London banking heiress Hattie Greenfield wanted just three things in life:
1. Acclaim as an artist.
2. A noble cause.
3. Marriage to a young lord who puts the gentle in gentleman.
Why then does this Oxford scholar find herself at the altar with the darkly attractive financier Lucian Blackstone, whose murky past and ruthless business practices strike fear in the hearts of Britain’s peerage? Trust Hattie to take an invigorating little adventure too far. Now she’s stuck with a churlish Scot who just might be the end of her ambitions….
When the daughter of his business rival all but falls into his lap, Lucian sees opportunity. As a self-made man, he has vast wealth but holds little power, and Hattie might be the key to finally setting long-harbored political plans in motion. Driven by an old desire for revenge, he has no room for his new wife’s apprehensions or romantic notions, bewitching as he finds her.
But a sudden journey to Scotland paints everything in a different light. Hattie slowly sees the real Lucian and realizes she could win everything–as long as she is prepared to lose her heart.
A different kind of romance novel
Reina: Portrait of a Scotsman is different from other romance novels I’ve picked up in that it’s peppered not only with wicked, steamy love scenes, but also relevant, real-world discussions. The bits of dialogue I found myself most engaged with were the discussions on mining conditions, income inequality, and women’s votes.
Katya: Dunmore’s expertise in, and love for, history and culture shines through in every word, and she makes the Victorian era not only a backdrop for her novel, but a living and breathing part of it, with social and legal mores and consequences fully interwoven into Hattie’s interactions with everyone around her.
More than just plain love
Reina: I think, in recent times, there seems to be a perception that one can’t be a feminist if one likes romance novels, or enjoys being ravished by attractive men, or is willing to patiently teach a man to check his privilege.
Katya: Dunmore doesn’t just make Hattie a modern woman in thought, with universal dreams of wanting to be independent, to be free, and to choose whom to love and marry. Under the author’s attentive hand, Hattie also becomes a proper suffragist, becoming aware of struggles beyond her own, and finding ways to let her passion for art change people’s lives for the better.
A delightful read
Reina: While I do feel that perhaps the story could have been tighter and the chemistry just a bit more intense in some places, Portrait of a Scotsman was still a delightful read in the middle of lockdown!
Katya: One of the best romances I’ve had the opportunity to read! When a book is a delight from start to finish, and rereading simply makes you realize all the things you love about it, what more is there to say than “Just read it”? Overall, Portrait of a Scotsman is a mix of amazing things: lush and romantic, sharp and clever, thought-provoking and insightful, and overall a wonderful, heartwarming ride.