Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Pennington Family #2
Publication Date: 3/27/18
This exciting and interesting tale is the second installment in May McGoldrick’s Pennington Family series. It is well paced, well written, and well plotted. Don’t let the book blurb fool you, he didn’t exactly walk away from the betrothal because of the gossip. So, if that description puts you off – as it did me – I’d say give it a chance – because it isn’t exactly accurate. I won’t give you his reasons because you need to read the book to find out. Now, I WILL say that I understand his reasoning, but NOT his timing. He was a very smart and capable man and should have recognized his dilemma long before he did. So, as I said – if that trope bothers you and you are thinking of not reading it because of it – give it a chance, I think you’ll like it.
We met Josephine Pennington (Jo) in the first book of the series – Romancing the Scot. You couldn’t help but like her in that one. She’s no less likable in this one, but I did feel she was a bit of a doormat. I really did enjoy watching her grow a spine. It wasn’t that she wasn’t smart and decisive, she just couldn’t stand conflict – especially when that conflict involved her. She allowed others to gossip viciously about her without any confrontation at all – she’d just run away. That forced everyone who loved her, especially the males, to be more and more protective of her. I was so very happy to see her grow a spine – and use it toward the end of the book. There is a scene with Lady Nithsdale at around the 95-96% mark that you will absolutely LOVE!
Captain Wynne Melfort is the younger son of a hateful, vindictive, spiteful, bigoted Baron – and his mother is as bad as his father. It would take a lot for a very young man to go against them and society. I was glad to learn that he found his bravery and was an accomplished leader in the Royal Navy. I think it took him a while, but he did get there. I believe my main reservation about him is his timing. I do sort of understand his reasoning for jilting Jo, what I question is his timing. Early on in the relationship, he knew ALL of the things he used as an excuse – he could have just skipped the proposal altogether or given her a choice to jilt him earlier. Instead, he made the decision for both of them. Then, he tells her in a letter! Granted, he called on her, but when she was out he left a letter breaking their engagement – say what! Talk about cowardice.
Sixteen years after the broken betrothal, Wynne is retired from the navy and has gone into partnership with his ship’s surgeon. They have opened an innovative hospital for people with mental illness. Wynne is the director of the hospital and the surgeon, of course, is the doctor. (BTW – you’ll love the doctor and I’m sure we will see him in his own story later). Wynne is also a widower with a son, Cuffe (wish I knew how to pronounce that). They are in the Highlands and Cuffe is having a hard time adjusting to the changes in his life.
They have a patient in their hospital who is uncommunicative – but he keeps sketching pictures of the same woman. Once Wynne sees the sketches, he recognizes the woman immediately – it is Jo. Wynne knows how important it is to Jo that she find her origins and Wynne thinks maybe this patient might hold a clue to those origins. So, he has Dr. McKendry write to Jo and include a copy of the sketch. Wynne knows that Jo will come to the hospital to see the patient, and he plans to be away while she is there – except she shows up earlier than expected.
The story leads the two of them into discoveries of many kinds. Discoveries about themselves, discoveries about their feelings for each other, discoveries about how strong they really are – so many things. As they search for Jo’s origins, they have to deal with villains, love and a lonely, unhappy little boy.
While I liked the first book better, this one is still a great read and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”