Paper Roses
by Celia Collier, historical (1999)
DiskUs Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 0-9667995-7-7


Now this is a fine Scots romance. It has a strong heroine and a pretty decently tortured (that is to say, he's not a jerk) hero. Apart from the rocky start, everything just falls into place nicely. I love Paper Roses, because it grabs me and sucks me right in.

The plot, of course, isn't anything new, but it sure beats the annoying feud thing. Ciara Mackintosh visits the home of her dying friend Valerie, who then reveals that she plans to have Ciara marrying her husband Alastair MacDonell. And while Alastair and Ciara feel the zing between them, he is also feeling guilty because he couldn't love Valerie the way she loves him. Likewise, intrigue is brewing in his clan.

All ingredients of a typical Scots romance if not for the fact that Ciara and Alastair are great characters. Especially Ciara, a woman who refuses to demonstrate her feelings after an incident in her past. She is more than able to stand her own in a place alien to her. Ciara's hobby, crafting paper roses, also lends an air of poetry to her nature.

And Alastair is a wonderful hero who tries so hard to be a superhero, even though he is very human indeed. He has vulnerabilities, and watching him heal with Ciara makes some heartwarming reading.

And the ending few chapters do make me sigh. Tempestuous emotions is something not lacking in Paper Roses.

I'm glad I persevered through the first three chapters of somewhat choppy and uneven writing. The flow of the writing is much smoother after that, drawing me into a grand, very passionate, and very fine romance indeed.

Rating: 89


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