I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Secrets in Silk #4
Published by Montlake Romance on December 2, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: the Publisher
When straitlaced spinster Margaret Andrews tries to stop her headstrong younger sister Amelia from eloping with the wrong man, the last thing she expects is to be caught in a coach accident. Stranded in Scotland with a dangerously handsome Highlander, she must put aside her genteel sensibilities and learn to survive.
Cain Sinclair rescues the prim and proper Margaret, but he knows she’ll never want a man like him. As a self-proclaimed sinner, he lives his life from one day to the next. He unravels every thread of decorum she possesses, tempting her to throw away propriety.
Margaret sees a man worth saving, but Cain fights her efforts to reform him. When Cain risks everything to save his brother from the hangman's noose, Margaret must break all the rules to get him back…or lose him forever.
There were three plotlines weaving throughout this book – one for the main couple, Margaret and Cain, one for Margaret’s parents, and one for Cain’s brother Jonah. During my initial read-through, I was a little confused (and frustrated) about why so much time was spent with these secondary characters. Get back to Margaret and Cain, I thought. But by the end, Ms. Willingham did a good job of weaving the three lines together in such a way that it did not seem forced. Instead, information and events from one line fed into others and helped to wrap up the main mystery in a satisfactory ending.
There were lots of time jumps too. Backwards into Cain and Margaret’s past as well as forwards for weeks at a time. This was a little jarring as it pulled me out of the main narrative, but offered insights into Margaret and Cain’s personalities, background, and prejudices as well as moving the story along to coincide with the timeline necessary to push the plot.
Margaret and Cain are both take-charge type of characters, willing to do whatever necessary to survive and willing to sacrifice everything for their family. Margaret began as a fairly shallow and snobby characters insofar as titles and wealth meant everything to her, but this was largely a reflection of her upbringing and thankfully not what she actually believed, as we were able to see as the story progressed. Cain was a little too perfect; having been in love with Margaret for many years, he was always sweet and self-sacrificing towards her. I honestly can’t think of a negative trait to assign him, but that’s not exactly a good thing – all characters need negative traits, but Cain was always steadfast and unwavering in his love for Margaret and his willingness to sacrifice everything for her and his family.
Overall, Unlaced by the Outlaw was an enjoyable read, the plot realistic and fun, and a simmering romance to boot. Pick this up if you like a bit of grit in your historical romances with a dash of murder mystery.