I loved the Little Lady Agency books and was delighted when I saw this on the picked over shelves at Borders in its final days. The premise is that Evie Nicholson works for an antiques buyer and heads off to her sister Louise’s boyfriend’s Scottish estate to appraise the contents of the neighbor’s house (they need to sell some stuff to pay for upkeep, don’t you know.) Handsome men ensue. There were two interesting things about this book that I loved and gave it a lot interest and appeal.
The first is that Scottish dancing is a central part of the story. Evie and her sister are terrible dancers, but Evie is pressed into subbing for her sister at a big fancy annual gala where she will need to correctly dance some crazy Highland dances. After reading all about them I went straight to YouTube to view videos of these dances. And I dearly wished that I was part of something so steeped in tradition. <sigh>
The other is that Evie’s quirky character trait is that she is kind of a crappy antiques buyer because she looooooooves the past. Is simply in love with daydreams and stories of what role an inanimate object might have played in someone’s life. Getting to stay in the old castle practically makes her swoon. I loved every one of her little daydreams because I am the same way and it all seemed totally reasonable to me. How could you not descend the staircase in a castle without imagining yourself in the splendor candlelight with handsome Duke waiting for you? How could you not look at an old writing desk without imagining what letters might have been written on it?
The romance angle of this actually kept me guessing a bit. I felt like I knew who she was meant to end up with, but kept doubting it. So good for you, Hester Browne!