Friday, December 28, 2012

The Lass Wore Black by Karen Ranney

Catriona Cameron was once famed for her seductive beauty and charm. Now she saw no one, hiding from the world...and no one dared break through her self-imposed exile.

No one, that is, until Mark Thorburn burst into her home, and Catriona's darkened world began to have color again. Thorburn, secretly the heir to an Earldom, claimed he was a footman. But Catriona didn't care about the scandal their passion could cause...for this very touch sparked her back to a life of sensuality, one she thought she'd never have again.

Little does she know that Mark is part of masquerade. One that will end when they become the target of a madman set on revenge. Mark realizes he will have to do more than win her love...he will have to save her life as well.


In a genre saturated with the usual plot props – tales of the ton, seasons, heirs, peerage – it’s always a treat to read a story that can tackle those elements and make them unique. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the traditional historical romance novels, too, but The Lass Wore Black brings something different to the mix, and I can’t tell you how refreshing that is!
Karen Ranney is an author who’s been around for awhile, and despite my love of historical romance, I hadn’t yet read any of her books. I was pleased to find that her writing is engaging and her characters are interesting people whose stories are worth telling.

Well, truth be told, I had a problem with Catriona for the first half of the book, but if I had started reading with the understanding that it’s a Beauty and the Beast meets The Ugly Duckling type tale, I’d have been better prepared for her shallow, bitter disposition. That said, there did come a point when she began to see that the woman she had been and the woman she had the potential to be were worlds apart. When she finally cast off her veil, so-to-speak, and allowed herself an honest view of the world around her, she became a truly compelling heroine, one whom I could cheer for.

Mark isn’t your run-of-the-mill historical romance hero. He’s part of a distinguished family, that’s true, but he’s also a doctor, someone who understands the adage, “Where much is given, much is expected.” He’s a wealthy man, thanks to his grandmother, and he could have easily used that wealth to pay others to care for the needy, but he doesn’t. He’s a man who puts himself right into the thick of things and uses his medical training to help those people who can’t afford doctors and medicines. He teaches them about ways to improve their health and circumstances, and it’s clear he truly cares for those less fortunate than himself. I easily invested in Mark from the start and found him to be an honorable, passionate and very sexy man.

The story itself is intriguing, though not without some minor flaws - I do wish the dialog had felt and sounded more authentic. There was no indication of the Scottish brogue I would have expected, and I missed that.  It was Catriona's journey from a bleak existence to a life worth living that made this such a compelling read, and that wouldn't have happened without Mark at her side, sometimes gently guiding her forward while other times prodding, but always loving, and never giving up.

The bottom line: The Lass Wore Black is an emotional, romantic, sexy tale. It’s entertaining, engaging, unique, and a story I won’t soon forget!

My thanks to Avon Books and Edelweiss for providing me with a copy of this book for review. It’s been such a pleasure!


  1. Very nice review! Makes it sound like one I would enjoy, and this author has been one I have been meaning to read for some time.

    1. Thank you, Lexi! I was quite pleased with this book. I hope you enjoy it, too!