Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Somerset Sisters #3
Publication Date: 11/13/18
I thoroughly enjoyed this third book in the Somerset Sisters series. It is excellently written and the characters were very likable. I say that with just a little surprise because I had read some of the reviews and had expected to thoroughly dislike the heroine. That was not the case, but maybe that is because I actually knew a person with many of the anxiety and panic issues with which our heroine dealt. It wasn’t a situation she chose, it was just who she was. She was not my favorite heroine, but I loved seeing her grow and learn to handle her issues.
Hyacinth Somerset is the last unmarried Somerset sister. All of her other sisters have married in love and scandal, but surely that won’t be the case for sweet, kind, loving, excessively shy and panic driven Hyacinth. Hyacinth had been extremely shy and reserved all of her life. She also had a stutter and was teased mercilessly by other children. Then, at the tender age of fifteen, the fragile and emotionally vulnerable Hyacinth lost her parents suddenly and tragically. Hyacinth just withdrew into herself. She even quit speaking. As she was rebounding from that tragedy, her sisters and grandmother began to coddle her – excessively. They were constantly making her rest or taking her to Brighton to keep her from being ‘overwrought’. After so many years, Hyacinth just bought into all of that, because her family loved her and knew her best, so surely they knew what was wrong with her – besides, it was just easier to go along than it was to actually deal with problems, people and issues.
Lachlan Ramsey, his brother, Ciaran, and his sister, Isla needed to escape Scotland. A horrible event had ruined them in the eyes of their community. As their mother lay dying, she grieved for the tragedy that had engulfed her family, so she imparted some family secrets to Lachlan so he could save them all. That information shocked, saddened and dismayed Lachlan, but he had to share it with his siblings and then do as his mother asked.
Ciaran and Isla were shocked to learn that their parentage wasn’t what they’d thought. Ciaran was particularly belligerent because his betrothed had just dumped him in a cruel and hateful way, and now he learns his family isn’t what he thought it was. Being a big, brawny Highlander who was constantly enraged, he started drinking to excess and brawling with Lachlan.
Coincidentally, the Ramsey’s and Hyacinth’s family were at the Horse and Groom Inn as each family was making their way to London. As had become his habit, Ciaran got very, very drunk. Then, he accused a Lord of cheating at cards and Lachlan had to drag him out before Ciaran ended up in a duel. Ciaran chose to start a brawl, a brutal and bloody one, with Lachlan right in the Inn-yard. Hyacinth had snuck out of her room and stepped outside for some fresh air – just in time to witness the brawl. As she watches, both men become bloodier and bloodier. When one of them is finally knocked out, the other drags him off. Hyacinth immediately believes she’s witnessed a murder – there was just too much blood for him not to be dead – and he didn’t get up again.
A couple of days later, Hyacinth is at a ball, hiding behind a large column, and she sees the murderer. He is staring right at her. Then, he starts toward her! Panic!!! Will he murder her too? Everybody in the ballroom seems to be watching and listening. Especially when Hyacinth says, “You… you k—killed him. You’re a m—m—murderer.” Then she promptly fainted.
That was the beginning of Lachlan and Hyacinth’s relationship. It is hard to picture those two managing to get together and fall in love, but they manage to do it. What I loved was seeing Hyacinth’s struggle and growth and seeing Lachlan encouraging and supporting her. I thought it was a lovely, lovely story.
Was it a perfect story? No. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and nothing about it troubled me overmuch. I thought Lachlan was a little too quick to forgive Hyacinth. Then, at one point, when explaining the Ramsey family, the author says that Ciaran is a bastard. That would NOT be correct – at least not legally. Ciaran’s mother was legally married and that husband did not renounce the child. So, legally Ciaran is the legitimate son of his mother and her husband, even though that husband is not the physical father.
I also had trouble swallowing the details behind the Ramsey’s need to flee Scotland. Given what happened, I absolutely cannot fathom every person in that village turning violently against the Ramseys – especially those friends they had known and loved all of their lives. I just don’t buy it. There were a couple of other things – but – all were minor.
I thoroughly enjoyed the read and absolutely loved Hyacinth’s journey into strength and self-reliance.
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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.