This is the start of a new series by Burrowes. Ian MacGregor is playing host to Genie Daniels and her family in the hopes of making her his wife. He's a Scottish earl with no money and a family and lands to take care of. Genie's father is a wealthy baron looking to marry his daughter to someone with a great title. Ian sets out to woo Genie, but can't seem to stay away from her poor cousin, Augusta, who has traveled with Genie as a chaperone. Augusta is smart and passionate, but has consigned herself to spinsterhood. Though she is coming to care for Ian, she knows he is promised to her cousin. And Ian knows he must do his duty and marry for money. And because they know they can't be together, their romance has a sadness to it. But I thought it was a sweet romance too.
I really loved the fact that this takes place in Victorian Scotland and right after the Great Famine. Along side Ireland, Scotland was also impacted by the famine, and in this book, Ian's family very much impacted. It's out of this desperation that he pushes himself into a marriage that will probably bring no happiness for himself nor his bride. Ian can't seem to feel any affection for Genie. And Genie seems afraid and distraught whenever in Ian's presence. And of course the more time Ian spends with Augusta, the more he can't see himself being truly happy with anybody else. I empathized with Augusta, and though I found her situation sad, I never pitied her. She never lets her sadness overwhelm her or push her into hysterics. Instead she pushes her mind to find a way to make everyone happy.
This book also has great secondary characters with their own stories and romances. I will say the one thing I did not enjoy was the viewpoint of the villain of this story. I think it would have added a great deal of suspense if we had not known his motives. Otherwise I really enjoyed reading the viewpoints of Ian's brothers.
I think Burrowes' and historical romance fans will really enjoy this one.
ARC provided through NetGalley.