Review – To Wed an Heiress by Karen Ranney

About the Book:

Rebellion drove Mercy Rutherford to Scotland to escape the possessive grip of her fiancé. But it’s fate that lands her in the crumbling highlands castle of Ross Caithart. A dreamer with visions of inventing airships, he’s most certainly mad. Handsome beyond words, he’s also causing an irresistible flutter in her stomach beyond reason. When Gregory arrives to see their arranged marriage to its bitter end, Mercy desperately turns to Ross with an offer of her fortune—and her hand in marriage.

The Earl of Morton has a reputation for being a daredevil eccentric, but even he is hesitant to engage in such a rash proposition—no matter how utterly beguiled he is by the wildly independent American heiress. And yet, with so much at stake, how can he possibly say no? But when their unconventional union grows into a passionate and inseparable love, more than Gregory’s obsession threatens them. Now, Ross and Mercy will have to risk more than their hearts to save it.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                              To Wed an Heiress: An All for Love Novel

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

American heiress Mercy Rutherford has a privileged life with all the luxuries anyone could wish for. However, she is also wrapped in cotton wool, surrounded by guards to keep her safe, doctors and nurses in the event she should sniffle, and smothered by her parents who decide every facet of her life, even the man she’ll marry.  Mercy has never disobeyed her parents or gone against their wishes.  In their way, they love her dearly, but the loss of several babies has left them over protective of her.  Now that the civil war is over, and her fiancé, Gregory, has returned home, Mercy is beginning to feel trapped with her wedding day coming ever closer.  She rashly takes her companion and a suitcase full of cash, and boards one of her father’s ships to Scotland, where she intends to visit her grandmother, while tasting a brief burst of freedom before she dutifully returns home and marries.

After arriving in Scotland, and en route to her grandmother’s home, Mercy’s carriage suffers a freak accident.  (You’ll have to read it to believe it!) She and her injured companion are taken to the home of Lennox Caitheart, the Earl of Morton, who is also an inventor and a former medical student.  Lennox is a solitary man, who lost his parents at a young age, and then was raised by his older brother, Robert.  He was broken hearted when Robert died in a carriage accident, leaving him with no family and a title and crumbling castle he doesn’t want.  Lennox tends to the ladies’ injuries, in his characteristically abrupt and straightforward manner.  When he learns that Mercy is kin to the Macrory family, he becomes even harsher, and immediately sends them on their way.  It seems that there is a long running feud between the Macrorys and the Caithearts, one that flared up again when Robert Caitheart and Mary Macrory eloped and were tragically killed in the accident.

Mercy hasn’t seen her grandmother in years, but remembers visiting her in North Carolina as a girl.  Her grandmother lost everything in the civil war, and returned to Scotland, to the home of her brother.  Mercy remembers a stern, unsmiling woman who was always criticizing her, but those memories can’t compare to the bitter, hateful woman she now encounters.  Grandmother refuses the gift of the tainted yankee dollars, and berates Mercy for her behavior in leaving home.  She ungraciously lets her stay, but immediately writes to Mercy’s father, so that he can arrange for her to return to New York as soon as possible.  Mercy further incurs her grandmother’s wrath when she continues to visit Lennox, ostensibly to have her injuries checked and her stitches removed.

Lennox and Mercy have apologized to each other for their less than stellar behavior at their first meeting, and have come to have a sort of camaraderie.  Mercy is genuinely fascinated with Lennox’s experiments and inventions, even helping him on occasion.  For the first time in her life, Mercy feels desire for a man, something she never felt for Gregory.  Lennox also feels the attraction, which he’s determined to ignore, since nothing can come of it as she’ll be returning to America soon.

Mercy is flabbergasted to find Gregory at her grandmother’s door, adamant about taking her home and going forward with their wedding.  This is a version of Gregory she’s never seen, a threatening man who isn’t above using violence to get what he wants, and refusing to accept that their engagement is over.  A terrified Mercy sneaks out to Lennox’s home, and in desperation offers marriage to him, stating how her wealth could restore his home and fund his experiments.  Though Lennox is tempted, his pride won’t let him accept.  Mercy is crushed, but determined that she will never marry Gregory.  She envisions a lonely future, but she’ll keep Lennox in her heart forever.  Then her father unexpectedly shows up!

Lennox begins to think about how Mercy has brightened his lonely existence, and how he’ll miss her, and how wonderful it would be to have her with him forever as his wife.  He wracks his brains for a way he could possibly support her.  Has he let his pride stand in the way of happiness for both of them?  He dons his full Scottish regalia and heads for the Macrory household, determined to rectify his mistake and win his love.  But is he too late?

I quickly started to love Lennox, though he came off as a bit surly at first.  He suffered so much loss, and was being forced to live a life that he never wanted.  Inside he’s a loving and generous man who was trying to be honorable and not take advantage.  His protectiveness of Mercy was beautiful, as it wasn’t intended to stifle her and he truly cared about her happiness.  Mercy also has a good heart, and tried to be what everyone else wanted her to be.  She was basically kept in a golden cage until she had the courage to break free, even exhibiting her own heroic behavior on occasion.  I was so happy that Mercy’s father turned out be genuinely loving, and not a villain, as Grandmother and Gregory were.  TO WED AN HEIRESS is a very satisfying, warm, and romantic story with an ending that left me smiling.  I believe it will appeal to all historical romance fans, especially those who like a hero who’s a bit out of the ordinary.    ~Rose

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