Sunday, January 10, 2021

Beauty Among Ruins by J'Nell Ciesielski (Review and Giveaway!)

 A good historical fiction novel set in Scotland during WWI.

Book Details:

Book Title: Beauty Among Ruins by J'Nell Ciesielski 
Category: Adult Fiction,  416 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Scottish
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release date: January 12, 2021
Content Rating: PG (some minor violence, war themes)

Book Description:

In Ciesielski’s latest sweeping romance, an American heiress finds herself in Scotland amid the fallout of the Great War, and a wounded Scottish laird comes face-to-face with his past and a woman he never could have expected.

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?

A Scottish lord and an American socialite discover love during WWI in this gorgeous historical romance from Ciesielski (The Socialite)…The undercurrent of mystery and Ciesielski’s unflinching approach to the harsh realities of wartime only enhance the love story. Readers are sure to be impressed.’ –Publishers Weekly

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

The book description and that gorgeous book cover drew me in to read this historical fiction novel set in Scotland during WWI. Lily Durham is an American socialite who is sent off to England by parents tired of dealing with her frivolous ways. After spending time with her cousin in England Lily joins her as a nurse's aid in Scotland to care for injured soldiers who are recovering in a convalescent home set up at Kinclavosh Castle. There she meets the brooding laird, Alec MacGregor.

Lily has a cheery disposition and she is forever getting in trouble with the matron nurse. She manages to befriend Alec's sister Viola who is sickly and in need of a friend. Lily is not in the least deterred by Alec's moodiness, his temper or his tendency to brood. Her positive outlook cracks through the armor of pride and responsibility that Alec carries heavily on his shoulders since he has been left with his late father's crippling debts, and a delusional cold mother who offers no comfort for their predicament. His castle is falling apart and he is desperately trying to save it. 

Throughout Lily's time helping the injured soldiers at Kinclavosh Castle, several incidents happen that cast suspicion on someone trying to slander and ruin Alec's reputation. This adds mystery to the story but it seemed pretty obvious to me who was out to get Alec. I was frustrated at times that more wasn't done to try to figure out who was behind these incidents. The story was long and it seemed to drag in the middle. 

I enjoyed the setting and Lily's character was refreshing. She had a goodness and a love for life that was misunderstood by her parents, but appreciated by a man who desperately needed someone to believe in him. The romance was good, the story well-written and the plot revolving around the war compelling. The mysterious elements at times detracted, but overall this was an interesting read.

Buy the Book:

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 Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle.

Learn more at You can also find J’nell on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends on January 22, 2021

Beauty Among Ruins

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  1. Thank you for your lovely review of Beauty Among Ruins!

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for being on the tour, Laura!

    HF Virtual Book Tours


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