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The Secret Gift

The Secret Gift, June 2024
Kith and Kin #1
by Jaclyn Reding

Oliver-Heber Books
Featuring: Graeme Mackenzie; Libby Hutchinson
340 pages
ISBN: 1648396054
EAN: 9781648396052
Kindle: B0CZK5MKSJ
e-Book
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"The Reluctant Lord and Lady"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Secret Gift
Jaclyn Reding

Reviewed by Bharti C
Posted May 20, 2024

Romance | Women's Fiction Contemporary

THE SECRET GIFT is author Jaclyn Reading's latest title. Jaclyn has previously written some popular historicals and this title has a touch of history too. I found the best way to describe it is a contemporary story weaving in and out of history. 

There's a modern-day lord in waiting who is a London Architect and a New Yorker antiquarian who is an heir to the Scottish and English clans. While Lord Graeme has been tragically moved from spare to the heir of more than one noble seat, our antiquarian bookseller Libby finds her secret inheritance after she loses her mother. 

The Lord is in desperate need to escape the bloodhound paparazzi and escapes to Wrath, a small village in the Scottish Highlands, as its only castle's new caretaker. Libby, too, finds herself heading to Wrath soon after her mother's wish, after she does, is in her hands. Will the Lord escape the paparazzi and determined bachelorettes out to get him? Will Libby, finally, find out about her mother's life before she came to America? The secret gift Libby receives answers these and the other questions that arise as we get to know the reluctant Lord and Lady. 

  • Modern yet rooted in history we have a lead pair whose ancestors are nobility and Scottish clan chiefs. The story however is about them, especially Graeme, dealing with what it means to be a modern-day nobleman. While we get to know his story it is Libby who takes the limelight. Graeme is the cliched tall, handsome, rich bachelor who is teetering on the edge with all his responsibilities and personal goals. The author did a fair job with his character. 
  • Libby, on the other hand, is an oblivious bookseller who is happiest amongst old books. She has her share of grief with a runaway groom and the sudden passing of her beloved mother. Her life in New York is filled with books, spending all her time in the Bookshop or traveling to be among more books. From professional to personal in the remote Scottish Highlands Libby is an adorable, comfortable woman who is dedicated to finding her mother's roots and what it all would mean for her. Her character is more relatable for me and I enjoyed her journey right from the first page. 
  • The author creates a world filled with books, small village bonhomie, Scottish folklore and a fantastic background of Libby's ancestors and finally her inheritance. I enjoyed this part the most. 
  • There's also a healthy dose of how the paparazzi are behind Graeme and how he deals with it. 
  • The chemistry between Graeme and Libby starts quite dramatically with the Scottish weather. While it feels their love is a slow burn one it only feels so because of the distractions created by the reasons they are in the small village in the first place. Still, there's plenty of swoon and spice whenever the two find themselves alone in the castle. The scenes between the two in the castle did not disappoint and kept the romance alive in the story. 

I loved this story. It is a perfect blend of past, present, some magic and reality with enough action to keep the pages flying. A perfect cosy day read if you ask me. 

Learn more about The Secret Gift

SUMMARY

Leaving behind her life in New York, antiquarian bookseller Libby Hutchinson sets off for Scotland in search of her late mother's ancestry. Guided by her mother's cryptic message and an old photograph, Libby has no idea what to expect. Little does she know she's about to find the greatest surprise of her life.

In a remote corner of the Scottish Highlands, Graeme Mackenzie thinks he is a safe distance away from the bevy of hopeful misses vying for his attention—and his name. But when wayward Libby unexpectedly lands on his doorstep, the fed-up Scottish aristocrat has had enough. The ensuing battle between the handsome laird and the stunning American lass provides Highland adventure aplenty, as well as a love that reaches beyond the ages...


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