Beauty Among Ruins ~ Review

Beauty Among Ruins
By J'nell Ciesielski
Narrated by Kate Rudd

Lily Durham has flaunted her lack of regard for societal rules for the last time. Her mother won't allow her to further endanger the family's standing with her carefree, thoughtless behavior and thus banishes her to spend the summer in England. But war with Germany extends Lily's exile, trapping her on the island nation. What's a girl to do? Why take up nursing and help care for the convalescing soldiers.

But Lily's skills as a nurse are sadly lacking and her American ways do little to endear her to the matron or the family who have given their home over to serve as a convalescent home. 

Kinclavoch Castle has fallen on hard times, debt has allowed it to deteriorate, though the current laird, Alec MacGregor, is doing all in his power to preserve and hold onto his family's ancestorial lands and provide a home for those who have served. Alec wants to remain in the shadows and out of the judgmental eye of any who may disapprove of his lack of service. Though contact with the family is strictly prohibited Lily somehow manages to get lost and always ends up exactly where she shouldn't. But sometimes that is exactly where one needs to be.

As Lily comes to love and care for the stark beauty of the land that has become home to her, she grows into a person that she never could have been surrounded by the wealth and society she had been born into. And she finds her heart softening towards a certain laird who is determined to go it alone as his world crumbles around him. Can two opposites find common ground in their loneliness and their love of the land they stand upon? But someone has targetted Alec and Kinclavoch seemingly with an intention to destroy them both. 

Beauty Among Ruins takes the reader to the lowlands of Scotland during the height of the Great War, the War that was to end all wars. The world is in a time of upheaval and change, and it is in this world that Lily comes into her own. She brings light and joy to a world that has lost its way brightening the life of Alec and the soldiers by giving them hope.

The narration by Kate Rudd is well done. The pacing suits the story, moving it forward as we are introduced to the various characters. In no way does her presentation detract from the story. 

I have not previously had any familiarity with the author's works and was more than a little pleased to discover a new to me author. J'nell Ciesielski has a delightful way with words and I for one plan on further discovering her works - her previous work The Socialite is already on my tbr list for 2021.

I was provided a complimentary digital text copy of this work but purchased the audio version to complement my daily commute. All thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:
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 threaten 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?


  1. Thank you for such a wonderful review! I'm so glad you enjoyed Alec and Lily's story!

    1. I have The Socialite on my tbr list - Just got the audio version. Can't wait to get into it.


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