About the Book:
Miss Dorcas Delancey, vicar’s daughter and advocate for the less fortunate, has been guarding her heart from fortune hunters and fashionable fribbles for years. She’s completely unprepared for Alasdhair MacKay, former officer and all around grouch, to steal that heart. But when Alasdhair takes on responsibility for a motherless infant whom Dorcas’s family won’t acknowledge, she sees the honor lurking beneath his gruff mannerisms.
Alasdhair MacKay did not storm hell with Wellington’s army just so he could drink, swive, and flirt his way through life after Waterloo. He’s serious, intelligent, and passionate about his causes–also passionate in his regard for Dorcas. He’s the man of her dreams and a paragon in plaid, but looming scandal means Dorcas will have to choose between love and the honor Alasdhair so relentlessly values.
Alasdhair MacKay, former army major, has been a changed man since he returned from battle. While the war in total was horrific, Alasdhair bears extreme guilt over an incident perpetuated by his commanding officer, one which Alasdhair feels he should have stopped. To try and compensate, he no longer drinks to excess, gambles, or dallies with the ladies. In fact, he is constantly providing aid and cash to fallen women. When an avenging angel arrives at his door, baby in arms, telling him that he needs to care for his child, he knows the infant is not his.
Dorcas Delancey is the daughter of, and sister to, vicars. She works tirelessly for her father’s parish, as well as furthering her own causes. When her cousin, Melanie, eloped, then failed to marry, just like scores of other women, she ended up selling her body to make ends meet. Eventually Melanie bore a son, John, and did her best to care for him. Apparently, the situation became too dire for Melanie to handle, and it appears that she chose to end her own life, leaving her child in the care of Alasdhair, a man who had shown her kindness. Dorcas has had to meet her cousin secretly, as such a scandalous relation would be a blot on the vicar’s career, and he would never approve. Knowing that she can’t care for the baby, Dorcas delivers him to Alasdhair, per Melanie’s wishes.
Of course Alasdhair denies paternity, but is finally worn down by a determined Dorcas to care for John until he can arrange a permanent situation for him. Thus, Alasdhair and Dorcas are thrown together quite a bit, thanks to baby John. Dorcas is a strong, no-nonsense kind of woman, who has never married. She is invaluable to her father, who shows her a casual affection without expressing any real deep appreciation for all she does. Her prickly nature has earned her the sarcastic nickname of “Miss Delightful” when her nature is anything but. It seems, however, that Alasdhair loves a strong, managing type of woman, and is coming to find Dorcas delightful indeed. As for Dorcas, she sees the good man that Alasdhair is, and when he confesses his guilt and failings, she offers him comfort, and helps him to begin to live with himself much better. Liking turns to love, love turns to passion, and soon Alasdhair realizes that he’s found the woman for him. He announces his intention of courting and marrying Dorcas, who realizes that she’s found a man who will support her in her causes and love her for who she is.
Of course, things cannot be wrapped up so easily. Dorcas has an unfortunate and tragic incident in her past, one which rears its ugly head in the form of Isaiah Mornebeth, a snake in the grass disguised as a vicar, one who wields much influence, one who threatens the careers and reputations of Dorcas’s brother and father. He’s the lowest kind of villain, one who makes your skin crawl, by pretending to be a righteous man, while being just the opposite. His plans involve Dorcas, and they certainly don’t allow her to marry Alasdhair. Isaiah forced her to his will years ago, and has no doubt he can do so again.
I love how the hero and heroine are not your typical characters – both are a bit older – Dorcas is twenty-nine, and Alasdhair is a battle weary soldier. Neither expected to ever find someone to love and marry. For some reason, I always enjoy characters who are a bit crusty, without being over the top obnoxious, and Dorcas and Alasdhair are certainly that, but also can express great love and tenderness toward each other. I appreciate how Alasdhair would not give up, and came up with a rescue plan, although it didn’t happen immediately. The romance and passion between the couple is strong and sweet. The villain is totally deplorable, and I’m bloodthirsty enough to wish even more misfortune on him. MISS DELIGHTFUL, while part of a series, reads perfectly well as a standalone, and delivers everything I’ve come to expect from Grace Burrowes – warmth, love, comfort, and a beautiful happy ever after. ~Rose