TITLE: The Return of Black Douglas
AUTHOR: Elaine Coffman
INFO: Paperback, Fiction, 448 pages
PUBLISHED: Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2011
SOURCE: Received from Publisher for Review
FROM Author's Website: The beloved ghost of the Black Douglas is back and up to his usual mischief. . .
And this time he takes you back to the ancient Scottish ancestors of the Mackinnon’s, from Elaine’s award-winning Mackinnon Series.
Longing for a man like Mr. Darcy and haunted by the feeling she was born two hundred years too late, Isobella Douglas never dreamed she would get what she wished for-- until she was hurled back five centuries to the Isle of Mull in the year 1515. She arrived in the midst of a battle between the Mackinnon’s and Maclean’s, only to be abandoned there by the capricious ghost of Black Douglas. Left to the mercy of her fate, she prayed for a hero when she saw him, a man as fierce and wild as the barbarous place that surrounded her.
Alysandir Mackinnon was a man who lived by his wits and the edge of his sword. He was a man of strong desires and in his prime, but what he wanted now were the answers to a lot of questions: Why is she here? Who sent her? And what am I going to do with her? In spite of suspicion that she is an English spy, Isobella adapts readily to castle life, and being an archaeologist, is soon up to her elbows digging in broken crockery bits, ancient bones and priceless relics, in spite of being forbidden to do so. Alysandir finds it difficult to trust the headstrong woman, or believe her preposterous time-travel story and battles the desire and distrust he feels, for Alysandir has been betrayed before.
Life in Early Renaissance Scotland is fraught with danger, deceit, clan rivalry and constant threats from the English- hardly the place for the course of true love to run smoothly. It seems the hapless couple is forever trapped in a series of unfortunate circumstances, and a happy ending never seems so far away. But, never underestimate the power of a man’s love, a woman’s understanding or the tenacity of a beloved Scottish ghost.
MY TAKE: Elaine Coffman has a gift for creating characters that are immensely likable even when you don't particularly like them at first. She adds a lot of depth to the people she brings to life in her stories. This book was definitely no exception.
I loved Isobella. She has what I would consider a dream occupation of an archaeologist. When she is transported back into the 16th century by the ghost of her meddling ancestor, the Black Douglas, she is in her element. She immediately finds a cave and starts preserving artifacts that she finds. She is quite a handful for the handsome laird who has her "captive". He's not sure that Isobella is completely sane at times.
Alysandir is a bit of a stick in the mud in the beginning. While he does have a ton of responsibility on his shoulders, he needs a good kick in the pants to loosen up. Isobella seems to be just the person to shake him up and rock his world - in many ways. The chemistry between them is explosive. There was humor in the story, usually at Isobella's klutzy ways or at Alysandir's dry demeanor. The story was not light and fluffy though. A few darker elements were introduced that cast a shadow on their attraction and romance.
I did have a little problem with the dialogue between Isobella and Alysandir in the beginning of the story as it came across a bit stilted. It didn't flow quite as well as I'm used to reading from the author. Their conversation did improve as the story progressed though and it didn't detract from the overall storyline.
The end of the book had me really tearing up and sniffling, but in a very good way. Throughout the tale I kept wondering how on earth Ms. Coffman would be able to give the reader a satisfactory conclusion. She succeeded well beyond my expectations. The wrap up was perfect with the exact details I was wanting and needing to be able to leave the story completely fulfilled and happy.
Readers who enjoy historical romance, time travel, yummy men in kilts, strong women out of their element, the men who love them and a just plain great story, will enjoy this book.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon and The Book Depository
~~~~~ Disclaimer: All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own. I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links. I may receive books in order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review - only a completely honest one. Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.