Saturday, May 14, 2011

Swept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne

The steps of a charmingly complex dance—Scotland's famous reel—are at the heart of Hester Browne's enchanting contemporary novel of two very different sisters whose dreams may come true at a romantic Scottish ball.

Evie Nicholson is in love . . . with the past. An antiques appraiser in a London shop, Evie spins fanciful attachments to Victorian picture frames, French champagne glasses, satin evening gloves, and tattered teddy bears—regardless of their monetary value.
Alice Nicholson is in love . . . with Fraser Graham, a dashing Scotsman whom Evie secretly desires. As crisply neat and stylish as Evie is cheerfully cluttered, Alice is a professional organizer determined to pull her sister out of her comfort zone—and who presents her with an irresistible offer.

As a favor to friends of Fraser's family, Evie jumps at the chance to appraise a Scottish castle full of artifacts and heirlooms. What could be more thrilling than roaming the halls of Kettlesheer and uncovering the McAndrews' family treasures—and dusty secrets?
But crossing paths with moody heir Robert McAndrew has Evie assessing what she wants the most . . . and at an upcoming candlelight gala, a traditional dance will set her heart reeling.
(from the publisher)

My Thoughts

I wasn’t sure if this book would be my cuppa tea being that it is a contemporary novel. Although being that it was set in Scotland made me want to see what it was all about. As I started reading I was hooked by the first page. The description of Evie being addicted to the past drew me in and made me want to know more about the story that was about to unfold.

The Characters-

Evie Nicholson- I found that I could relate to Evie and her obsession with the past and the antiques that come from it. As a lover of antiques- like Evie- I too want to know the story that comes along with each item. She was fun to read, I enjoyed watching her come in to her own as the story progressed.

Alice Nicholson- Sister to Evie, although rather than being a collector of antiques, she is a professional organizer. While I liked Alice, occasionally I could not stand her and her annoying need to control things that were beyond her control. Yet by the end of the novel she was becoming a bit more enjoyable to read.

Fraser Graham-A Scotsman through and through, Evie finds herself drawn to him even though he is her sisters boyfriend. He’s the classic man you would envision in a novel. He’s charming, polite, kind and caring, one can easily see why Evie is attracted to him.

Robert McAndrew- The heir of Kettlesheer, Robert run’s a successful London-based business and has more of a London air than a Scottish one. Viewing Kettlesheer as a drain on his family and disconnected with the his families past- he cannot wait to back in London. Whereas Evie is a collector Robert is more of a minimalist. It was fun reading the bits when these two were together- Evies passion for Kettlesheer and Roberts dislike made for some rather interesting reading.

Ingrid & Duncan McAndrew-The present owners of Kettlesheer- Ingrid feels boggled down with the responsibilities that come with owning a house such as Kettlesheer. You can feel the stress that is upon her, and her longing to return to the life she led before. Duncan on the other hand feels as though it is his duty to see that Kettlesheer -instilled with that idea from childhood, Duncan is determined to keep the estate.

Of course there were a bevy of secondary characters that made this book come to life as each of them offered something crazy to the mix.

The plot-

Needing to save Kettlesheer, Evie is called to the estate to appraise their antiques, yet she is not prepared for the truth she uncovers. A truth that could potentially led to disaster for the McAndrews. All the while her dance-challenged body has to learn the complex turns and spins the reel.

You get to see the characters assess what they deem to be valuable.

*One of my favorite novels that I have read this year! I truly enjoyed the way this book unfolded.

I wished that this novel would have addressed certain issues rather than just ending and leaving them up in the air. Hopefully a second novel will follow and clear those issues up.

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