True Heart by Charlotte Lamb

(Clan Mackenzie Series, Book #5)

Ten-year-old Virginia MacKenzie was determined to join Cameron Cunningham --- her beloved friend, and now, formally, her betrothed --- when he sailed to France. Arranging to join Cam's Highland Dream at sea, Virginia never suspected the captain of her ship would spirit her to America, selling her into vilest bondage ...
Desperately, Cameron searched for his betrothed for years, when even the great Lachlan MacKenzie had given up his daughter for dead. Now Cam's only memento of Virginia was a tattered silk handkerchief with a faded hallmark ...
Virginia could scarce believe it when a near-miracle finally brought Cam to her rescue. Longing to rush into his arms, yet afraid of losing him once more, she hid her past and retreated from Cam's sheltering embrace. Tenderly, Cam vowed to heal the wounds of the past, and win her heart once more ... until she believed completely in the love that was their destiny ...

I groaned in exasperation starting this book - it began cheesy with sex right off the bat, silly descriptive phrases, and ridiculous passion. I'm happy to say it turned a bit funny a few pages in though, and from then on redeemed itself.

Sex is here but not dominating and the story is actually a very intriguing one for a romance. I got the false impression that plot would take too much of a backseat to cheaply injected intimacy but thankfully this isn't the case. I'm sure that people who had read the story of the parent's would get their past relationship more, but it was easy for me too as a first-timer to pick up on how much they cared about each other and the author's ease with making the relationship believable.

It's quite unique and while more action could have happened in the center areas to buffer it up, I loved Cameron as the main character. He was refreshing and fun and one reason the book works so well.  Having a likeable hero is the main secret for having the romance work well, I think. Virginia was a likeable heroine. I loved the parents and the family.

It was actually a heartfelt, feel good story that doesn't have to try to be one, it just is without the phony feeling. The ending was especially funny. The blend of humor with action and strong personalities that work make this one a recommendable old-school romance. The book was amped up further being so curious on what big secret she could have been hiding for so long. Secrets and intrigue are good for any genre.

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