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I like romance! But I’m horribly picky, and I toss aside more romances than I finish. I tend to like romances that are historical or sci-fi, with the history or the sci-fi elements integral to the story. Portrait of a Scotsman fits! It takes place in the U.K. during the Victorian era, as women’s rights activists are just starting to make gains.
What I really liked about this book is that it showed how much of the things striven for by the activists were so out of step with actual women. Upper class ladies wanted rights to their property and suffrage–but even poor women’s husbands didn’t have property or suffrage. Also, they were already working, many outside the home, and they often wanted more hours–while upper class women were sometimes actively working to restrict their hours.
I thought the hero and heroine were well-done, even when they did things I didn’t like. The heroine has a lot more sympathy for a mine owner who had been negligent than I liked. My grandfather, the first person who really encouraged me to write was a coal miner. I know about mining accidents, and the terror they cause for the people in coal towns. If the hero had pushed said negligent owner down a shaft I would have rooted for him.
But the mine owner is a member of the heroine’s class, and she really hates seeing him financially destroyed. I was annoyed with her. It was probably realistic though.
The final thing that sold this book for me was the format. It didn’t follow the traditional romance plot line, and the ending was different than most romances. However, romance fans, there is a HEA.
I picked this up at the library because it was on the Staff Picks shelf. It is traditionally published, and on the newish side, so it isn’t yet on Scribd, but your library may have it!