In the year 1832, young widow Eleanor Crombie is forced to decide. Should she stay in Scotland to live with her stepmother or search for her destiny on the other side of the Atlantic? Her siblings have long since left their home island of Mull for the New World and after contacting her brother Ian, a doctor in Boston, she does not hesitate when he books her a passage.
Caroline Campbell hopes to have a season in London when her uncle, Edward Rydell, pays her a rare visit at the family manor on Mull. He brings Mr Dearborn, an older gentleman, who eyes her a little too closely for her liking. Still, as she is promised a season in Boston – not quite London but infinitely better than Mull – she ignores her housekeeper’s warning and dreams of balls and parties.
The widow and the spoilt girl are thrown together during a stormy crossing, and form an unusual bond. After their arrival in Boston, they quickly settle into their different lives. Eleanor takes over her brother’s household and meets her elder sister’s brother-in-law again whom she had not seen since their childhood. Will Rupert MacDougall’s curious and adventurous spirit win her heart or should she play it safe?
Caroline hopes for a good match but her uncle and his dubious acquaintance are always watching. Despite her high hopes she begins to feel drawn to Ian Crombie, Eleanor’s brother. As the sinister dealings of Rydell and Dearborn are revealed, Eleanor and Caroline, Rupert and Ian are forced to choose their fate.
Swartz’s second novel is entertaining throughout, bringing to life a young America. The family connections between the characters are a little confusing in the beginning but the story just pulls you in. A great read.