“Lady Ellen” by J.G. MacLeod

I started reading the historical romance trilogy “Adventures of Lady Ellen Montagu” by J.G. MacLeod from the last book, “New London”. I loved the setting – the 19th century Canada – and I was intrigued by the characters’ relationship dynamics and references to the setting of the previous two books. I knew even before I finished reading that I’d return to reading about Lady Ellen’s adventures.

I was absolutely charmed by Inis Mor, the Irish island, where the beauty of nature competes with the capricious climate. It reminded me of the island I spent the most turbulent and at the same time, romantic, time of my life: Isle of Portland in South West England.

Lady Ellen is naïve and stubborn. She is used to all her needs being taken care of by other people. When she wants to try to do something that is servants’ duty, she expects her whims to be respected, and, as I felt it, to be admired for her progressive views. She is a product of her time and upbringing. I like it when characters are portrayed in this way. It feels awkward when 19th-century women behave as if they already have voting rights.

Lady Ellen is torn between two men. She is young and inexperienced in love matters, so she can’t make the decisions a more mature – and modern – woman might have made in similar situations. Besides, the pressure put on her by her father who wants her to marry the man she not only doesn’t love but detests unsettles her emotions even more. After having led a protected and comfortable life in her father’s castle, she is thrown into the whirlwind of new places, being forced to interact with people from lower classes whom she wouldn’t have otherwise met.

There is a steamy touch to the romantic plotlines in the book.

I am now reading the second book of the trilogy “Two Paths”, and I don’t want the story to end, even though I do know how it ends. It is a deeply satisfying read that transports me to the gallant era – with ladies in exquisite gowns, luxurious castles, perfectly manicured lawns – every time I swipe open my Kindle.

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