A SCOTSMAN IN LOVE
Ranney infuses a traditional plot -- two wounded souls hiding from life and love -- with such intense emotional and memorable characters that their love story
is unforgettable. Then she weaves in threads of guilt, grief, shame, fear, obsession and revenge, making everything even more soul-searing.
Once the darling of the Russian court, portrait painter Margaret Dalrousie has been unable to work since fleeing St. Petersburg for the sanctuary of Glengarrow. She walks the grounds, seeking solace from the nightmare that haunts her.
Robert McDermott, the Earl of Linnet, returns to shatter her solitude. Grieving for his wife and daughter, Robert seeks isolation, not the intrusion of an annoying woman who trespasses and practices shooting. Yet her very presence arouses an interest that produces a glimmer of the old Robert and lures him into exploring the mystery that surrounds her. They share grief and sadness -- and finally the depth of their feelings. But to let go of the past is frightening, and only a bold move will free them from the ghosts that dog them. (AVON, May, 380 pp., $6.99)