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“Beloved Stranger ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 08/12/2005

Beloved Stranger
Patricia Potter
Berkley, Feb 2006, $7.99, 352 pp.
ISBN: 0425207420

In 1513, guilt-ridden Lachlan Maclean never wanted to become a soldier, but does because he holds himself culpable for the death of his father when he failed to kill an enemy; redemption is what he is willing to die for. He hopes to restore honor lost by replacing his brother at the side of King James in the upcoming battle with the English at Flodden Field. During the skirmish Lachlan fought like a man possessed, but ultimately was wounded and buried underneath his steed.

Widow Kimbra Charleton supports herself and her daughter by scavenging for the values of the war dead alongside her late husband's odious family. Her in-laws demand she kill any Scot who remains alive. She finds Lachlan still breathing but wearing a costly plaid and a valuable jeweled brooch, so she assumes he is of noble birth. Unable to kill him, Kimbra rationalizes that she will nurture him before ransoming him. However, as he heals, he suffers amnesia, unable to remember his name. Worse, she finds that instead of dumping him or informing her in-laws that she houses a Scot so they kill him, she wants her patient like no one ever before, not even her late husband.

BELOVED STRANGER, the sequel to the superb BELOVED IMPOSTER, is a fine early sixteenth century romance. The tale stars a beleaguered ethical hero seeking to redeem his honor, though amnesia makes him wonder if he has done evil things, and a fabulous lioness willing to do anything for her cub except turn in her patient to certain death, as she clearly sees he is an honorable soul. The action packed storyline moves forward at a fast pace, but it is the lead pairing that drive a fine return to the MacLean clan.

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