Happy Monday, everyone!
It’s been chilly here which had me wishing I could just read all day. I’ve finally been getting into Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. As always, I’m playing catch up with my reviews. Really excited to review The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack.
I have officially read all three of Kilpack’s historical proper romances now. (Check out my first review here.) I love the focus on literary historical figures!
“You have a romantic soul, Walter.”
The Lady of the Lakes, page 118
I am feeling inspired to read more by the authors that she develops in these love stories including Sir Walter Scott. He is a fascinating individual with a deep love and connection with his homeland of Scotland. His diligence and hard work propel him to the voice of Scottish literature. I would like to read more of his novels, especially Waverly, and his poetry.
- This is my favorite historical proper romance from Kilpack! The characters are gorgeous and I love the complexity of the story.
- I have some experience reading Sir Walter Scott in graduate school. I read his The Heart of Midlothian and some of his poetry for a class on the 19th century bestseller. It was a fascinating class. And I loved Scott’s novel especially. I’d like to read more of his novels! I’ve also seen the Heart of Midlothian mosaic in Edinburgh while on study abroad.
- There are several spoiler allusions in my review. A few more thoughts on historical romances below.
The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack tells the story of Sir Walter Scott as he falls in love and seeks his place in the Scottish literary canon. Goodreads summarizes, “Walter Scott has three passions: Scotland, poetry, and Mina Stuart. Though she is young and they are from different stations in society, Walter is certain their love is meant to be. For years, he has courted her through love letters. She is the sunshine of his soul. . . . At twenty-six, Charlotte Carpenter believes she will never find love. After all, she is a Catholic-born Frenchwoman living in London with a family history shadowed by scandal. Though quiet, practical, and determined to live a life of independence, her heart longs for someone to love her and a place to call home. Passion and promises collide as Walter, Mina, and Charlotte must each decide the course for their futures. What are they each willing to risk to find love and be loved in return?”
For me, this is a novel that I could guess the end from the beginning. Most historical romances are like that. You usually hope for a beautiful happily ever after. What I love about historical romances is the journey. You know the ending. But you don’t know how the characters will get there. This novel offers a beautiful, complex journey to a very satisfying happily ever after.
I really enjoyed the journey that Walter goes through during this novel. He begins the novel naive and romantic. He believes he has found his true love and refuses to see any other option. At first, he was annoying in his stubbornness. I didn’t see the deep connections he did with Mina. But I appreciated what happens in his character as the novel continued. At first he mourned deeply for his personal loss, but then he found a way to move forward. And I love the beautiful love he finds in the end.
“‘You don’t believe in love at first sight?’. . . ‘You can only love someone when you know them and that takes time and attention’.”
“God can move mountains to see His work done, my child, and it serves us well not to critique Him too harshly for His methods, but to try to appreciate the views He blesses us to see.”
“I think that a marriage must start with love that can grow. To start with respect seems as though you would grow respect. Regard will grow regard.”
The Lady of the Lakes, pages 197, 252 & 281
Of the love interests in this novel, Charlotte was the most intriguing and complex. Her character was so interesting because she was unique. Her background is unconventional and her desires for independence are less common for the time. I love the way she is able to be herself, especially with Walter. Her realistic, blunt nature is a beautiful balance for his romantic sensibilities. She doesn’t expect to find love or a family in her life, which makes it all the more beautiful when she does.
I love novels with multiple perspectives and plot–and this is no exception. We start with several stories that seem separate. Charlotte is in London, Walter in Edinburgh, and Mina at her family’s estate in Scotland. Kilpack creates beautiful intersections between these stories. The characters interact and change because of their interactions. I especially love the redemption and healing that Walter experiences when his path finally crosses with Charlotte.
“You are my future, my heart, my hope, my everything. Marry me, . . . Be my wife and let us make a beautiful life together.”
“In every aspect of my life she made me better–she made me whole–and I had watched her grow and blossom in the same way.”
The Lady of the Lakes, pages 297 & 307
Every good love story needs a beautiful romantic kiss. The best love stories create a tension that pulls readers along waiting for that moment. I also appreciate romances like this one that are clean. I appreciate that there is literature that celebrates love without inappropriate details.We get a gorgeous story about love–in a pure and positive light. I love that. I love the build up to the passionate, emotional kiss that the lovers share towards the end of this novel.
This story weaves a beautiful tapestry of what it means to love, to heal, and to grow. The emotions are strong. The strength is inspiring. The love story is timeless. If you’re new to historical romance or if you’re a veteran, you’ll love The Lady of the Lakes.
What are some of your favorite historical romances?
Have you read anything by Sir Walter Scott?