In HIGHLANDER UNDONE, Connie Brockway proves her mastery in the historical romance genre. In just a few paragraphs, she had me emotionally invested in the story and brought the Victorian era to life. She wields words the way an artist wields a color-laden brush. I slowed down to re-read certain passages, just to savor Brockway’s ability to paint a setting, reveal some aspect of character, or evoke emotion.
I did love her characters. Captain Jack Cameron is precisely the kind of wounded, tortured, and yet exceedingly honorable hero that I adore, and Addie Hoodless is a spirited, intelligent heroine. It was easy to admire her, and even more to feel for her because of past wounds. Brockway drew these characters deep, giving me layer upon layer to latch onto, and I loved every emotional high and low of their relationship.
The intriguing plot involving Jack’s hunt for a British officer in the Black Dragoons who is becoming rich by aiding the very slavers Jack thought he’d been sent to the Sudan to stop hooked me into the story immediately. The fact that Addie’s artist brother Ted was commissioned to paint portraits of soldiers in the Black Dragoons provides many opportunities for Jack and Addie to get to know each other. My main frustration with the novel was that during much of it Jack was pretending to be an artist and a “fribble” of a man. This worked well, as Addie, due to her past, had an innate dislike of military men and probably would have rejected him out of hand if she’d known he was a solder. However, I would have much preferred a storyline in which Jack wasn’t pretending to be something he wasn’t for a good half of the book. He was such a compelling, captivating character from the first page.
Despite my minor frustrations with the plot, I truly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who loves poignant, emotional, and beautifully written historical romance.
To discover a British military officer who is growing wealthy by participating in the slave trade, Captain Jack Cameron poses as an artist in order to spend time with Ted Phyfe, who’s been commissioned to paint their portraits. Phyfe’s sister, Addie Hoodless, has captured Jack’s interest, and he soon finds that gaining her trust is as important as finding the culprit, but both endeavors bring dangers that threaten their budding romance, and perhaps their lives.
While recovering at his uncle’s estate from wounds sustained in the Sudan, Jack Cameron—a loyal Scottish captain in the British army—is haunted by the words of a dying officer: one of Her Majesty’s Black Dragoons is aiding the slavers they were sent to suppress. But how will he find the traitor without sending the culprit to ground? He finds a way while listening to the voices beneath his open window—particularly those of Addie Hoodless, a beautiful widow, and her brother, Ted, a famed artist commissioned to paint portraits of the Black Dragoons’ senior officers.
Posing as an artist, Jack decides to infiltrate the close circle of friends at Ted’s studio to listen in on the unguarded conversations of the officers. But first, he must win Addie’s trust despite the emotional wounds of her past. Will Jack dupe the only woman he has ever loved or stand down from hunting the traitor? If his real identity is exposed, Addie’s life will be in terrible danger.