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In Ciesielski’s latest sweeping romance, an American heiress finds herself in Scotland amid the fallout of the Great War, and a wounded Scottish laird comes face-to-face with his past and a woman he never could have expected. American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she i In Ciesielski’s latest sweeping romance, an American heiress finds herself in Scotland amid the fallout of the Great War, and a wounded Scottish laird comes face-to-face with his past and a woman he never could have expected. American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she is banished overseas to England as a “cure” for her frivolous ways, the Great War breaks out and wreaks havoc. She joins her cousin in nursing the wounded at a convalescent home deep in the wilds of Scotland at a crumbling castle where its laird is less than welcoming. Alec MacGregor has given his entire life to preserving his home of Kinclavoch Castle, but mounting debts force him to sell off his family history bit by bit. Labeled a coward for not joining his countrymen in the trenches due to an old injury, he opens his home to the Tommies to make recompense while he keeps to the shadows. But his preference for the shadows is shattered when a new American nurse comes streaming into the castle on a burst of light. Lily and Alec are thrown together when a series of mysterious events threatens to ruin the future of Kinclavoch. Can they put aside their differences to find the culprit before it’s too late, or will their greatest distraction be falling in love?


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In Ciesielski’s latest sweeping romance, an American heiress finds herself in Scotland amid the fallout of the Great War, and a wounded Scottish laird comes face-to-face with his past and a woman he never could have expected. American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she i In Ciesielski’s latest sweeping romance, an American heiress finds herself in Scotland amid the fallout of the Great War, and a wounded Scottish laird comes face-to-face with his past and a woman he never could have expected. American socialite Lily Durham is known for enjoying one moment to the next, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. But just as she is banished overseas to England as a “cure” for her frivolous ways, the Great War breaks out and wreaks havoc. She joins her cousin in nursing the wounded at a convalescent home deep in the wilds of Scotland at a crumbling castle where its laird is less than welcoming. Alec MacGregor has given his entire life to preserving his home of Kinclavoch Castle, but mounting debts force him to sell off his family history bit by bit. Labeled a coward for not joining his countrymen in the trenches due to an old injury, he opens his home to the Tommies to make recompense while he keeps to the shadows. But his preference for the shadows is shattered when a new American nurse comes streaming into the castle on a burst of light. Lily and Alec are thrown together when a series of mysterious events threatens to ruin the future of Kinclavoch. Can they put aside their differences to find the culprit before it’s too late, or will their greatest distraction be falling in love?

30 review for Beauty Among Ruins

  1. 5 out of 5

    Randi Annie Framnes

    Beauty among Ruins is the standalone novel by J'nell Ciesielski, published by Thomas Nelson. The year is 1915 and we follow socialite Lily Durham when she is sent to England as punishment for having played too many tricks on her parents. They hope she will find an eligible husband, but Lily takes position as nurse’s aid at Kinclavoch Castle convalescent home for WWI soldiers in Scotland. The matron thinks her an air-head unable to do any kind of real work and challenges her with the worst assign Beauty among Ruins is the standalone novel by J'nell Ciesielski, published by Thomas Nelson. The year is 1915 and we follow socialite Lily Durham when she is sent to England as punishment for having played too many tricks on her parents. They hope she will find an eligible husband, but Lily takes position as nurse’s aid at Kinclavoch Castle convalescent home for WWI soldiers in Scotland. The matron thinks her an air-head unable to do any kind of real work and challenges her with the worst assignments. But Lily is adamant to help and proves to have excellent bedside manner and a knack for keeping the patient’s spirits up. The Laird, Alec MacGregor is weighed down by financial problems, but Lily’s zest for life manages to get him out of his dark place and improve his courage. Someone seems to be working to ruin the estate. What seems like accidents happen and a patient goes missing. Lily and Alec grow closer as they work to figure out who is responsible. Main character is socialite Lily Durham who outward has a zest for life but inward suffers raging insecurities. I feel for her as she has heard all her life that her only purpose in life is to make a good marriage. In this story her character goes through an impressive development and she starts to see a new purpose. Supporting character is Alec MacGregor, Lord Strathem of Kinclavoch whose character starts out as a brooding recluse. He worries about his estate and his constant leg pain. His character goes through a personal development as he has a shift in his emotions and view of life. I felt this plot stood out with its interesting setting in Scotland and the placing of the entitled main character in an environment where she has to overcome more challenges than merely finding a husband. Taking place in a castle gave it a vibe reminiscent to Downton Abby; only more run down due to financial troubles. The brooding recluse of a Laird also made me think of the initial part of Beauty and The Beast. The combination of the interesting mystery part and the slow burn romance, including vivid descriptions of the scenery around the Castle, transferred me to the Scottish Highlands, where I hope to go some day. Very hard to decide if my favorite part was the mystery or the slow burn romance. Both were captivating and excellently written . I loved the funny dialogue between Lily and Alec and found it fascinating to follow the development of their relationship as they ruffled each other’s feathers and challenged each other’s vulnerabilities. I think they both were favorite characters. The surprising and amusing part where Lily’s parents showed up I thoroughly enjoyed. Anyone who enjoys WWI historical romances with a bit of a unique twist will enjoy this one. Similar authors to explore might be Abigail Wilson or Michelle Griep. Thank you to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for this opportunity to share my honest review. All opinions are completely my own. Conclusion: Beauty among Ruins is the captivating, unique historical romance set in a Scottish castle converted to WWI soldier’s convalescent home where an American socialite finds romance while mysterious things happen.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Flighty American heiress Lily Durham is banished to England to stay with her cousin Bertie at her family’s estate, world war one begins and she’s stranded. Bertie decides to do her bit and becomes a nurse; Lily trains as a nurse’s aide and off to Scotland they go for their first posting. Kinclavoch castle is the home of Alec MacGregor, it’s a crumbling ancient Scottish Highland estate that he’s been desperately trying to keep financially afloat since his father passed away and it’s being used as Flighty American heiress Lily Durham is banished to England to stay with her cousin Bertie at her family’s estate, world war one begins and she’s stranded. Bertie decides to do her bit and becomes a nurse; Lily trains as a nurse’s aide and off to Scotland they go for their first posting. Kinclavoch castle is the home of Alec MacGregor, it’s a crumbling ancient Scottish Highland estate that he’s been desperately trying to keep financially afloat since his father passed away and it’s being used as a convalescent home for wounded British soldiers. Lily rushes headlong into situations, so when she arrives at Kinclavoch things don’t get off to a great start with the Laird or with Matron Strom who’s in charge of the hospital. Alec's a bit of a grump, he hurt his leg years ago in a riding accident, he can’t fight in the war and he assumes people think he’s a coward! A series of unfortunate incidents happen near the estate, Captain Alan Gibbons is abducted, and the local police look into it and they haven’t got a clue why? Is the castle cursed or is it just a case of really bad luck or the work of a possible saboteur? Lily Durham is a real character, she did get into quite a few scrapes in America and it was all harmless fun. But working as a nurse’s aide she finds her true calling, she’s kind; caring, fun and just what the grumpy Laird needs to shake up his world. Beauty Among Ruins is a wonderful historical Scottish romance, it’s a story about Lily’s antics, her seeing beneath the grumpy exterior of Alec, understanding the heavy burden he carried being the Laird and their path to finding love in beautiful Scotland. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, five stars from me and thanks to Edelweiss for my copy. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Tagg

    I could not possibly have adored this book more. I read J'nell Ciesielski's The Socialite earlier this year and immediately became a fan, so I would've read Beauty Among Ruins no matter the setting or storyline. But when I discovered it took place in Scotland (and featured a Scottish hero 😍) I went from eager to I-need-this-book-now! And it completely lived up to my readerly hopes. I loooooved the Scottish setting—an old castle serving as a convalescent home during the Great War. I enjoyed the m I could not possibly have adored this book more. I read J'nell Ciesielski's The Socialite earlier this year and immediately became a fan, so I would've read Beauty Among Ruins no matter the setting or storyline. But when I discovered it took place in Scotland (and featured a Scottish hero 😍) I went from eager to I-need-this-book-now! And it completely lived up to my readerly hopes. I loooooved the Scottish setting—an old castle serving as a convalescent home during the Great War. I enjoyed the mystery too, but it was the romance between Alec and Lily that completely swept me away. Deftly paced, skillfully written and oh-so-believable, it was all things sumptuous and swoony. I know I'll be rereading this book! 😍😍😍

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tahera

    A historical romance set in Scotland during the First World War between an American socialite Lily Durham and a Scottish laird Alec MacGregor. I listened to this as an audiobook and liked it. It is a clean romance with a mystery angle to it and a good setting. I have previously heard Kate Rudd's narration for the book Cul-de-Sac and really enjoyed it. Her narration for this book is clear as well which made it easy for me to follow the story, but the Scottish accent she used for the Scottish char A historical romance set in Scotland during the First World War between an American socialite Lily Durham and a Scottish laird Alec MacGregor. I listened to this as an audiobook and liked it. It is a clean romance with a mystery angle to it and a good setting. I have previously heard Kate Rudd's narration for the book Cul-de-Sac and really enjoyed it. Her narration for this book is clear as well which made it easy for me to follow the story, but the Scottish accent she used for the Scottish characters was a bit let down. My thanks to NetGalley, the publisher Thomas Nelson and the author for the audio-ARC of the book. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨💫

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    A sparkling and winsome American socialite is a fish out of water when she finds herself assigned as nurse to Tommies convalescing in a crumbling estate turned hospital. The castle and its grounds are under the tenuous care of Alec who watches as centuries of his family's history are sold against the world chugging away from titles and landed gentry, into the formidable new social castes the Great War has forged. Together, Alec and Lily are sparks and dynamite in this gorgeously descriptive take A sparkling and winsome American socialite is a fish out of water when she finds herself assigned as nurse to Tommies convalescing in a crumbling estate turned hospital. The castle and its grounds are under the tenuous care of Alec who watches as centuries of his family's history are sold against the world chugging away from titles and landed gentry, into the formidable new social castes the Great War has forged. Together, Alec and Lily are sparks and dynamite in this gorgeously descriptive take on the Beauty and the Beast trope. There's enough mystery and danger hovering nearby to keep the pages turning and a melting romance melding two dissimilar people who find intersection of heart and passion in a world that speeds away from their customs and heritage and yields a far better happily ever after than either could have imagined.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Aimee (Getting Your Read On)

    I'm always on the lookout for books by this author. She excels at giving me characters who grow and develop throughout the book. Lily was questionable to me in the beginning and I wasn't sure I was going to like her but it didn't take too long for me to change my mind. I loved how hard Lily worked to bring light and sunshine to those who needed it. I always knew I was going to like Alec even when he was growling, brooding and barking. His sense of duty and loyalty were there from the beginning a I'm always on the lookout for books by this author. She excels at giving me characters who grow and develop throughout the book. Lily was questionable to me in the beginning and I wasn't sure I was going to like her but it didn't take too long for me to change my mind. I loved how hard Lily worked to bring light and sunshine to those who needed it. I always knew I was going to like Alec even when he was growling, brooding and barking. His sense of duty and loyalty were there from the beginning and are traits I always find attractive. The story evolves as threats and mystery enter from the shadows. It gave life to the book and helped with the forward momentum because things got a little slow here and there. I enjoyed the Scottish setting and the large cast of secondary characters. This book was a good one and provided an excellent distraction. As always, I will be watching for future books from this author! Content: mild peril, mild violence, war time violence talked about. Kissing. - I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    "You are the most extraordinary inconvenience that has ever happened to me." Truer words were never spoken from the mouth of Alex MacGregor, known in the surrounding area as Lord Strathem, a virtual hermit who rarely appeared in public. When Alex agreed to convalesce wounded soldiers within the walls of his dilapidated Scottish castle, he never expected an American heiress to arrive amongst the nurses aides; Lily Durham was all joy, and sunshine, and eternal optimism wrapped up in a bossy little "You are the most extraordinary inconvenience that has ever happened to me." Truer words were never spoken from the mouth of Alex MacGregor, known in the surrounding area as Lord Strathem, a virtual hermit who rarely appeared in public. When Alex agreed to convalesce wounded soldiers within the walls of his dilapidated Scottish castle, he never expected an American heiress to arrive amongst the nurses aides; Lily Durham was all joy, and sunshine, and eternal optimism wrapped up in a bossy little package with plenty of eye-catching ribbons and bows. If only she would leave well enough alone . . . if only she would leave him alone. If only. Sent by her parents to Scotland to visit family; certainly never expecting a war to confine her there for such a length of time, Lily Durham has found a new sense of purpose, helping others, serving as a nurses aide . . . .even if the matron did assign her the most unpleasant tasks imaginable; who would have thought that Lily Durham would be ruining formal dancing gloves while scrubbing bed pans. But as she did just that, one of many charming conversations with the formidable Alex MacGregor took place . . . outside on the lawn, scrubbing bed pans. "Oh my! Two jokes in one day. Pace yourself, sir or I'll begin to think you have a sense of humor buried deep inside after all. " Alex MacGregor has much more than a sense of humor buried deep inside, he has a heart that longs for another, someone to come alongside, to share both burdens and victories; someone who understands him and his beloved heritage, someone who will fight to the end to save it. Has he found her . . . .scrubbing bed pans? Such "beauty among ruins"!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Eva K (journeyofthepages)

    Beauty Among Ruins written by J'nell Ciesielski and Narrated by Kate Rudd is a well told story about an American woman of elite status with strong opinions and impulses, Lily. Her recklessness gets her sent from New York to the Scottish Highlands during WWI where she meets her brooding beau, Alec. The narrator skillfully tells this story but it is written at a very slow pace. The plot does not develop quickly but rather it takes some time to build. The descriptions of the emotions and personalit Beauty Among Ruins written by J'nell Ciesielski and Narrated by Kate Rudd is a well told story about an American woman of elite status with strong opinions and impulses, Lily. Her recklessness gets her sent from New York to the Scottish Highlands during WWI where she meets her brooding beau, Alec. The narrator skillfully tells this story but it is written at a very slow pace. The plot does not develop quickly but rather it takes some time to build. The descriptions of the emotions and personalities is well done. Tension is adequately developed and tugs at your heartstrings. The careful details added to describe the land, scenery and gorgeous landscape is beautifully done. Thank you NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for a copy of this audiobook for review.  Thank you for reading my review on Goodreads! Follow me on Instagram (@journeyofthepages) for further bookish engagement! www.instragram.com/journeyofthepages I hope to meet you there!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    Lily Durham an American Socialite was banished to England by her parents to learn how to become a proper lady. Unfortunately while there, the Great War has started, and finds Lily and Betty working as nurses to help wounded soldiers in Scotland. Wounded soldiers are convalescing in Alec MacGregor home, the Kinclavoch Castle whom he has spent his whole life preserving. Ciesielski wrote a gorgeous story rich in amazing historical fiction details in the backdrop of World War I Scotland, a bit of my Lily Durham an American Socialite was banished to England by her parents to learn how to become a proper lady. Unfortunately while there, the Great War has started, and finds Lily and Betty working as nurses to help wounded soldiers in Scotland. Wounded soldiers are convalescing in Alec MacGregor home, the Kinclavoch Castle whom he has spent his whole life preserving. Ciesielski wrote a gorgeous story rich in amazing historical fiction details in the backdrop of World War I Scotland, a bit of mystery, and full of heart and strong characters that I became so invested in reading. I was so immersed in the story I had even learned a few Scottish words I started using around the house to my family’s dismay! Aye! For a gorgeous historical fiction romance read set during the Great War and a castle in Scotland, pick this up! Thank you @hfvbt for having me in the tour. All opinions are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    An intriguing romance-mystery set in glorious Scotland during WWI. Can American socialite Lily Durham open the wounded heart of laird Alec MacGregor as they work together to uncover a threat to Kinclavoch Castle? Despite a slow pace at times, I fell in love with the beautifully written tale and compelling characters who grow in depth as the mystery unfolds. BEAUTY AMONG RUINS is enhanced by its “clean” approach to romance and a fine mystery that keeps you guessing. Lang may yer lum reek! 4 of 5 S An intriguing romance-mystery set in glorious Scotland during WWI. Can American socialite Lily Durham open the wounded heart of laird Alec MacGregor as they work together to uncover a threat to Kinclavoch Castle? Despite a slow pace at times, I fell in love with the beautifully written tale and compelling characters who grow in depth as the mystery unfolds. BEAUTY AMONG RUINS is enhanced by its “clean” approach to romance and a fine mystery that keeps you guessing. Lang may yer lum reek! 4 of 5 Stars Pub Date 12 Jan 2021 #BeautyAmongRuins #NetGalley Thanks to the author, Thomas Nelson--FICTION, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Loraine

    American heiress, Lily Durham, has been sent by her parents to her aunt and uncle in England in hopes she will settle down, return, and marry one of the eligible gentleman selected by her parents. But Lily has dreams and desires of her own. When her cousin takes nurse's training and heads to Scotland to help injured soldiers coming back from World War 1, Lily joins her. They are posted to Kinclavoch in Scotland, a debt ridden castle now owned by Alec, Lord Strathem, who is allowing part of it to American heiress, Lily Durham, has been sent by her parents to her aunt and uncle in England in hopes she will settle down, return, and marry one of the eligible gentleman selected by her parents. But Lily has dreams and desires of her own. When her cousin takes nurse's training and heads to Scotland to help injured soldiers coming back from World War 1, Lily joins her. They are posted to Kinclavoch in Scotland, a debt ridden castle now owned by Alec, Lord Strathem, who is allowing part of it to be used as a recovery hospital. I have always wanted to visit Scotland, and the author brings the very essence of it to life. Her descriptions of the area around Kinclavoch created vivid pictures in my mind. Both of the main characters were superbly written. Each with their own inner strengths and outer weaknesses. I loved watching each of them find and develop their strengths as they each worked to solve the mysterious happenings in and around the castle and as their relationship grew. Ciesielski also threw in tidbits of humor such as Lily's scrubbing bedpans as a punishment for one of her many problems with the charge nurse. The ending was excellent as I didn't see the twist it took as I had 3 suspected villains. Another wonderful new released from J'nell Ciesielski. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Pepper Basham

    4.5 I'm a big fan of J'nell's writing. I love the way she does dialogue and her fantastic ability to write details, especially historical ones. And USUALLY, I end up loving heroes over heroines in fiction (especially a Scottish brooder like Alec), but this book...well, Lily STOLE the show. Her personality, optimism, and spunk were refreshing and fun. The storyline and excellent characters kept the pace moving forward and Alec and Lily's romantic tension was WONDERFUL! So what do you get with Among 4.5 I'm a big fan of J'nell's writing. I love the way she does dialogue and her fantastic ability to write details, especially historical ones. And USUALLY, I end up loving heroes over heroines in fiction (especially a Scottish brooder like Alec), but this book...well, Lily STOLE the show. Her personality, optimism, and spunk were refreshing and fun. The storyline and excellent characters kept the pace moving forward and Alec and Lily's romantic tension was WONDERFUL! So what do you get with Among the Ruins? Great characters, wonderful romance, Scotland, a mystery, a brooding and wounded hero, and a heroine who fits his personality PErFECTLY! I have a few characters of my own who'd like to be friends with Alex and Lily! Thanks so much for the wonderful read, J'nell!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Harris

    In a novel staring a character I didn't expect to like I found a new favorite author! The setting for "Beauty Among Ruins" was ripe for the picking in my opinion. How could it not be with WWI, Scotland, an old castle, a gruff laird who has a sweet sister, and a misunderstood heroine?! Yet, at the very first I didn't expect to like Lily for I thought she was just going to rebel... How wrong I was! She grew into a charming character that I needed to know what happened to. Alec is the same kind of gru In a novel staring a character I didn't expect to like I found a new favorite author! The setting for "Beauty Among Ruins" was ripe for the picking in my opinion. How could it not be with WWI, Scotland, an old castle, a gruff laird who has a sweet sister, and a misunderstood heroine?! Yet, at the very first I didn't expect to like Lily for I thought she was just going to rebel... How wrong I was! She grew into a charming character that I needed to know what happened to. Alec is the same kind of gruffly endearing hero that I love in historical novels, almost a beast like in Beauty and the Beast, he hid behind walls that had been built for supposed protection and stayed to the shadows for a long time. The slight air of mystery was just what I like in a historical wartime romance, it wasn't so much a surprise to find out who was the bad guy and who wasn't but it was still fun to wonder somewhat who the bad guy or ... maybe girl was. 16/18+ for talk of past mistakes that were made by a character's father. I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lu

    A lively American nurse brings joy to a decrepit Scottish castle used as a hospital during the First World War. Beauty Among Ruins by J'nell Ciesielski is a lovely historical romance between a wealthy American nurse and an impoverished Scottish Laird during the First World War. Lily was a young and wealthy American sent to England by her parents to spend time with her aristocratic relatives. They hoped the time away from home would help curb her wild personality and make her behavior more ladylike A lively American nurse brings joy to a decrepit Scottish castle used as a hospital during the First World War. Beauty Among Ruins by J'nell Ciesielski is a lovely historical romance between a wealthy American nurse and an impoverished Scottish Laird during the First World War. Lily was a young and wealthy American sent to England by her parents to spend time with her aristocratic relatives. They hoped the time away from home would help curb her wild personality and make her behavior more ladylike. During her stay in England, the First World War started, and she could not return home. When her cousin Beth decided to take a nursing course, Lily went with her, and when Beth was sent to a military hospital based on a castle in Scotland, Lily followed. Kinclavoch Castle was an imponent building that had clearly seen better days. Its owner, Alec MacGregor, Lord Strathem, was a young but recluse man that did not interact much with the nurses and soldiers. Vivacious and innocent, Lily was great with the ailing soldiers. The matron despaired of her lack of discipline, and some fellow nurses were jealous of her sparkle. Lily's light and Alec's dark clash and mingle, and a lovely emotion grows between them. But jealousy, ambition, social standing, and honor would stand in their way. This is my first book by this author, and I really enjoyed her writing style and character building. Alec was adorably grumpy but also honorable and principled. Lily was sweet, strong, and lovely. I especially loved that Alec could understand and appreciate Lily's personality and that she never gave up on helping him. As a backdrop for the romance, the book brings the harshness of the war by the eyes of its wounded and the vital role played by the voluntary nurses. Beauty Among Ruins is a romantic and inspiring story about being loved for who you are and finding a place to belong. Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *For more reviews, book art, and book-related articles, please visit https://lureviewsbooks.com *

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Beauty Among Ruins follows Lily, an American girl who is sent by her family (who finds her too reckless for her own good) to England where she will aid as a nurse to help men coming back from the war. There she meets the owner of the castle, Alec MacGregor who even though he encounters financial difficulties, is trying his best to keep his land and property in his family. Overall, this was a nice story but it didn't grab my attention like I wanted. I didn't fell in love with the romance which ma Beauty Among Ruins follows Lily, an American girl who is sent by her family (who finds her too reckless for her own good) to England where she will aid as a nurse to help men coming back from the war. There she meets the owner of the castle, Alec MacGregor who even though he encounters financial difficulties, is trying his best to keep his land and property in his family. Overall, this was a nice story but it didn't grab my attention like I wanted. I didn't fell in love with the romance which made me a little disappointed in the end. (Thank you for letting me read and review an ARC via Netgalley)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Suzie Waltner

    The setting, characters, and time period in Beauty Among Ruins made this book, written by J'nell Ciesielski , my favorite of hers yet. Let’s start with the setting. A castle in Scotland? Yes, please. However, said castle is currently housing injured British soldiers as well as the family while also in need of some major repairs. This book is set during World War I and introduced me to a new aspect of the history of the war with Scotland’s involvement. When a book makes me want to research facts, I The setting, characters, and time period in Beauty Among Ruins made this book, written by J'nell Ciesielski , my favorite of hers yet. Let’s start with the setting. A castle in Scotland? Yes, please. However, said castle is currently housing injured British soldiers as well as the family while also in need of some major repairs. This book is set during World War I and introduced me to a new aspect of the history of the war with Scotland’s involvement. When a book makes me want to research facts, I know it resonated with me. And finally, the characters are the reason this book receives a five-star rating. Lily is a little spoiled and used to getting her way, so when she ends up at Castle Klinclavoch as an aide to the nurses caring for the wounded, she finds herself more often in trouble than not. And then there’s the mysterious, brooding laird of the castle. Alec carries a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders and he doesn’t have time for some American socialite who doesn’t know her place. The development of Alec and Lily’s relationship progresses naturally from annoyance to acceptance to friendship to romance. And the secondary characters left me with strong opinions about them, one way or the other with no middle ground. Disclosure statement: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story by a new to me author! The setting of a Scottish castle during wartime was really enjoyable to read about. I listened to the audio book and thought that the narrator did a good job with this story. She used a light brogue when reading the Scottish characters’ lines. The accent was not too heavy and very easy for me to understand, yet definitely sounded Scottish. Her tone of voice also changed to a pleasant accent for the main character, Lily. I liked the way the ro I thoroughly enjoyed this story by a new to me author! The setting of a Scottish castle during wartime was really enjoyable to read about. I listened to the audio book and thought that the narrator did a good job with this story. She used a light brogue when reading the Scottish characters’ lines. The accent was not too heavy and very easy for me to understand, yet definitely sounded Scottish. Her tone of voice also changed to a pleasant accent for the main character, Lily. I liked the way the romance developed between Lily and Alec, which began as frustration between the two of them and grew into respect, friendship, and affection. I was frustrated that someone was trying to bring ruin to Alec and his holdings as Laird and hopeful that all would be revealed. Overall, this was a very interesting story, with an unknown villain working to bring down a man of honor. I look forward to reading more books by this author. (4.5 stars) I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. You can read this review on my blog: https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.c...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    J’nell Ciesielski has delivered an entertaining WWI era romance about an American heiress swept away to Europe - Scotland to be exact. There, she takes on the role of a nurse in a dark and dreary castle. Romance blooms while a series of mysterious events threaten the future of the estate. I enjoyed this read. There were plenty of antagonists to keep me guessing who the real villain was. As I worked through the story, I was reminded of Beauty and the Beast although I would not call this a retelli J’nell Ciesielski has delivered an entertaining WWI era romance about an American heiress swept away to Europe - Scotland to be exact. There, she takes on the role of a nurse in a dark and dreary castle. Romance blooms while a series of mysterious events threaten the future of the estate. I enjoyed this read. There were plenty of antagonists to keep me guessing who the real villain was. As I worked through the story, I was reminded of Beauty and the Beast although I would not call this a retelling. Character development was quite strong. There were, however, a few incidents in this story that I would have liked to see better resolution to. Overall, a good read for historical romance fans. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jamele (BookswithJams)

    I LOVED this one so much! It is the first physical book I have read in I can’t remember when, and let me tell you, I was excited to dive in and be within the walls of a Scottish castle and all of its history and learn everything along with Lily. Lily is an American socialite in 1914 who bucks tradition (just how I like my protagonists) and her parents send her overseas to live with her cousin Bertie as she is not quite falling in line like they think she should. As the Great War breaks out, she I LOVED this one so much! It is the first physical book I have read in I can’t remember when, and let me tell you, I was excited to dive in and be within the walls of a Scottish castle and all of its history and learn everything along with Lily. Lily is an American socialite in 1914 who bucks tradition (just how I like my protagonists) and her parents send her overseas to live with her cousin Bertie as she is not quite falling in line like they think she should. As the Great War breaks out, she and Bertie head to Scotland to Kinclavoch Castle to provide help to soldiers that are triaged there. Lily is not really a nurse, and is not really well received, but worms her way into the hearts of most everyone there, including Alec, aka Lord Strathem who is the owner of said castle. But things are not as they seem, as she soon finds out, but by then, let’s just say it’s a little too hard for her to just up and go as some want her to do. Maybe she is more attached to the place (and a certain Lord) than she realizes? This was absolutely fantastic, I was engaged from the start and took my time with this one, I loved every single thing about it. I loved the history, the atmosphere, and the cherry on top was the romance. It was all just so fantastically well done that I have nothing but great things to say about this book. I definitely want to read more historical fiction this year and this one was perfect to kick off the trend. Thank you to @tlcbooktours @tnzfiction @jnellciesielski for the #gifted book to review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    MJSH

    "Aye, but you seem to have smiles, and sometimes that is what is needed more than a clean apron." What a delightful and enchanting historical romance set during WWI. The book does not boast of detailed accounts of the war nor does it have a faith element in the story, but it does boast of raw, palpable emotions, breath-taking beauty, and the heart's call for home. If you enjoy historical romance, this is a book not to be missed. It made me laugh out loud from the well-placed humor and banter, wee "Aye, but you seem to have smiles, and sometimes that is what is needed more than a clean apron." What a delightful and enchanting historical romance set during WWI. The book does not boast of detailed accounts of the war nor does it have a faith element in the story, but it does boast of raw, palpable emotions, breath-taking beauty, and the heart's call for home. If you enjoy historical romance, this is a book not to be missed. It made me laugh out loud from the well-placed humor and banter, weep from the sorrow and heart-break, and sigh with contentment at the tender sweet romance. Lily, the American, is full of life and zest but is deemed impertinent and selfish so is sent across the ocean to England before the start of the war in 1914. 1915 finds her as a nurse's aide, tending to the broken soldiers in a Scotland castle. Alec is the reclusive laird, brooding, stubborn, straight-laced but loyal and selflessly working towards preserving his crumbling legacy and history. Underneath the gruff and scowling exterior lies a tender, fiercely protective heart of gold that only a few people get to see. Alec is a swoon-worthy hero, for sure. There is great humor throughout the story, even in the midst of fear, pain and horrors of the war seen through the recovering soldiers' tales. There is even a hint of intrigue and mystery as strange things keep happening around the castle that seem to further put a cloud of doom over them. The title "Beauty Among Ruins" is so appropriate - there is beauty everywhere in this story - in the dilapidated castle of old, in the rugged untamed landscape of Scotland, in the broken hope of the soldiers, in the fledgling star-crossed romance between Lily and Alec. The author has become one of my favorite historical romance writers and I can't wait for her next book! I received a copy of the book via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are solely my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for a fair review A historical fiction romance set in Scotland “Beauty Among Ruins”, by J’nell Ciesielski (Thomas Nelson), features a wounded hero troubled by the weight of the family heritage and for not being able to enlist and an intrepid, bold heroine with a compassionate nature. In the beginning, Alec is a very appealing brooding, stoic hero. Swamped by family responsibilities and a “legacy of debts”, Alec has a deep sense of honor and duty and a pe Received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for a fair review A historical fiction romance set in Scotland “Beauty Among Ruins”, by J’nell Ciesielski (Thomas Nelson), features a wounded hero troubled by the weight of the family heritage and for not being able to enlist and an intrepid, bold heroine with a compassionate nature. In the beginning, Alec is a very appealing brooding, stoic hero. Swamped by family responsibilities and a “legacy of debts”, Alec has a deep sense of honor and duty and a pessimistic perspective on life. Lily’s passion and joy slowly change his perceptions and he loses some of his gloominess (and some of his appeal, in my opinion). The story is well written, with insights into Scottish culture and traditions and the beauty of nature. There’s a love for the land which is interesting. Several incidents in the suspense subplots made the pacing a bit too slow for my taste.

  22. 4 out of 5

    N

    This book is among other things, a romance. It’s also historically based fiction and somewhat of a mystery. The love between Lily and Alec is immediate and heartwarming. The novel takes place mainly in Scotland in 1914 during the war that’s raging in Europe. Mysterious happenings threaten Kinclavoch’s future. Lily is a spoiled socialite used to having her own way and Alec is a brooding, inward character. Find out how they connect with each other and who is behind the disastrous events at the cas This book is among other things, a romance. It’s also historically based fiction and somewhat of a mystery. The love between Lily and Alec is immediate and heartwarming. The novel takes place mainly in Scotland in 1914 during the war that’s raging in Europe. Mysterious happenings threaten Kinclavoch’s future. Lily is a spoiled socialite used to having her own way and Alec is a brooding, inward character. Find out how they connect with each other and who is behind the disastrous events at the castle, one of them involving a Ethel Barrymore. Can you guess? The beauty of Scotland comes through in the story and you can almost smell the heather. An easy, charming read. Thanks to Goodreads giveaways and Thomas Nelson books for the complementary copy. I enjoyed it and will recommend it to friends.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Inspirationalfictionreader

    This is my first J’nell Ciesielski book, but it won’t be my last! I really enjoyed the writing style and the storyline. It was romantic, had great characters, and I loved that it was set in Scotland, in a castle, no less! I loved Alec and how Lily slowly broke through his gruff personality with with her always sunny disposition. I also loved how she didn’t really let things get her down. The slight mystery aspect was interesting as well as its resolution. I will definitely be reading more of J’Nel This is my first J’nell Ciesielski book, but it won’t be my last! I really enjoyed the writing style and the storyline. It was romantic, had great characters, and I loved that it was set in Scotland, in a castle, no less! I loved Alec and how Lily slowly broke through his gruff personality with with her always sunny disposition. I also loved how she didn’t really let things get her down. The slight mystery aspect was interesting as well as its resolution. I will definitely be reading more of J’Nell Ciesielski’s stories. I was given a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    4.5 stars I absolutely loved this book! I was immediately hooked by the setting of an old castle falling into disrepair and its mysterious lord. While banished from the States, young Lily Durham finds herself trapped by the developing war in Europe. She accompanies her cousin to serve as a nurse's aid at a Scottish castle that has been transformed into a convalescent home for soldiers. While at first I thought the heroine was rather frivolous, I found her heart and irrepressible spirit engaging. 4.5 stars I absolutely loved this book! I was immediately hooked by the setting of an old castle falling into disrepair and its mysterious lord. While banished from the States, young Lily Durham finds herself trapped by the developing war in Europe. She accompanies her cousin to serve as a nurse's aid at a Scottish castle that has been transformed into a convalescent home for soldiers. While at first I thought the heroine was rather frivolous, I found her heart and irrepressible spirit engaging. The story trope of a young socialite growing up and finding purpose in life is a familiar one, yet I found this story refreshing in so many ways. This is a story that will cause the reader to laugh as well as tug at their hearts. It is a wonderful blend of expertly crafted characters, pacing, mystery and romance. The author paints a picture of hope and beauty that can be found in the ruins amidst the frailties and despair of the human spirit. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alisha

    This World War I era novel is a bit Downton Abbey-esque, so fans of the show will find a lot to enjoy here. I enjoyed it myself, though I thought it would have benefited by being shorter. I can easily see it making a fun miniseries for TV, but the reading experience is a bit too strung out. (I do have to give props for the use of Inveraray as the model for the Scottish castle... Even without paying attention to the cover, I recognized it immediately from the description! Super gratifying to a pas This World War I era novel is a bit Downton Abbey-esque, so fans of the show will find a lot to enjoy here. I enjoyed it myself, though I thought it would have benefited by being shorter. I can easily see it making a fun miniseries for TV, but the reading experience is a bit too strung out. (I do have to give props for the use of Inveraray as the model for the Scottish castle... Even without paying attention to the cover, I recognized it immediately from the description! Super gratifying to a past visitor :) An American heiress named Lily is shipped off to England because her mother hopes that some time with the Brits will mend her wild, independent ways. After a year, Lily's English cousin becomes a nurse in the war effort, and Lily goes with her as a nurse's aide to Scotland, to a manor that's been turned into a convalescent home for wounded soldiers. Enter the rest of the characters... the stuffy matron, the conniving new-money socialite, the ice-cold dowager of the manor, the sleazy scandal-mongering newspaperman, and most importantly, the Laird... Alec, beset by his father's debts and his own sense of insecurity over not being well enough to fight in the war. Lily comes in like a breath of fresh air and refuses to act like anyone expects her to. But not only does Alec have to decide whether to let her into his heart or not, he also has to figure out who is behind a series of suspicious circumstances that seem designed to ruin him. The suspense or mystery of the book was not very compelling. The central characters and their relationship were the stronger part of the book. Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for this digital review copy.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Caroline arrow_reads

    New York heiress, Lily Durham feels lost in the society parties and matchmaking. She slowly begins to find herself among the wild countryside of Scotland. Where she becomes a nurse to the wounded British soldiers of WWI who find themselves at Kinclavoch Castle. There she also meets the Laird of this castle, Alec MacGregor who is desperately trying to save his family home and history from his father’s past debts. I thoroughly enjoyed this story of adventure, mystery, and most of all love. ⁣ 4.5 ⭐️

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ochegba

    From the first page of this book I fell in love with Lily. I loved her zest for life, her spunk and her desire to want more out of life. Despite all she had been through, she learned to live an I admired that. Alec was a wonderful character too. He suffered under the burden of trying to pick up the pieces after his father had messed things up, his sister's health and his mother's stubbornness and a slimy journalist that just wouldn't quit I admired his strength under the circumstances and loved hi From the first page of this book I fell in love with Lily. I loved her zest for life, her spunk and her desire to want more out of life. Despite all she had been through, she learned to live an I admired that. Alec was a wonderful character too. He suffered under the burden of trying to pick up the pieces after his father had messed things up, his sister's health and his mother's stubbornness and a slimy journalist that just wouldn't quit I admired his strength under the circumstances and loved his interactions with Lily from the start. It was a beautiful story and would be the joy of every historical romance lover. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. All opinions expressed are solely mine

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chelsie

    I just love how J’nell tells a story! Lily, an American Socialite was sent to England by her mother for punishment for her unladylike like ways, where she follows her cousin to a castle as a nurse. Well not really a nurse, but she figures she can learn, it can’t be that hard, right. As soon as she gets there, she can tell she is not wanted, and looked down upon. She is snubbed as an American. Lily does her best to try and do what is asked of her, but often she mistakenly finds herself in predicam I just love how J’nell tells a story! Lily, an American Socialite was sent to England by her mother for punishment for her unladylike like ways, where she follows her cousin to a castle as a nurse. Well not really a nurse, but she figures she can learn, it can’t be that hard, right. As soon as she gets there, she can tell she is not wanted, and looked down upon. She is snubbed as an American. Lily does her best to try and do what is asked of her, but often she mistakenly finds herself in predicaments she should not be in. Wandering in part of the castle not permitted to the nurses, talking to Lord Alec MacGregor himself, and comforting a young girl in her room, which also happens to be off limits. She continues to get put on the worse duties there are, but yet she still finds a way to keep things positive and fun. Not many like her, and her american ways. They make it very clear that she is not one of them, does not belong there, and nothing but trouble seems to find her. Often Lily is not afraid to speak up, and plan things before getting full approval and with each event and situation that she manages to pull off, there is also a negative reaction to continue to put darkness over the castle and what is really going on there. A kidnapping, a fire, a poisoning and not to mention the place is falling apart, literally. Lily gets herself tangled in affairs that the Alec is drowning in, and just when she is realizing things about herself, her parents come. They demand her to come back to America immediately with them and cannot believe she has stooped so slow, as to be a lowly nurse to these broken men. Her mother is aghast, Lily belongs in ballrooms and vying for a husband that will help further their family namesake and ensure a monetary future of no worry. But Lily is not done here. She sees the good she is bringing to the men, to this castle and she feels like she has meaning. She doesn’t want some rich snob husband that only marries her to better his status, and she is not going to marry for that either. She is realizing she has someone else in her sights that she has started to fall for, not realizing her own feelings. Will Lily be able to pursue her new dreams or will her parents force her to go back to the society she was raised in? Very good read! I have not read much about WWI, so this was interesting to read about the men who came back injured from the font lines. Thank you to the author for the free book, and to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for the invite!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Diane Peterson

    4.5 stars. If you are a reader that loves fast action and lots of hot sexy bits, this is not the book for you. BUT if you love a slow burn romance with gradual character development and a bit of intrigue, there is much to love about Beauty Among Ruins. Lily Durham is an outspoken, fun-loving New York socialite, and a great disappointment to her persnickety mother. Her parents send her to live with relatives in England hoping she will mature. When World War I erupts Lily finds herself working as a 4.5 stars. If you are a reader that loves fast action and lots of hot sexy bits, this is not the book for you. BUT if you love a slow burn romance with gradual character development and a bit of intrigue, there is much to love about Beauty Among Ruins. Lily Durham is an outspoken, fun-loving New York socialite, and a great disappointment to her persnickety mother. Her parents send her to live with relatives in England hoping she will mature. When World War I erupts Lily finds herself working as a nursing aide at a Scottish castle that houses convalescing soldiers. The castle also houses a reclusive laird, his sister, and his mother. The laird, Alec MacGregor, is struggling to keep his estate together in the face of overwhelming debt and expense. Lily and Alec are two people as different as night and day, yet they gradually form an attraction as they each learn more about themselves. This is not my usual type of historical romance, but I really enjoyed Beauty Among Ruins. There was a joyful openness to Lily that made her an engaging heroine. Plus, her speech and mannerisms seemed genuine to this historical period. Alec was certainly a tortured hero, but most of the torture was of his own making due to pride and loyalty. The mystery element was not strong, but it was not the main focus of the story. Beauty Among Ruins was a refreshing surprise to me with excellent writing, historic detail, and a sweet romance. ARC provided by author.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I think that I will say that The Socialite will always be my favorite. This author does have talent. I love her stories but somehow I was jest a little disappointed in this book. All the ingredients the book had to offer was there but the way the Scots spoke kinda threw me off. I did have a little trouble understanding the language they spoke. I will say I learned a lot while reading this book. Historical fiction really is the best teacher. I guess maybe it just wasn't for me I don't know. I will tr I think that I will say that The Socialite will always be my favorite. This author does have talent. I love her stories but somehow I was jest a little disappointed in this book. All the ingredients the book had to offer was there but the way the Scots spoke kinda threw me off. I did have a little trouble understanding the language they spoke. I will say I learned a lot while reading this book. Historical fiction really is the best teacher. I guess maybe it just wasn't for me I don't know. I will try again later because I really do love this author. I love her other books jest fine. I can relate to Alec in only one way and it's not for the same reason. I too have trouble with my leg and have to use a cane to walk. The cover of the book is beautiful! It and the author was why I wanted to read it. This is my honest opinion. I still recommend this book to others. I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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