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?
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.
I 1000% loved every minute of Beauty Among Ruins by J’nell Ciesielski. This is one of those novels where the reader escapes his/her world for something magical and romantic. Beauty Among Ruins is a little bit The Secret Garden meets Beauty and the Beast. But it is also a story completely all its own. Set amidst the backdrop of WWI, Beauty Among Ruins takes the reader to a Gothic Scottish castle that’s barely holding up. The landscape, however, is AMAZING. I adore Ciesielski’s prose as her words took me from the high desert of California (where I live) to the lush, vibrant, wild wilderness of Scotland. I truly did get lost (in a good way) in the storytelling and hated when I had to put this book down. My favorite aspect of this beautiful story is the heady romance. The relationship between Alex and Lily begins slightly rough but develops into the most heart-warming, passionate, and swoony wildfire ever. I love the chemistry between the two — they are like long-lost soul mates and it was so awesome getting to watch these two characters find their way to one another.
It is the characters whom I fell for completely. The secondary characters are unique and endearing. They all manage to worm their way into the reader’s heart. Characters like Guthrie, Matron Strom, Bertie, and the many WWI soldiers convalescing at Alec’s castle add so much life and energy to the plot. They are characters I won’t soon forget. Alec makes for one superb hero. He is handsome and he does have quite a closed-off, brooding manner, but what makes him stand out is his innate need to protect Lily, his family, and his home and his ability to see the finer details. I love how he sees Lily for who she is and whom he knows she can become. And Lily is outstanding. She is a ball of sunshine and her heart is as big as Texas. When she sees a problem she does whatever it takes to fix it. She runs headfirst into life and it is so refreshing! Truly, the best part about this lovely story is the wonderful cast of characters.
I could go on and on gushing over how good Beauty Among Ruins is. To me, it’s the perfect storyline. This is a novel I highly recommend. For sure, Beauty Among Ruins is going on my “Forever Keep” pile cause this is a book I want to come back to time and time again.
I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author, J’nell Ciesielski, via Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a paperback copy of the book and 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.
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