I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Loveswept on January 19th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Romance
Buy on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, GooglePlay, Kobo, BAM, Publisher
If you love Maya Banks and Monica McCarty, don’t miss Sharon Cullen’s captivating Highland Pride novels! Sutherland’s Secret kicks off a series that’s overflowing with mouthwatering Scottish warriors, captivating history, and forbidden desire.
Terror reigns in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden. As British troops obliterate the last traces of the Jacobite cause, Brice Sutherland, the Earl of Dornach, risks everything to arrange a covert escape route to Canada for his fellow Scots. But when he encounters a dying Englishwoman, hauntingly beautiful though scarred by manacles and unable to speak, Brice’s true courage is put to the test. Nothing but ruin could result from helping her, or worse: falling in love.
The pampered daughter of a marquess, Eleanor Hirst was the talk of the London season when she wed the Earl of Glendale. Little did she know that his posting as an officer in Scotland would be their undoing. Now her husband is dead and Eleanor is a fugitive in a hostile country. Desperate for help, she throws herself on the mercy of Brice Sutherland, a handsome Scottish warrior who should be her enemy. Instead, he cares for her tenderly, reviving her shattered spirit—and awakening urges unlike any she’s ever known.
Brice Sutherland, Earl of Dornach, finds a mysterious, half-dead English woman on the side of the road one evening while returning home. In a world where the English are enemies Brice takes a chance and brings the maiden home to nurse her to health. However, the English lass, Elanor, proves to be heavily sought after by the English. Not only is the castle’s inhabitants in danger if the British catch Brice hiding Elanor, but it could also lead to the discovery of Brice’s illegal (but heroic) smuggling operation. Even worse, Brice might actually be falling in love with the headstrong Englishwoman.
Elanor Hirst, London socialite, cannot pass up the opportunity to travel to Scotland with her new husband Earl of Glendale. What was meant to be an exciting adventure to a foreign land became a nightmare that will change the course of Elanor’s life forever. Her husband dead and a fugitive in an hostile country, Elanor is fearful for her life when she awakes in the arms of a dashing Scottish warrior. Although taught that the Scottish are a brutish and savage group Elanor develops deep affection for Sutherland and his people. In a world where nothing is certain Elanor finds herself falling for the least likely man in all of Scotland, and that love could put everything that man stands for in jeopardy.
While Sutherland’s Secret started off rough for me, I found in the end I enjoyed the historical aspects of this novel. I am Scottish in decent and am ashamed to admit that my knowledge of history is extremely “Canadian- centric”. That is, I know plenty about Canada’s role in history but I have never heard of Jacobites, the war between English and Scottish or the Battle of Culloden. I literally know nothing about my own Scottish heritage. Sadly (or was it an opportunity?!), reading Sutherland’s Secret was a giant history lesson and my lack of knowledge of Scot history is shame inspiring. I loved learning about the Jacobites, the history behind their persecution and how they were smuggled from their own country to Canada in order to save their lives.
Thanks to Sutherland’s Secret I may have to delve into more Scottish historical literature. Clearly the country has a rich and dramatic history to which I have little to no knowledge!
Sutherland’s Secret started off rough for me because of the unnecessary inclusion of accents into the writing style. I have never been a fan of novels that include inflection into their narrative mostly because it’s distracting and superfluous. Obviously, this is a personal taste and really has no real effect for readers in general. Just a small, whiny side note.
I did feel that perhaps Brice and Elanor’s relationship fell into the insta-love category. Once Elanor was healthy, things moved super fast in beginning stages of the romance. The couple proclaim love and even begin a sexual relationship far quicker than I personally would have liked. I am a huge fan of slow burn romance and felt like with some time and patience this would have been a wonderful romance novel. However, the amount of support that the couple showed one another once they hit their stride was inspiring. It’s so rare to find a novel with a couple who compliments one another’s strengths and weaknesses so well. I really felt like Elanor and Brice because they had such a real connection. Also, I loved their relationship because it was so realistic regardless of how doubtful I was of their insta-love beginnings.
Sutherland’s Secret is your typical star crossed lovers trope with an interesting historical relevance. Sutherland’s Secret has decent character building other than the initial insta-lurve.
I was over joyed to find that Sharon Cullen developed strong characters that didn’t waver in their beliefs, had their own distinct personalities and were strong individuals. I was expecting to hate Elanor, but instead found myself relating to her on many levels. She didn’t act the part of a victim, but instead found ways to repay Sutherland for taking her in. Even Sutherland seemed to maintain his character as a kind leader who cares about his people.
All in all, Sutherland’s Secret is a diamond in the rough and definitely worth the read for romance lovers and historical literature enthusiasts. Although not the the next Jane Austen novel, this is one of the better historical romances I’ve read and worth the read. It’s a sweet and entertaining read with a history lesson mixed into the background.
This book will appeal to readers of historical and Scot romance, those who enjoy novels slightly outside the normal, generic romance tropes and novels with strong female characters who prove their worth. I would definitely recommend this novel if you’re in the mood for a quick, heart wrenching read with plenty of sultry scenes.