Author: Jennifer Moore
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: Audio, eBook, Print
Date: September 22, 2017
Decorated war hero Conall Stewart has spent ten years envisioning his return to his beloved Scottish Highlands. But now, with the days of battle finally behind him, it seems that his dreams of home have been in vain: the land of his youth lies in ruins, and his family is gone. Though he will never stop searching for his kin, Conall knows he must begin again. But when he takes on a rented farm in a nearby town, he finds far more than the fresh start he was looking for.
After catching a mischievous local lad stealing, Conall returns young Jamie to his mother, Aileen Leslie—and finds the woman’s coddling of the child maddening. What Conall does not realize is that Aileen hides a frightening secret: her devoted protection of Jamie is all that shelters them from discovery by a dangerous man from their past.
Drawn together by circumstance, Conall soon develops a fatherly relationship with Jamie—as well as romantic feelings for Aileen. But even as the couple accepts their growing affection for one another, time runs out for Aileen and her son: after years of hiding, they have been found. Conall lost his family once—he will do all in his power not to let history repeat itself.
This book is part of a series by multiple authors. The individual books may be read in any order.
Conall Stewart and Aileen Leslie get off to a rough start–Conall catches Aileen’s son Jamie stealing and Aileen doesn’t believe him, until she finds evidence of it. Conall is certain Aileen’s coddling is going to lead Jamie to become a true criminal, but what he doesn’t know is that Aileen is extra protective of Jamie because of his true identity; his mother is Aileen’s friend whose dying wish was that Aileen keep Jamie safe from his father. When Aileen realizes Jamie did indeed steal from Conall, she has him make restitution by spending a day working for Conall. That day turns into many days, as Jamie thrives under the direction of a good man. At first, Conall and Jamie’s growing closeness upsets Aileen, but soon she finds herself growing closer to Conall as well.
I loved the setting for this romance–the Scottish highlands. It was so interesting to see the day-to-day life there. I loved Conall’s goodness, and Aileen’s fierce protectiveness of her son, and Jamie’s blossoming under Conall’s tutelage. Another excellent book by Jennifer Moore.
Miss Leslie’s Secret is a quick afternoon read. I’ve read a good number of Moore’s books and feel like they are written for a little younger audience, at least younger than me but I’m kinda old so there is that. Even so, I keep reading her books so they must entertain for older romance loving folk too. Scotland settings are not usually a favorite for me. A lot of that is probably because dialog tends to be written in the dialect and Gaelic. (I have the same problem when the author uses French and I don’t know what it means.) Moore does usually include a translation for the word so that helps. The story is a little predictable though not completely. I knew that her secret was going to have to blow up in her face at some point and when and how didn’t surprise me at all but what happened after that was unexpected for me.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Aileen since she was so doting and blind when it came to her son’s behavior but upon being forced into realization she stood up and did what was right so she won me over.
I wasn’t sure about Conall either since their first confrontation makes him come across a little chauvinistic but he won me over as soon as he started dealing with Jamie’s recompense. He was able to maneuver Jamie toward his own good without hurting his sensibilities. Or Aileen’s.
Not really sure if a kid would turn around as quickly as Jamie did but it appears that he just needed some direction in life.
I enjoyed the faithful secondary characters as well. Even the nosy busybodies.
Violence: a little