Three Little Secrets

 Wealthy land owner Merrick MacLachlan is the polar opposite of his polished, ever-so-charming brother. While Sir Alasdair is fair and handsome, Merrick is dark and brooding, both in looks and in temperament. With his penetrating eyes and badly scarred face, Merrick has always made the ton deeply uncomfortable. Professionally, Merrick has attained a level of wealth and power which no one could have imagined when he was a brilliant but starving young architect. Privately, he has no life which is just how he likes it. But his rigid, tightly-controlled existence is about to spin out of control. Because once upon a time, Merrick did have a life. And then, he made a terrible mistake. Her name was Madeleine. And if ever he is tempted to forget her, he has but to look at the scars she left behind…

This is the third in Liz Carlyle’s historical romance trilogy and, in my opinion, by far the best. We didn’t have much information about Merrick in the previous books, so I was intrigued to find out more about him.

Having expected to dislike him in the prologue as I did with the others, I was pleasantly surprised to have my heart go out to him straight away.  He wasn’t very nice at the start of the story though!

The story is based round a misunderstanding, a huge misunderstanding deliberately caused by an evil man. While at the time Merrick didn’t stand around twiddling his thumbs and tried to fight for what he wanted, Maddie was a bit of a wet blanket and seemed to give up very easily. Then I needed to remind myself that this is set in the 19th century and Maddie was 17 years old – a time when women had to accept what their parents told them.

Merrick is outwardly strong and projects a cold, harsh image. Inwardly though he is very vulnerable and I loved him. Maddie is determined to hang on to the truth as she knew it, having been recently widowed, and to believe otherwise would have made her a bigamist. She is very protective of her son and is prepared to do anything in his best interests, even go visit old Granny MacLachlan to help with his “illness”

I loved this story overall, which proves that love will find a way no matter how long it takes.  It’s my favourite book of the three by far and has the most likeable hero of the series. I’m not convinced you need to read the earlier books before this one, but you will be more invested in the characters who appear if you have read their stories.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Liz Carlyle
  • Series: MacLachlan Family (3)
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Two Little Lies

 At the age of twenty one, Quin Hewitt took opera singer Viviana Alessandri as his mistress. Their brief fling was fiery and passionate but ended abruptly leaving them in different countries with secrets never disclosed.

Nine years later he is now the Earl of Wynwood and she returns to his life as an unexpected guest of his uncle. Can they deal with the anger between them and can Viviana continue to hide the secret she kept all those years ago.

This is the second book in a series which began with One Little Sin. Thankfully this book was much better than the first, and I am glad I decided to continue the series. You don’t need to have read the first book to enjoy this however, as the first hundred pages or so basically go over the events at the end of book one. As I had read One Little Sin, I found this a bit unnecessary and it meant that getting to the new story took a while. There were some explanations needed about Quin’s behaviour from book one, but it didn’t need to be as lengthy as it was.

Once I did get into the story though I enjoyed it, the passion and emotion in the characters came through very well in the writing. In the prologue we see both of the characters as their much younger selves and I have to say Quin was extremely hard to like. I feared this book was going to follow the same path as book one with me disliking the hero for most of it. Fortunately, thirty year old Quin soon won me over once he’d accepted his responsibilities as Earl of Wynwood. I suspect that in the prologue of book three, the hero will also come across as unlikeable, as this seems to be a theme!

I liked the fiery passionate Viviana and especially loved the way she kept bursting into Italian – particularly when cursing Quin. Sometimes she did go off the deep end a bit quickly, although this seemed to be the only defense mechanism she could use against Quin.

The children – both Quin’s nephews and nieces and Viviana’s three added another dimension to the story and were quite adorable, particularly Cerelia who also had my heart breaking for her at one point.

Overall a good story with passion, emotion and of course a happy ending.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Liz Carlyle
  • Series: MacLachlan Family (2)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

One Little Sin

 He was a scoundrel, a scamp, and a hopeless skirt-chaser. So it shouldn’t have been so surprising when Sir Alasdair awoke after a night of debauchery to see a young lass on his doorstep… with a baby in her arms.

She was beautiful, brazen, and utterly bankrupt. So it shouldn’t have been so shocking when Miss Hamilton (Esme) accepted the rogue’s scandalous proposal to move in with him…and become the baby’s governess.

One little sin brought them together. But when one man’s wicked charms are matched by one woman’s fiery spirit, one little sin can lead to another…and another…and another…

This was my first book by Liz Carlyle and overall I enjoyed it, but it is not among my favourite books.

Esme is headstrong but prepared to do whatever is right for her little half sister, Sorcha, and there can be no doubt that her best interests are what matter to Esme the most. It bothered be a little that at times she seems fearless yet at others she turns into a bit of a wuss but I did like the way she decides to take matters into her own hands and hang the consequences at the end.

It is very hard to feel any sympathy for Alasdair in the beginning – if he had been female he would have been called a slut! The child in question is supposedly a result of Alasdair having a quick fumble behind the curtains at a party with Esme’s mother, and worse, he can’t remember all the details. However, as the story progresses he does manage to worm his way into my affections, he grows up and starts taking responsibility for his actions. Thinking about someone other than himself…

The premise I really struggled with was Esme being attracted to someone who had already slept with her mother – eww wrong, just wrong!! There was no end of misunderstandings and miscommunications going on, why do people not talk to each other properly? I did however stick with the story and am glad I did.

At the end of the day I am a romantic at heart and as long as there is a happy ending then I am happy.

The review above does seem negative but overall, Ms. Carlyle’s writing style was witty and easy to read, and I will be looking to read the next two books in the series. The gentlemen involved were introduced here and I look forward to finding out what makes them tick.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Liz Carlyle
  • Series: MacLachlan Family (1)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)