Release Date: March 8, 2010
More Info: Amazon
The steps of a charmingly complex dance—Scotland’s famous reel—are at the heart of Hester Browne’s enchanting contemporary novel of two very different sisters whose dreams may come true at a romantic Scottish ball.
Evie Nicholson is in love . . . with the past. An antiques appraiser in a London shop, Evie spins fanciful attachments to Victorian picture frames, French champagne glasses, satin evening gloves, and tattered teddy bears—regardless of their monetary value.
Alice Nicholson is in love . . . with Fraser Graham, a dashing Scotsman whom Evie secretly desires. As crisply neat and stylish as Evie is cheerfully cluttered, Alice is a professional organizer determined to pull her sister out of her comfort zone—and who presents her with an irresistible offer.
As a favor to friends of Fraser’s family, Evie jumps at the chance to appraise a Scottish castle full of artifacts and heirlooms. What could be more thrilling than roaming the halls of Kettlesheer and uncovering the McAndrews’ family treasures—and dusty secrets?
But crossing paths with moody heir Robert McAndrew has Evie assessing what she wants the most . . . and at an upcoming candlelight gala, a traditional dance will set her heart reeling.
I don't read a lot of straight up romances; most of the romances I read are romantic suspense or paranormal romance. But, every once in a while I crave a regular romance. This one sounded appealing - sisters (I have two, anybody want one?), dancing (not that I dance. I'm told I dance like a drunken giraffe on crutches), a castle, and a hunky male lead.
"Swept Off Her Feet" focuses primarily on the younger sister Evie and her romantic troubles but older sister Alice is also part of the story. In fact, Alice gets Evie the job evaluating antiques at a Scottish castle for a family having financial troubles. That, of course, is where Evie meets Robert, or Robbie as his parents call him. Like Evie, he loves his family but doesn't see eye-to-eye with him about life choices, his or theirs. Evie has a similar problem with her sister and their mother. They are waiting for her to grow up and get a real job and to stop hoarding. Now, from what I read, I'd call her a collector not a hoarder but I've had similar conversations with my own family so I empathize strongly with Evie.
That is one of the strength's of this story. Most of us don't live in castles, certainly aren't some form of royalty like Robbie's parents, but we all have family issues, we all feel strongly about our life choices, and most people just want to be accepted for who they are. Browne neatly works all these themes into the story without clobbering us over the head with them. Evie, Alice, Robbie, and Fraser (Alice's boyfriend and Evie's crush) are all likable and understandable. I found myself rooting for all of them though Alice did get on my nerves at times; Browne must have an older sister, she did such a great job of portraying Alice. (Sorry Kelly & Sarita, if you are reading this. But, it's true! :P)
Over the course of the book, Evie, Alice and Robbie all come to terms with their family issues and their relationships with each other. Learning how to reel goes a long way to building up her self confidence. Both she and her sister are very tall and not particularly graceful so dancing has always been torturous for them. The ball that Robbie's parents hold at their castle is a turning point for both Evie and Alice. But, the book doesn't end there. Evie goes back to the store where she works, trying desperately to save her job. She prefers personal, intimate antiques - diaries, plush animals, love letters, etc. Her boss prefers the bigger ticket items - furniture, oriental rugs, etc. Her job was on the line with this consult for Robbie's family. The ending is a bit pat and predictable, but overall it's a fun, well written romance with both depth and humor.