Unsure of her welcome, Elspeth is delighted by the warm welcome she receives from Lady Ivers. Lady Ivers explains to Elspeth that the trunk that was delivered to her was actually her father’s and encourages Elspeth to explore the contents and pick up where her father left off on the manuscript within. She then points in the direction of the original publisher of her father’s book.

When Hamish and Elspeth first meet, it is definitely not love at first sight – but after Elspeth leaves and Hamish reads the book she has written – he is blown away and sees the means to make his venture a success and to escape the marriage noose his father is trying to trap him in.

Hamish and Elspeth meet again at Lady Ivers home and agree work together to publish the book. Hamish realizes that Elspeth is not the mouse he first thought and the more time he is with her, the more he wants her and not just for the book. Elspeth is also smitten by Hamish – but she has lead a small life and is sure that a worldly man like Hamish would never want a girl like her. When they meet at a ball and things become heated between them – Elspeth’s upbringing resurfaces and she is ashamed of herself – so when Lady Ivers tells her one of her aunts is ill and asking for her – she bolts.

Hamish is not willing to let Elspeth walk away and sets out after her. Just as he convinces her that should be together – a misunderstanding sends Elspeth running again.

I really enjoyed this book – it is well written, has an interesting storyline, likeable characters, no real villains (unless you count the aunts as villains – which they kind of were), a couple of steamy-ish love scenes, a quickly resolved misunderstanding and a wonderful declaration scene.

This book could easily be read as a stand alone title – but it does tie the other two books into the series very nicely.

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Avid reader (and reviewer) of historical romance.

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