A conqueror’s decree can’t separate Aillil Callaghan from his Scottish heritage. He wears his clan’s forbidden plaid with pride, awaiting the day he becomes Laird, restores his family’s name, and fights to free Scotland from English tyranny. An Englishman in his home? Abomination! Yet the tutor his father engaged for Aillil’s younger brothers may have something to teach the Callaghan heir as well.
Violinist and scholar Malcolm Byerly fled Kent in fear, seeking nothing more than a quiet post, eager minds to teach, and for no one to learn his secrets. He didn’t count on his charges’ English-hating barbarian of an older brother, or on red-and-green tartan concealing a kindred soul. A shared love of music breaks down the barriers between two worlds.
Aillil’s father threatens their love, but a far more dangerous enemy tears them apart. They vanish into legend.
Two centuries later, concert violinist Billy Byerly arrives at Castle Callaghan—and feels strangely at home. Legends speak of a Lost Laird who haunts the fortress in wait of his lover’s return. Billy doesn’t believe in legends, ghosts, or love that outlasts life.
(Some spoilers ahead…though I always think in a love story one should not have to hide that the two heroes end up together. Nevertheless that is a spoiler. 😉 )
I got Duet on one of Dreamspinner’s 99cent weekend deals. (Can’t resist them.) Anyway. It sounded interesting.
Well, interesting doesn’t cut it. There are good things and bad things about this book. Let me start with the good – I started it last night. Only stopped because my dang tablet ran out of power. Started it this morning, but I was in public and it was making me tear up so I put it aside until I could read in private. Once I started it again, I could not stop until it was done. It’s a fairy tale. Want to tear up and feel like true love can conquer all things, even time? Read Duet.
However, you will have to get through some rather loud issues with the book first.
First off, there is a main character in the first half of the book who is a major player. She’s a Druid priestess and is the one who makes sure Ailil and Malcolm will meet again one day. However, the author chose to try and make her sound so much like someone speaking Scots, that to be honest, she was almost completely unintelligible. Especially toward the end of Part 1. I still have no clue what exactly she said to her grandson to make him send that item down through the ages with specific instructions. Nor what she said to others for the most part. And that was frustrating.
Next, after the second part truly begins – after the intervening lifetimes which are sad (and yet made me feel hopeful) as h*ll – it was hard to accept that Neal would have accepted the story about the lost laird and Malcom so readily. As in overnight. That threw a huge wrench into the story as it was just too difficult to believe he would just buy into it. And then, right after he’s bought into it and invited Billy to Scotland, there’s a sense of excitement as each of the characters who have waited for the right signs to appear began their preparations to get the two long lost loves together. It was the kind of buildup that leads to the crescendo of the story. I had tears in my eyes awaiting the reunion and then I realized something… there was still 40% of the tale left. And suddenly the excitement stopped and it plodded along for 25% and then sprang into action again.
Now, having given you those two things, let me just reiterate that this makes a wonderful HEA fairy tale. If you read it with that in mind, if you want to see true love conquer all, and if you want to believe that you will forever find your dreams, read this book.
Even though it had glaring issues (See above) I’m still giving the book 5 stars. Because it made me believe. And that kind of book should be in everyone’s library.