About the Book
Book: Beauty Among Ruins
Author: J’Nell Ciesielski
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: January 12, 2021
American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she is banished overseas to England as a “cure” for her frivolous ways, the Great War breaks out and wreaks havoc. She joins her cousin in nursing the wounded at a convalescent home deep in the wilds of Scotland at a crumbling castle where its laird is less than welcoming.
Alec MacGregor has given his entire life to preserving his home of Kinclavoch Castle, but mounting debts force him to sell off his family history bit by bit. Labeled a coward for not joining his countrymen in the trenches due to an old injury, he opens his home to the Tommies to make recompense while he keeps to the shadows. But his preference for the shadows is shattered when a new American nurse comes streaming into the castle on a burst of light.
Lily and Alec are thrown together when a series of mysterious events threatens to ruin the future of Kinclavoch. Can they put aside their differences to find the culprit before it’s too late, or will their greatest distraction be falling in love?
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About the Author
With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the INSPY and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.
More from J’Nell
Inspiration for Beauty Among Ruins
Once again, blame it on Downton Abbey. This time on Lady Rose. She was impulsive, spoiled, a free spirit, yet with a good heart. I knew I wanted to take on the challenge of writing a heroine like her. A character who starts off one way and by the end of the book has completely charmed you over. So I started writing and everything was going great until … it wasn’t. The plot just stopped on me. No matter how hard I tried the story refused to reveal itself to me which is incredibly frustrating for someone who doesn’t like to give up once they’ve started something. But I had to. In the end, I had to put the story, affectionately titled Love on the Limp, away for several months while I wrote The Socialite. Then one day the story clicked. It was meant to be a WWI telling on the classic Beauty and the Beast story. Everything fell into place and the story and characters burst onto the page in glorious technicolor.
Lily and Alec took me by surprised with how much I fell in love with them. Bubbly Lily and brooding Alec. Never had two more opposites been so perfect for one another (at least in my writing experience). They had so many obstacles to overcome, many of them self-imposed, that I often found myself in tears over their heartaches, but golly gumdrops when they came together, boy o boy were there fireworks!
You may have also noticed that the story is set in Scotland because I happen to believe that every good story is set there. I had the privilege of staring at pictures of this breathtaking landscape for months so I could imagine the characters strolling among the heather and watching the river twist through the green moors. To me, nothing rivals the awe inspiring beauty of a certain place, and hopefully readers will feel that through these pages.
It has been a joy to read a book rich in history while sweeping across the ocean. The author describes the time period with excellence and gives readers a front row seat as the curtains open on a journey to a castle thst has seen better days. It cries out for someone to bring it back to beauty where joy is found.
Lily is everything I like in a character. She is sassy, stubborn, delightful and perhaps a little annoying to some. How she got to the castle is a minor detail when you realize she was meant to be there for emotional support. I loved how she took on jobs that were not all that fun. Her compassion for her patients bring them peace and hope.
Alec is rather snotty at times and dare I say a bit boring. He is proper and won’t stand for any shenanigans. Oh how I laughed as I read as Lily pushed his buttons with disregard to rules. She is a nurse but to me she was just what the castle needed to bring it back to life. It seems rather dreary and dark in the hallways as maids scattered about afraid to speak. Alec does have a redeeming quality which made me like him. He is determined to care for his family and keep the castle running.
The work that is being done to help soldiers that have been injured is dear to Alec. He has opened his home for them to get the best of care and find rest in the midst of chaos. The story is inviting and at times very funny with Lily getting lost in the castle. Oh I had high hopes for her and Alec to become attracted to each other. After all opposites do attract, so they say.
There is a part in the story where a soldier is kidnapped right out of his bed while being cared for at the castle. Now what is that about? Is it someone who wants to cause others to question the work being done there? Or perhaps it’s the person who is insistent on buying the land and castle from Alec? I couldn’t wait to find out what was in store for our sassy Lily and brooding Alec. I loved learning more about the war and how it caused emotional damage as well physical damage.
Set in a picturesque background the author delivers a story of determination, survival, trust and mystery. This is one story I really didn’t want to end. I became very fond of the characters and loved how each one added something to enhance the story. I can say for sure that this is one book not to be overlooked. It is charming, with a bit of nobility mixed in that makes me want to travel back in time to sit with Lily and enjoy her enthusiasm for life.
The ending is filled with tragedy and wraps up the mystery with finesse . Some people are so greedy they will do anything to get what they want. In the end truth prevails and I am happy to know that Alec can begin to enjoy life again without the threat of danger anymore. Lily is the one thing missing that may bring Alec hope for the future.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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To celebrate her tour, J’Nell is giving away the grand prize of a paperback copy of the book and an audiobook copy of The Socialite!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.