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London banking heiress Hattie Greenfield wanted "just" three things in life: 1. Acclaim as an artist. 2. A noble cause. 3. Marriage to a young lord who puts the gentle in gentleman. Why then does this Oxford scholar find herself at the altar with the darkly attractive financier Lucian Blackstone, whose murky past and ruthless business practices strike fear in the hearts of Bri London banking heiress Hattie Greenfield wanted "just" three things in life: 1. Acclaim as an artist. 2. A noble cause. 3. Marriage to a young lord who puts the gentle in gentleman. Why then does this Oxford scholar find herself at the altar with the darkly attractive financier Lucian Blackstone, whose murky past and ruthless business practices strike fear in the hearts of Britain's peerage? Trust Hattie to take an invigorating little adventure too far. Now she's stuck with a churlish Scot who just might be the end of her ambitions.... When the daughter of his business rival all but falls into his lap, Lucian sees opportunity. As a self-made man, he has vast wealth but holds little power, and Hattie might be the key to finally setting long-harbored political plans in motion. Driven by an old revenge, he has no room for his new wife's apprehensions or romantic notions, bewitching as he finds her. But a sudden journey to Scotland paints everything in a different light. Hattie slowly sees the real Lucian and realizes she could win everything—as long as she is prepared to lose her heart. Going toe-to-toe with a brooding Scotsman is rather bold for a respectable suffragist, but when he happens to be one's unexpected husband, what else is an unwilling bride to do?


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London banking heiress Hattie Greenfield wanted "just" three things in life: 1. Acclaim as an artist. 2. A noble cause. 3. Marriage to a young lord who puts the gentle in gentleman. Why then does this Oxford scholar find herself at the altar with the darkly attractive financier Lucian Blackstone, whose murky past and ruthless business practices strike fear in the hearts of Bri London banking heiress Hattie Greenfield wanted "just" three things in life: 1. Acclaim as an artist. 2. A noble cause. 3. Marriage to a young lord who puts the gentle in gentleman. Why then does this Oxford scholar find herself at the altar with the darkly attractive financier Lucian Blackstone, whose murky past and ruthless business practices strike fear in the hearts of Britain's peerage? Trust Hattie to take an invigorating little adventure too far. Now she's stuck with a churlish Scot who just might be the end of her ambitions.... When the daughter of his business rival all but falls into his lap, Lucian sees opportunity. As a self-made man, he has vast wealth but holds little power, and Hattie might be the key to finally setting long-harbored political plans in motion. Driven by an old revenge, he has no room for his new wife's apprehensions or romantic notions, bewitching as he finds her. But a sudden journey to Scotland paints everything in a different light. Hattie slowly sees the real Lucian and realizes she could win everything—as long as she is prepared to lose her heart. Going toe-to-toe with a brooding Scotsman is rather bold for a respectable suffragist, but when he happens to be one's unexpected husband, what else is an unwilling bride to do?

30 review for Portrait of a Scotsman

  1. 4 out of 5

    Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️

    Ooof. I decided to edit this review as I originally did it on my phone and it was sloppy and choppy. Not that reviews I actually spend time on are objectively better...because, you know... But I digress. I was SUPER excited to read this book. I really liked Hattie in the previous books and was super intrigued by Lucian in Lucie and Ballantine's book. Excitingly, I was solidly loving this through the first 100-150 pages. And then...? Everything fell off the rails for me. The flow of the story fell a Ooof. I decided to edit this review as I originally did it on my phone and it was sloppy and choppy. Not that reviews I actually spend time on are objectively better...because, you know... But I digress. I was SUPER excited to read this book. I really liked Hattie in the previous books and was super intrigued by Lucian in Lucie and Ballantine's book. Excitingly, I was solidly loving this through the first 100-150 pages. And then...? Everything fell off the rails for me. The flow of the story fell apart and I suddenly couldn't stand Hattie. For someone who supposedly wanted to fight for the rights of women, she sure got super fucking judgmental of women who weren't upper crust and/or who had to work for a living to feed their families. What a childish, hypocritical snob of the worst order. I couldn’t stand her and her cruel, entitled whining one second longer. Her lack of self awareness was rivaled only by her inability to read the room. Her abhorrence at having to stay in a less than 5-star, family owned inn in Scotland was but the icing on the cake for me. And don't even get me started on that ending. What a pathetic joke. Lucian deserved a better heroine and a better story. But, I seem to be in the minority here, so maybe it's just me...but then again... I really love the idea of this series...a romance series against the backdrop of the suffragette movement...it's a great idea and I love reading about it...but at it's core, this is supposed to be a ROMANCE book, not a political science course. And, sadly, the character relationships, plot, and romance took a back seat to the politics and the nonstop socialist commentary...and the story suffered for it. This one was just a miss for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Ugh. So good. A Beauty & the Beast-esque love story that engages directly with all the complexities of that kind of power dynamic. I also always finish Dunmore's books having genuinely LEARNED something, without it ever feeling like the historical elements are bogging down the narrative or romance. Her books HAVE to take place within their context, rather than the era feeling incidental, and it's clear how much research goes into these books. I can't even understand how she's been publishing at Ugh. So good. A Beauty & the Beast-esque love story that engages directly with all the complexities of that kind of power dynamic. I also always finish Dunmore's books having genuinely LEARNED something, without it ever feeling like the historical elements are bogging down the narrative or romance. Her books HAVE to take place within their context, rather than the era feeling incidental, and it's clear how much research goes into these books. I can't even understand how she's been publishing at this pace. Nothing is sacrificed--the writing, the characters, the story itself. It's all just utterly intentional. LOVE.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    I’m addicted to this series, including the powerful, independent, smart heroines, ultra charming, charismatic, respectful heroes and intriguing feminism vibes blended in historical journey! Well, second book’s MCs Lucie and Tristan are still my all time hottest couple but Harriet and Lucian may also have extra scandalous tricks up their sleeves to shake regency era to the core ! Harriet is introvert, quirky, talented artist finds herself compromised to Lord Blackstone who is cold blooded, busine I’m addicted to this series, including the powerful, independent, smart heroines, ultra charming, charismatic, respectful heroes and intriguing feminism vibes blended in historical journey! Well, second book’s MCs Lucie and Tristan are still my all time hottest couple but Harriet and Lucian may also have extra scandalous tricks up their sleeves to shake regency era to the core ! Harriet is introvert, quirky, talented artist finds herself compromised to Lord Blackstone who is cold blooded, business oriented, smart, sensible man and also a business rival of her father. Lucian seizes their bonding as an opportunity who has been waiting for so long. He’s a ruthless business man who has no mercy when there’s a tough competition. He can set his political scheme he’s planned with the help of his little lady accompanied her at his new journey. I have to say, it took a little time for me to get into the story and connect with Hattie! It was too slow burn at the beginning and I got impatient a few times because MCs had so little connection nearly half of the book. When they were together, there was always some vagueness about their feelings about each other, because their were too stick to their hidden agendas and ambitions! Luckily things get steamier at the second half! Actually extremely fiery, spicy, blasting enough to widen my smile and enjoy the ride! And I loved the beginning! I think Hattie became one of my favorite characters the author created! This book earns your concentration and your patience because it’s truly well written, thought provoking, entertaining and stimulating, tempting wild ride with remarkable characterization! So don’t let your boredom take your control! The beginning was bumpy but after a few pages later you’ll see how you’re clicked with the entire story and you find yourself have so much quality time! I’m giving blazing four, artsy, sexy, witty, high chemistry, steamy, regency era stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    09.09.2021: My rational brain is in an ongoing battle with my heart on how to rate this 😭😅 Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars at the moment. I need to think about this. *10 minutes later* [narrator's voice: she thought about it] Let me precede with this simple opinion - Evie Dunmore for sure can write, and she can write compelling, emotional, complex love stories that grip my heart. I immensely enjoyed majority of 'Portrait of a Scotsman', in fact, I pretty much devoured it. However, sometimes the sto 09.09.2021: My rational brain is in an ongoing battle with my heart on how to rate this 😭😅 Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars at the moment. I need to think about this. *10 minutes later* [narrator's voice: she thought about it] Let me precede with this simple opinion - Evie Dunmore for sure can write, and she can write compelling, emotional, complex love stories that grip my heart. I immensely enjoyed majority of 'Portrait of a Scotsman', in fact, I pretty much devoured it. However, sometimes the story is only as strong as its final note and this one was unfortunately off-key. But let's start with the What I loved part, shall we? 💋 While the beginning of their union is nothing short of disastrous, I absolutely loved how the relationship between Hattie and Lucian progressed - their story had these subtle Hades/Persephone undertones but while lots of times authors stumble on execution of that particular retelling, here Evie Dunmore definitely used it to the characters' advantage. Hattie and Lucian start off with such hostility - which is definitely what Lucian deserves because what he's done is cold, calculating and dastardly. At first glance, they are as ill-suited as it can get, and the lack of understanding between them is very clear. Basically, it's full aboard the Angst Train and I don't care what it says about me, I was HERE FOR IT. Especially because then we get this very slow progression into something more. While the means of how they are brought together were questionable (basically Tristan tattling on Hattie and Lucian stopping her escape and again, interfering with her choice), their time together in that small mining community allowed them an insight into each other. They start to LEARN each other and there's a budding understanding there. I will just end this point on this - the way Hattie and Lucian come to care for each other, act as a team as well as play to each other's strengths was written in a superb way. It's like Marriage 101, they are a breath away from passing the class, and we get loads of both emotional and character growth out of it. 💋 While I appreciate the sentiment, overall in this series I did not pay THAT much attention to the suffragist movement subplot (at least not the politics of it, but mostly in how it played into the romance parts), given that it's all still written from the very western one-dimensional perspective. But I did like - however sparse - author's attempts to broaden the story's perspective with crucial aspects of suffragist movement and feminism as a whole - and that is, how race or economic and social standing impact what one needs from this movement. Like I said, sparse at it was, at least there was a mention, although at the same time, I dare to say it's not nearly enough, especially given how women of colour were basically erased from history of suffrage. 💋 That being said, I do like the fact that Evie Dunmore tries to show a variety of attitudes towards the movement in her heroines. They are all distinct, separate characters with their distinct opinions and needs. We have Annabelle who is an active suffragist, but still craves the warmth of home, husband and children. Lucie who is absolutely dedicated to the cause. And then Hattie, who kind of joined just to...have a hobby, I guess? But then it grows into something more. What I certainly did NOT love: 👎 Tristan's somewhat OOC behaviour - I mean, I know he probably thought his buddy Lucian would never hurt Hattie, but tattling on her like that? For what? Why? It's like he hasn't learned anything in the last book and I do remember him learning. I just hope Lucie found out and ripped him a new one. 👎 Basically last 2-3 chapters of the story. ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** I did get why Hattie needed to get that separation papers. What I did not get was WHY ON EARTH the author thought it'd be good idea to execute this in the last 2 chapters of the story. Because before THAT happened, I thought everything was being tied up so nicely? We had a steady growth, then an outburst of conflict, emotional stakes were there, and then suddenly: BAM! Near-death experience! Gunshots! ILYs! Separation! Reunion! Marriage again! HEA! These carefully built emotional stakes? Evie Dunmore just knocked them over, made a new set up, and expected me to buy into it, but I was just like: Again - I will stress this - I do agree that this separation needed to happen, for Hattie to make sense of her own feelings, make her own way and to even out the power balance between her and Lucian. I DID get that. But why am I being TOLD instead of being shown how she spent those months without Lucian? How it impacted her? This was not executed well at all. Lucian and Hattie got the separation thingy, Lucian told her he loved her, then next page it's six or so months later, Lucian shows up in Paris and says to Hattie "You wanted to be wooed, I wanna woo you now" and it's wham bam thank you ma'am, you got yourself one happy ending. Except it made no freaking sense, because how are we supposed to be convinced that they overcame their problems now? It was being earned for most of the book and then author threw it in a trash and decided to go the easy way. Nah, I did not like that at all. Not to mention, the emotional conflict that was already being set up (Lucian's role in demise of Lord Rutlege or whatever the dude's name was, how he broke promise to Hattie, WHY he broke it, the evident PTSD/trauma he suffered from after his family's tragic death) was just rudely interrupted by that almost-getting-shot drama and I feel like the story never addressed it properly in the end. Or it happened off-page, because, you know, let's just TELL your readers what they are supposed to think and feel 🙃 This took a turn to overly ranty, to be honest, but it just comes from a place of frustration, as I was enjoying this book something fierce until ALMOST the very end. So to just sum up, this was still a good, emotional historical romance that kept me glued to its pages until the hours of dawn. It just wasn't on par with the previous installments, given the final overall execution. It's a shame, tbh. 3.5 stars but no rounding-up. ********************* Approximately 14 seconds after finishing a "A Rogue of One's Own": P.S. How gorgeous is this cover???! ********************* Just requested ARC of this beauty - me @ whoever processes ARC applications at Penguin, you, the wonderful human being, you:

  5. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    probably my least favourite book in the series so far, but that doesnt really mean much because this is still pretty entertaining. again, EDs writing is still a wonderful mix of being very reminiscent of the time period, but also feel refreshingly modern. and that definitely translates over to the characters. lucian is the kind of tragic love interest i enjoy reading about and hattie is the type of heroine that this series is known for. i didnt quite swoon over their romance like i did in the ot probably my least favourite book in the series so far, but that doesnt really mean much because this is still pretty entertaining. again, EDs writing is still a wonderful mix of being very reminiscent of the time period, but also feel refreshingly modern. and that definitely translates over to the characters. lucian is the kind of tragic love interest i enjoy reading about and hattie is the type of heroine that this series is known for. i didnt quite swoon over their romance like i did in the other books, buts its still pretty cute (im just pretending like the ending/epilogue doesnt exist). and scotland is also a wonderful setting, so that was enjoyable. but its the historical aspect of this that bored me. the focal point shifts from womens suffrage and rights to more politics and business. its obviously very well researched, but i honestly couldnt care less about stocks, mining, and workers unions. :/ so all in all, while i didnt love this as much as the previous books, its a good addition to the series and im looking forward to continuing with the next book! ↠ 3.5 stars

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matilda

    2 stars I have literally never read a book and had it go from me liking it to disliking it so quickly. This did start off a bit slow, but it really started to pick up and I was liking it till THE LAST 3 CHAPTERS. The author just kinda seemed like she was running out of time and quickly threw in some “tension” and had it resolved in a split second 🙄 The tropes were pretty fantastic to say the least: •dad’s rival •grumpy H •virgin h •one bed •marriage of convenience When I saw these I was like “huh this 2 stars I have literally never read a book and had it go from me liking it to disliking it so quickly. This did start off a bit slow, but it really started to pick up and I was liking it till THE LAST 3 CHAPTERS. The author just kinda seemed like she was running out of time and quickly threw in some “tension” and had it resolved in a split second 🙄 The tropes were pretty fantastic to say the least: •dad’s rival •grumpy H •virgin h •one bed •marriage of convenience When I saw these I was like “huh this might be good and I haven’t read a HR in a while” but I was disappointed on multiple levels. First off, I really liked Lucian Blackstone (H) and the meeting between him and Hattie Greenfield (h). Lucian was a teddy bear despite what the other characters believed. He had a really screwed up childhood which left him a bit emotionally scarred and physically, but he ended up being really sweet, even though he made some mistakes. Since Hattie's an artist, she decides to take a tour of the art gallery in Lucian’s home using a fake name, despite her dad and Lucian’s rivalry. It’s there that they meet and kiss— The slick touch of a … tongue against her lips, demanding entry …. Her head jerked back as her hand flew up, and the crack of her bare palm hitting his cheek was sharp like a gunshot. She screamed, belatedly, because she had just slapped a man forcefully enough to turn his head to the side. …“Madam isn’t here for that type of tour, I gather,” he said darkly. At first I was like "huh" then I realized he kissed her because HE THOUGHT SHE WAS A PROSTITUTE From there, Lucian is a bit infatuated by her, but especially since he knew who’s daughter she was. Lucian begins to go out of his way to get closer to her. He accepts a party invite from her family, which he always rejects, and even invites her back for a tour of his galley, which he shut down after their meeting, but started it again so she could visit 🥺 When Harriet visits his gallery, she kisses Lucian, which results in them getting caught by her mom and others. Since this is set in the Victorian Era, you know that a woman getting caught kissing a man that she wasn’t married to, was BAD. So, naturally, they have to get married 🤪 Harriet did NOT want to marry Lucian, but he was perfectly fine with it and even traded shares in a company with her dad for her hand in marriage Anyway, Lucian is a cutie pie. Before the wedding, Lucian starts reading this book about how to woo your wife in bed and reads Wuthering Heights after Harriet compared him to Heathcliff Also, Lucian is Scottish 🛐 did I mention I’m obsessed with Scottish men?? Especially when they wear kilts 🤌🏻💋 Idk what it is about kilts, but GAH DAMN they’re hot. Lucian is also part of the MacKenzie Clan, yes THAT Mackenzie Clan. James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser lives in my mind rent free, thank you very much. Because of Lucian being Scottish, we get some cute Scottish words and phrases like: •lass (the cutest word) •cunny (yes that means pussy) •ye ken (which is like my favorite Scots slang) •mo chridhe (translation: my heart 🥺) Now, we must move on to the dreadful “cons” section of this review. I could go on and on about Scottish men, but we don’t wanna be here till next year so… First, the sex scenes were boring. The sex scenes would literally be 1 paragraph long…like here’s one of the very few ones— Lucian spread her knees with an expression of restrained greed in his eyes that heated her core. Whatever it was, he badly wanted it, too. He made a noise in his throat when he entered her, an instinctive sound of almost pain, and she understood. Feeling him return to her was so good it hurt. He slept a little afterward. →Like hello? Where’s the spice? Where’s the detail? The only decent scene wasn’t actually a sex scene, it was just Harriet telling Lucian that she touches herself while imagining being pushed down by a Viking/Pirate and fucked. I was thinking "FINALLY, some action", buuuut then Lucian was like “oh another time though” and it never happened 😔 warning: spoilers below The last 3 chapters were so bad. There was sorta a plot to this, but I really don’t wanna go into detail about it, but Lucian knew someone was trying to steal something from him, but didn’t know who it was at the time. It ended up being his assistant, who held Harriet at gun point until Lucian was able to take him down and save her. Well the very next chapter, Harriet decides SHE’S FUCKING LEAVING LUCIAN TO TEACH IN FRANCE 🤡 She claims she’s doing this because she wants to 'grow' as a person or some shit and because she didn’t have a choice in marrying Lucian. Which is valid, she didn’t want to or have a choice in marrying him, but she loves him and he had just admitted he loved her, so what’s leaving going to solve?! I acknowledge that women were forced to marry men they didn’t want because of situations similar to this, but I’m judging this from a reader's perspective, not real life. So forget real life for a second 😂 “I wish to live without a single doubt that I did not fall in love with my captor because I had no other choice, but that I am freely, truly loving my husband. Marriage costs me my rights. If I were to give them up, I need a choice.” I’m sorry, but who gave her no choice in falling for Lucian? The marriage wasn’t her choice, but falling for him was and for her to just abandon him after everything that’s happened between them MADE ZERO SENSE. “I’m standing up against everyone who forced my hand: my father; my mother, my sister, a whole society that colludes and agrees that it is morally better for a woman to be chained to a stranger than to be forgiven for leaning in for a kiss.” Does she think society gives a shit?? The only person she’s hurting in this situation is the man that loves her and the man she CLAIMS to love. She proceeds to basically say that she’s “trapped” and it really made me hurt for Lucian because she was just shitting on what they had… Next, there’s a 9 month time jump ugh and Hattie is now teaching some shit about art somewhere (I honestly don’t remember). Lucian comes to see her and explains that he's here to woo her like she said in her speech. Literally that's how the book ends, aside from the short epilogue 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’m not even exaggerating because they separated 91% in and got back together 95% in…isn’t that just the worst pacing you’ve ever seen. I felt zero emotion during that 4% besides utter confusion and annoyance. I did really want to love this one (Sorry Precious 😔), or at least like it, but I’m trying to be really honest about what just didn’t work about this. I fully believe that a book can be ruined in the last chapter(s), I don’t care how good the book was before. But hey, many people did enjoy this, so give it a shot if you think it’s something you’ll enjoy ❤️ edit: I definitely didn't accidentally call Hattie ‘Harriet’ a few times 🤪

  7. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    3.5 STARS The third book in The League of Extraordinary Women Series and one that I was thrilled to get my hands on! This installment features Harriet, an artist and banking heiress. She is strong willed and feisty. She meets the handsome, brooding financier Lucian. They end up in a compromising situation and find themselves in an embarrasing predicament. Things steam up quickly in the second half and a bumpy road is ahead for these two as they discover how matters of the heart are complicated. Thi 3.5 STARS The third book in The League of Extraordinary Women Series and one that I was thrilled to get my hands on! This installment features Harriet, an artist and banking heiress. She is strong willed and feisty. She meets the handsome, brooding financier Lucian. They end up in a compromising situation and find themselves in an embarrasing predicament. Things steam up quickly in the second half and a bumpy road is ahead for these two as they discover how matters of the heart are complicated. This installment lacked the charm and fun romance of the first two that I've come to expect. It also took awhile to become invested in the characters, but I'm already anticipating the next in this loved series! Thanks to NG and the publisher for my early copy! OUT on Sept 7, 2021

  8. 5 out of 5

    EmBibliophile

    3.5 stars This was so cute and enjoyable. It had the potential to be a four star book, if only it wasn’t kinda ruined by the last chapters. I really don’t like when things are thrown at me out of nowhere or when characters make weird last minute decisions when I was just prepared to finish the story. This one was cute. I loved Lucian, I mean some of his actions kinda annoyed me, but I really loved him from the beginning and how he was with Hattie. He’s such a sweetheart. There’s something about Sc 3.5 stars This was so cute and enjoyable. It had the potential to be a four star book, if only it wasn’t kinda ruined by the last chapters. I really don’t like when things are thrown at me out of nowhere or when characters make weird last minute decisions when I was just prepared to finish the story. This one was cute. I loved Lucian, I mean some of his actions kinda annoyed me, but I really loved him from the beginning and how he was with Hattie. He’s such a sweetheart. There’s something about Scots, I guess I just can’t resist them. I liked those two together, but not as much as the previous couples I guess. I was truly annoyed by the end of the book tho, not just because it came out of nowhere or even because she took that decision, but also the fact that she abandoned those people? I don’t want to say much in order not to spoil it. But as I said, the ending was so random and came out of nowhere. I understand wanting to “grow” I just don’t understand why now? when everything is good? Those last 3 chapters could be used to make a whole book, they shouldn’t be used as a random ending like that. Her decision kinda didn’t make any sense to me. During those last chapters I felt nothing but confusion? So I don’t know what was the point? And even though I enjoyed the majority of it, it wasn’t as great as the previous books and I guess that’s why I’m hesitant about rounding up.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    The first book is still the best one of this series. This book tried to cover several real-life problems of the time period this book was set in (mining, women's working conditions, class issues with the suffrage movement, etc.) and those parts were actually the most interesting to me. Unfortunately, this is supposed to be a historical romance novel and I felt like the character development and the romance were the weakest parts of the book. Lucian had what should have been a very emotional back The first book is still the best one of this series. This book tried to cover several real-life problems of the time period this book was set in (mining, women's working conditions, class issues with the suffrage movement, etc.) and those parts were actually the most interesting to me. Unfortunately, this is supposed to be a historical romance novel and I felt like the character development and the romance were the weakest parts of the book. Lucian had what should have been a very emotional backstory but the way it was revealed by a third party made it not particularly moving. As for Hattie, she forces Lucian to make a promise that is oddly specific for no real clear reason and this was done only to support a future plot point. Likewise her actions at the end seemingly also comes out of nowhere. The romance between the two of them consisted mostly of physical attraction and Lucian just explaining things to Hattie or doing things for her without ever connecting on a deeper emotional level. Oh and then there is the fact that having read Wuthering Heights is necessary to understand a large part of Chapter 24 (I haven't read it, so this annoyed me). I'll still continue reading this series though because I do like that Dunmore puts in the effort to include historical social issues into historical romance - something I wish more books in this genre would do.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jam

    3 stars... I guess. "Much that I despise," he said hoarsely, "and all that I desire, meets in you. And it frustrates me beyond reason... I don't know what to make of you. I know I'd rather my skin burned than yours." rip in pieces to the review I was going to write before the last 2 chapters of this book happened. That bitch was gonna be a 5 star glowing review with very few, absolutely minor complaints. Instead I spent an hour after I read this book last night, just stewing in frustration lma 3 stars... I guess. "Much that I despise," he said hoarsely, "and all that I desire, meets in you. And it frustrates me beyond reason... I don't know what to make of you. I know I'd rather my skin burned than yours." rip in pieces to the review I was going to write before the last 2 chapters of this book happened. That bitch was gonna be a 5 star glowing review with very few, absolutely minor complaints. Instead I spent an hour after I read this book last night, just stewing in frustration lmao. I was legit pissed off that this book went from so good to so bad right at the end. Evie Dunmore handing me the last chapter and epilogue. And just how did we get here? How did we go from a 5 star read to me lowkey wishing I hadn't read this at all? I was lead here under duress. I was promised marriage of convenience, enemies-to-lovers and chemistry in spades only to have that undone in a stupid way. One of my issues with this series was that I wasn't really feeling the chemistry between the MC's until the moment they actually got together. Which is absolutely bizarre but whatever. And then I was pleasantly surprised to pick up this book and see the chemistry between Hattie and Lucian absolutely jump off the page. They were drawn together in such an interesting way that mixed, as they called it, animal attraction, and good intellectual banter and respect. From her perspective, Hattie felt like a silly beautiful bird trapped by the circumstances of Victorian England. Existing only to be lovely to look at, but discouraged from having substance. And along comes Lucian who respects her mind, and wants to hear her opinions, even if they differ from his own. And the way they got forced into their marriage, girl know that I audibly gasped lmao. Then we got to the angst portion of the book, and I was living. Hattie felt betrayed. Lucian felt frustrated and confused. The unresolved sexual tension had me speeding through this book at a breakneck pace. "She would not loathe the compliant woman she had been this morning, oh no; she would direct this precious anger outward, and her gaze forward. Les rousses viennent de l'enfer - the reheaded women are from hell. Lovely was dead. Enter the witch." There was a really nice transition into a proper slow-burn, where they slowly opened up and learned to trust each other, and found a way to build a relationship despite the circumstances that brought them together. I was having a great time. I even really enjoyed Hattie's journey from ignorant, sheltered girl to intersectional feminist. I especially liked that my daughters namesake, Sojourner Truth, got a shoutout. But then... the absolute stupidest thing happened. SPOILERS - buyer beware! "Dangerous, because the legends about the selkies never ended with the trapped female living out her days with the man who had stolen her. Inevitably, someone always found her skin, and she would slip it on and leave her husband and family to return to the sea without a backward glance." Admittedly, upon reflection, I should have seen it coming. All the analogies with Beauty and the Beast and the selkies, it really was being spelled out for me that this book wouldn't go the way I wanted it to in the end. And yet I'm a true dumb bitch because the final twist pulled the rug from under me. Here's how the last 2 chapters go: ❌ Lucian's PTSD kicks in and he enacts his long hinted at revenge ❌ Hattie gets holier than thou and condemns this for him working on very little information ❌ Huge fight that hints at a breakup ❌ Separation ❌ Revelation that Hattie is stupid lmao ❌ Hattie being held at fucking gunpoint ❌ Near death experience for... reasons... ❌ Get back together all is well ❌ Hattie decides she needs to basically get a divorce and leave her husband for REASONS ❌ We get a declaration of love ruined by them lowkey breaking up ❌ a SIX MONTH separation that happened off page ❌ quick reunion with a quick "I love you" ❌ they get back together mostly off page ❌ an epilogue some vague time in the future that gave us absolutely NO closure for the bullshit we just endured. Hattie leaves her husband the DAY AFTER they both almost die, because she needs to "find herself" outside of the influence of being her fathers daughter, and then her husbands wife. Without even slightly making an effort to repair their relationship might I add! I mean I guess I kinda maybe sorta understand why Hattie made this stupid fucking choice. If I squint my eyes, turn my head to the side, and look at it from the perspective of a fuckin moron lmao. But I refuse to accept this as a good twist. It did nothing for the plot. I couldn't tell you what it did for character growth because it happened OFF PAGE. It obliterated the growth of their relationship in my eyes. Their "I love you"s became inconsequential and anti-climactic. It tainted all the previously sweet and tender moments that had lead them to the point of falling in love. Made them feel less genuine, less impactful, because Hattie was able to just shrug off her husband after almost losing him for the second time in 24 hours because she needed to teach art?? in France?? to feel complete??? Dumb. Here's the thing, each of these heroines don't have to suffer for the cause in their relationships. That happened in the first book, which was fair enough. In Lucie's book she doesn't even get married, all to stay true to the Suffragette movement. Which is in line with her character and a great plot choice. What could have happened with this book was having a woman go from ignorant and inconsequential, to growing into a strong feminist and still have a happy marriage despite the way Victorian society was for married women. That would have been a cool move. It would have been interesting to explore the politics around that. I was really enjoying the how do you fix a broken system from the inside conversation throughout the book. But to tear the couple apart for a girl who wasn't really that committed to the cause until she got married? For why??? I just don't understand that choice because what impact did it really have? And I think the kicker for me was it really came out of nowhere for Hattie. We're privy to her thoughts and yet there's no real indication that she feels she can only grow as a person away from her husband. She goes from "wow I'm in love" to "wow he's a horrible person" to "wow I'm incapable of growth where I am because I don't have the strength of character to fight for myself where I am now!" It makes no sense. It's like learning to drive in pristine conditions. Are you always going to be driving in vacant parking lot, during the day, with no distractions? No. What would have given her true growth would be to have her carve out a personality, and a life for herself, in the world she actually lives in. Because what good is it to become a strong person, who can make choices for herself, when there's absolutely nothing hindering her from that autonomy? She could very well come back home and be the same spineless girl because she's never been tested in her own real world challenges UGH Now I'm just ranting and I need to stop. All that whining is to say, I'm thoroughly disappointed. I was expecting a 5 star read, and instead want to forget I ever read this book lmao. I'm still giving it 3 stars though for that first 95% because I think I'm going to pretend the end never happened and this Hades and Persephone retelling ended with and they lived happily ever after.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tiff at Mostly YA Lit

    Review tk.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paige ♠

    First 90% of this book: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Last 10% of this book: ⭐⭐ ✅ THE BEGINNING WAS SO entertaining. I loved their initial meeting and misunderstanding. And then I also loved how all the drama played out with them having to get married. It was so fun! ✅ LUCIAN WAS MY FAVORITE love interest in the series so far. I really enjoyed his backstory and why he acted the way he did - it just seemed believable to me. He had a tough guy exterior but was a huge softie for Hattie and I ate it all up 🥰🥰 ✅ THIS FOCUSED MO First 90% of this book: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Last 10% of this book: ⭐⭐ ✅ THE BEGINNING WAS SO entertaining. I loved their initial meeting and misunderstanding. And then I also loved how all the drama played out with them having to get married. It was so fun! ✅ LUCIAN WAS MY FAVORITE love interest in the series so far. I really enjoyed his backstory and why he acted the way he did - it just seemed believable to me. He had a tough guy exterior but was a huge softie for Hattie and I ate it all up 🥰🥰 ✅ THIS FOCUSED MORE ON the troubles of the working class and less on the suffrage movement and women's rights. I liked how it still focused on societal problems but in a different way from the first two books ❌ THE ENDING... I don't even know what to say, other that at about 80% I started getting a bad feeling and then by the end I was just really frustrated 😤 This did not feel like a HEA to me Overall, I still really love this series. I love how it presents strong women in a historical romance setting, and I feel like this one in particular is still relatable to current problems plaguing society today. I definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoyed the first two books, and hopefully you will enjoy the ending more than I did Steam Scale: 🔥🔥🔥/5 Swoon Scale: ❤️❤️❤️/5

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Reads Romance

    3.5 stars “I should like to photograph you,” she said. His mouth pulled into an ironic smile. “A study of a white knight, eh?” “No,” she said, absently. “A portrait of a Scotsman.” (Sorry, long ass review ahead!) One of my most highly anticipated books of 2021! Evie Dunmore’s previous two books—Bringing Down The Duke and A Rogue of One’s Own—made me a huge fan of her writing. There’s a great balance of romance and the suffragette movement that runs through this series in a captivating and educati 3.5 stars “I should like to photograph you,” she said. His mouth pulled into an ironic smile. “A study of a white knight, eh?” “No,” she said, absently. “A portrait of a Scotsman.” (Sorry, long ass review ahead!) One of my most highly anticipated books of 2021! Evie Dunmore’s previous two books—Bringing Down The Duke and A Rogue of One’s Own—made me a huge fan of her writing. There’s a great balance of romance and the suffragette movement that runs through this series in a captivating and educational way. This story starts out as the quintessential enemies-to-lovers and I was all for it. The broody, mysterious self-made Scot who tricks a wealthy, young, sheltered bluestocking into a marriage of his convenience. I liked that the author took a trope so familiar and made it unique by crafting complex characters with rich backstories, but grounded them in historical accuracy. I enjoyed Hattie and Lucian’s dynamic a lot, although admittedly it took a while for me to believe it. The sweet and tender way they overcome their rocky beginning, genuinely developing a mutual trust while stuck in a remote Scottish mining village, and then hopelessly falling for each other against all odds. The angst, carnal attraction, seduction and sexual coming of age; it is a well-crafted retelling of Hades and Persephone, and Beauty and The Beast. You know it. I know it. And we ALL fucking love it. Unfortunately, Portrait of a Scotsman did not make me feel the things I did, for their friends that came before. I appreciated Dunmore’s continual and extremely well-researched, accurate narrative of the time, but this one felt post-rationalized to me in parts. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely loved that Hattie and Lucian had in-depth debates and discussions on an array of political, economic and emotional topics. They built many bridges between them this way, but I just wanted them to get on with it and concentrate on building the romance. Maybe it is the way it was written, not what was said. The dialogue is formal—again, accurate for the time period—but for me, some passages required a few read-throughs to really understand nuances of what they were saying to each other. This is HR which I’ve read a lot of, so I knew what I signed up for. But if I’m being completely honest, it got a little exhausting reading about them discussing Marx and life philosophies in heavy prose. Sometimes, simple and beautiful communicates more raw emotion than quoting literature and lofty ideologies. (See: Mary Balogh.) Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD. Here’s where most of my criticism of this book lies, brace yourselves: Without spoiling too much, the last 10% was a bit of a crazy fucking rollercoaster ride, after what seemed like a beautiful languid crescendo to Lucian’s grand gesture and their much anticipated HEA. They’d already had their black moment and then *dun dun dun*, I felt I was watching a cheesy infomercial where the voiceover yells, ”But wait, folks! There’s more!” at the very last minute. At 90%—90%!!—I was NOT mentally prepared for another peak-fall-peak again. I completely understood Hattie’s reasons for separation, her need to make choices for HER life on HER terms. (Quick reminder: their marriage is really only convenient to HIM.) This last minute plot twist threw me for loop, and not in a good way. Honestly, it felt very Eat, Pray, Love to me; rich, entitled woman runs away, on a journey to find herself. In other words, it’s cringey and more importantly, incongruous and totally at odds to the pacing and emotional arc of the rest of the book. What happened to all the armchair philosophizing about abject poverty, women’s rights to equal wage, expectations to bring in an extra income while also running a household at end of the day? Hattie worried so much at Drummuir about being just another clueless, rich city girl, a hypocrite—Lucian assured her she was not—but it certainly felt like she became one by choosing to abandon him, and the miners’ photography project she was so passionate about… I was upset for Lucian, after he bared his soul to her, declaring his love—sincerely! What she wanted all along—making her the only person he lets in. I know I’m being a bad feminist for saying this, but JFC, that poor guy needed a bloody break. And then fast forward six months in France and all’s good again? Not sure about that writing choice to be honest. As a reader I would’ve preferred that, either: (a) some of middle be edited out to make way for accommodating and expanding on their separation, making that the black moment of the story instead, or (b) nix the separation altogether and let them have the HEA we were all expecting, or (c) write a few more chapters so the ending didn’t feel so abrupt and WTF. (Also, did we really need the subplot involving Matthews and all the drama stemming from that?) So the big question: did I enjoy this book? Wholeheartedly YES in many parts, and also somewhat, no for reasons listed above. I don’t think it is her best work, even though there was clearly a tremendous amount of effort and consideration put into it. It felt like over kneaded dough, stiff and robbed of its natural organic softness. Sigh, but what can you do, am I right? I’m just a humble reader and these are my honest-to-god thoughts. If you’ve made it this far in my extremely rambling and wordy review, thank you for coming to my TED talk. I will still read and am looking forward to the next book. There was a bit of a tease when Lucian seemed curious about Catriona’s father’s Scottish earldom and her roots, so I am excited to see what comes next and who she gets paired up with!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ilhaam

    I think this was my most anticipated romance release of 2021 and it definitely did not disappoint. It actually blew my expectations to smithereens- it was better than anything I could have expected. Evie really didn't have to go this hard. The sheer levels of unhinged shared between Hattie and Lucian was literally the best thing in the world. it was 10/10, monumental, an experience. I was ascending. Not only their dynamic, but the way Hattie grew into herself, her development and the way she put I think this was my most anticipated romance release of 2021 and it definitely did not disappoint. It actually blew my expectations to smithereens- it was better than anything I could have expected. Evie really didn't have to go this hard. The sheer levels of unhinged shared between Hattie and Lucian was literally the best thing in the world. it was 10/10, monumental, an experience. I was ascending. Not only their dynamic, but the way Hattie grew into herself, her development and the way she put herself first was absolutely perfect. I think out of all three of the books so far, Hattie is my favorite protagonist. There were so many aspects of her personality that reminded me of myself, I adored her. The social and political storyline enhanced my reading experience by 182737282. They were perfect because it only served to accentuate Lucian’s motivations and allowed, in a way, for a flexible moral compass, which was 10/10. This is definitely one of my favorite romances of all time, and I will not hesitate to make it my entire personality when it releases in sept. POAS is out on September 17th!! go preorder besties

  15. 5 out of 5

    Precious ✨

    9/8/21: 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ RTC, but really quick. This book was still good. The only reason it’s not a 5 star review from me is I feel it was a little slow in the beginning there were moments I checked my reading percentage and was shocked I was further along than I thought. This may partially be because I wanted more drama, but there was a good amount of development and everything that was brought up between the characters was addressed. Some tropes included were: Rich girl/ poor boy (he used to be poor) 9/8/21: 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ RTC, but really quick. This book was still good. The only reason it’s not a 5 star review from me is I feel it was a little slow in the beginning there were moments I checked my reading percentage and was shocked I was further along than I thought. This may partially be because I wanted more drama, but there was a good amount of development and everything that was brought up between the characters was addressed. Some tropes included were: Rich girl/ poor boy (he used to be poor) 👑💸 Forced marriage (avoid scandal) 🙊 ONE BED 🛏 Virgin h Grumpy teddy bear H ———————————————————————— 2/5/21 I AM SQUEALING. LOOK AT THE COVER. The excerpt of these two already has me BEYOND excited. Someone gift me an early copy PUH-LEAZE 🥺😩🥺😩 Aaaaaaand we’re going to Scotland?!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Caz

    I've given this a B at AAR Evie Dunmore’s series about a group of young women activists in late Victorian Britain continues with Hattie’s story, Portrait of a Scotsman.  Like the previous two novels in the set, this one is extremely well written and strongly characterised; the lack of agency of well-bred young ladies of the period is again critically examined, and the very genuine struggles they face in trying to reconcile rigidly traditional upbringings with their own emerging sense of self and I've given this a B at AAR Evie Dunmore’s series about a group of young women activists in late Victorian Britain continues with Hattie’s story, Portrait of a Scotsman.  Like the previous two novels in the set, this one is extremely well written and strongly characterised; the lack of agency of well-bred young ladies of the period is again critically examined, and the very genuine struggles they face in trying to reconcile rigidly traditional upbringings with their own emerging sense of self and a desire for something more are articulated with a great deal of insight.  If you enjoyed the author’s previous work, chances are you’ll enjoy this, too; all the things you’ll have come to expect of her books – strong heroines and heroes who actively support them and understand their worth, themes of female empowerment and sexy, well-written romances are to be found here.  BUT.  In spite of all that, I have mixed feelings about this novel as a whole – mostly because I wasn’t wild about the heroine and I really disliked the ending. Hattie Greenfield is studying art at Oxford University, but is frustrated at not being taken seriously – even by her professors, who are condescending to all the female students.  She longs to create more meaningful work and paint more challenging subjects – and hopes to gain some inspiration from the work of the Pre-Raphaelites.  To this end, she arranges to join a tour to view John Everett Millais’ famous painting of Ophelia, which is currently in the collection belonging to one Mr. Blackstone – a man with a reputation so black society has dubbed him “Beelzebub”, and who happens to be one of her father’s business rivals – but when she arrives at the gallery at the appointed time, she’s concerned to discover that either she’s late for the tour, or that nobody else has arrived.  While she’s waiting to view the painting, a man enters the room – a darkly attractive man with hard grey eyes and unruly black hair – who offers to give her the whole tour… and promptly kisses her instead. Lucian Blackstone (whom we met briefly in(A Rogue of One's Own) is a self-made man with a reputation for cold-blooded ruthlessness in his business dealings.  Born into a Scottish mining community, he’s survived real hardship and suffering, but has pulled himself up from nothing to become a captain of industry and amass a fortune along the way.  He never forgets where he came from though, and is determined to do whatever he can to improve the lots of the people who work for him.  But while he’s very wealthy, he has little real power or influence, and he needs both if he’s going to be able to bring about the changes he wants to effect; so in order to make himself more… acceptable to society, he has begun the attempt to rehabilitate his fearsome reputation.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t met with much success so far, but his brief meeting with Greenfield’s daughter has given him the germ of an idea as to what his next move should be.  And while there are a number of well-bred young ladies in society who would suit his purpose, he’s rather surprised to find there’s really only one of them he wants. It’s not a spoiler – it’s in the blurb – to say that it’s not long before Hattie and Blackstone are married, and even though Hattie is wildly attracted to her new husband, it’s far from the sort of marriage she had envisioned for herself.  She’d wanted to find a true life-partner, someone who would share his time – and himself – with her, someone she deeply loved and who would love her the same way, and I liked that about her, that she wants love and affection and family and doesn’t see that desire as somehow ‘lesser’ – while at the same time being determined to attain her independence and be herself. Up until this point, I was enjoying the story a lot; it’s perhaps a little slow to start, but that meant there was plenty of time for the author to establish the personalities and motivations of her characters and to round them out so they came to life on the page. But then, Hattie discovers something unpalatable and starts behaving like an immature brat rather than trying to address it, and I lost sympathy with her. Fortunately however, the author managed to regain some of that in the second half of the book, in which the newly-weds make their way to Scotland so that Blackstone can take care of various business concerns there. Maybe it’s not the most romantic honeymoon, but the time they spend together here slowly brings them to a closer understanding of one another, and the slow-burning attraction that’s been there since their first meeting and first kiss builds into an intense desire. Running alongside the romance is a fascinating storyline about Blackstone’s desire to improve the working conditions for the people working in his mine (which also goes some way towards explaining the unpalatable thing I mentioned earlier) and to invest in new infrastructure and technologies to increase profits rather than just working the miners to death. As Hattie learns more about her husband’s past and gets to know the real man behind the reputation, she finds much to admire and a worldview similar to her own in many ways. She finds herself abandoning the resentment she’d determined to harbour against him, while Blackstone is coming to realise that the woman he’s married is far more than the nervous chatterbox he’d first thought her, and that he enjoys talking and debating with her as much as he enjoys thinking about how to get her into bed. This section is easily the best part of the book; the relationship development, as they take the time to learn about each other’s aspirations and ambitions, to learn why they are the people they are now, is extremely well done. But then judgmental Hattie returns and jumps to a conclusion about something that may or may not be true – she has no way of knowing – and the author undid all the good work she’d done in getting me to like Hattie again. And then… the ending. Okay, so first of all, let me assure you that this book DOES have an HEA, so no worries on that score. And actually, what happens makes sense in terms of the way Hattie is characterised as someone who wants to make her own choices in life and, just as importantly, wants to be chosen. But even though I understood that, and could see the sense in it – I still thoroughly disliked it. Hattie and Blackstone have good chemistry and they work well as a couple, but while he’s a terrific hero – a bit dangerous and somewhat morally ambiguous, but with a heart very much in the right place and a strong desire to enact change for the better – Hattie is inconsistent. I liked a lot about her and felt a lot of sympathy for her to begin with; she’s talented and smart and determined to succeed on her own terms, but unfortunately, nobody in her family sees her or appreciates her for who she truly is, and her frustration at always being the odd one out comes across really strongly. But when she became judgmental and jumped to unwarranted conclusions – I liked her a lot less. Portrait of a Scotsman is undoubtedly entertaining and well-written, although if you’re expecting another story about women fighting for universal suffrage, you may be disappointed as this one is more about Hattie’s personal struggle to find herself and live life on her own terms. The author’s research is impeccable as always, her social commentary is insightful and razor sharp, and the central romance is a passionate and sexy slow-burn, but overall, it lacks some of the charm of the previous instalments, and my disappointment with the ending meant I came away from the book on a downer. It turned out to be one of those books I could appreciate but didn’t really feel – although I’m sure there will be many readers who disagree with me!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jaime Arkin

    Loved loved loved - once again found myself googling things as I read - that seems to happen a lot with Evie Dunmore books! Full review to come but get this preordered ASAP! This may very well be my favorite of the series - though it's very hard to make that determination without me rereading them all back to back (which I will be doing). I just absolutely love Evie Dunmore's storytelling. - I always find myself learning something new about this era when reading a book by her and I can never stop Loved loved loved - once again found myself googling things as I read - that seems to happen a lot with Evie Dunmore books! Full review to come but get this preordered ASAP! This may very well be my favorite of the series - though it's very hard to make that determination without me rereading them all back to back (which I will be doing). I just absolutely love Evie Dunmore's storytelling. - I always find myself learning something new about this era when reading a book by her and I can never stop myself from googling things to find out more (photography in this time period was my big search this go-round). At this point I will read anything Dunmore will share with us ... her investment in the story she is telling and the ways she shares it is just among the best around. The feminist vibes combined with smart, powerful women and charming men who understand a woman's worth set in one of my favorite eras in history is just the best thing around. Dunmore's characters just jump off the pages and I have been looking forward to meeting both Hattie and Lucien more in-depth since their names were first mentioned and I couldn't have been happier when I turned that final page unless I had found a whole other book by Dunmore attached to it. Thank you so much for an early copy for review!

  18. 5 out of 5

    ✩ Yaz ✩

    FIVE STUNNING STARS⭐️ “I shall now forever live with the knowledge that without you in it, the world would be a strange place, and I should never be at home in it again.” I can't even find the words to describe how much I adored Portrait of a Scotsman! It's probably my favorite book of the series thus far. This book is BRILLIANT. I doubt my review will do it justice but I will try. Although this book is not advertised as a retelling, but I can sense a tinge of inspiration by Beauty and the Beast. Thi FIVE STUNNING STARS⭐️ “I shall now forever live with the knowledge that without you in it, the world would be a strange place, and I should never be at home in it again.” I can't even find the words to describe how much I adored Portrait of a Scotsman! It's probably my favorite book of the series thus far. This book is BRILLIANT. I doubt my review will do it justice but I will try. Although this book is not advertised as a retelling, but I can sense a tinge of inspiration by Beauty and the Beast. This book has so many facets, it is by no means a light book due to the social issues it picks up on, nonetheless it gave me what I wanted it in a historical romance and more. I must applaud Evie Dunmore for walking away from London's dazzling ballrooms to create a rich and complex tapestry on feminism and workers' rights that is intricately woven into fiction. We are not told of these social issues, we are transported to settings where women's lack of rights and the workers poor conditions felt tangible. It also highlighted the power imbalance between a husband and a wife and we explore this through the main couple. By no means does Lucian excercise these rights on Hattie but it is still an advantage he has over her simply for being a woman and seen as a property by society. I won't get into details about their arranged marriage, but I liked how the book makes a note of how if a woman made a teeny tiny mistake of being seen in close proximity with a stranger, they'll thrust her into an arranged marriage for carnal indecencies because a fleeting kiss is such a terrible sin that must be repent through wedlock. But before we pick up on that, let's introduce the main couple: Lady Hattie Greenfield is the daughter of Julien Greenfield, patriarch of Britain's largest family-owned bank. Impressively enough for a woman of a high social standing, she is an Oxford scholar and a reputable blue-stocking. Hattie desired three things in life: 1. Acclaim as an artist 2. A noble cause. 3. Marriage to a young lord who puts the gentle in gentleman. Although it is not further explored, but also Hattie has difficulty reading written words which points to Dyslexia, so I appreciate the disability representation in this book. A fleeting kiss pulls Hattie to an altar where she must make her vows to Lucian Blackstone of all people. Lucian is one of the wealthiest businessmen in England with a reputable ruthlessness that casts fear in the hearts of London's peerage. He is what one would call a lowly born self-made man who is also a Scot to the teeth. Lucian's corrupting influence draws Hattie closer to unholy pleasures and to the scarred man underneath. “She had introduced a hitherto unknown complexity to his life: he found he was holding multiple contradictory thoughts—or worse, feelings—at the same time. Her mistrust, her sniping, the sullen, petulant curve of her mouth, bedeviled him very effectively, and yet he still wanted to lean across the narrow table and kiss that mouth.” I must remind you that romance is still the central element of this book and to my delight, it combines many popular tropes that I must list each: • Arranged marriage. • A tender but strong heroine and a dark tortured hero. • One bed. • Forced proximity. • Beauty and the Beast. • A hero that lacks experience in romance and wooing. • A heroine that does not falls head over heels for love at first. • A high-born heroine and a low-born hero. The sexual tension and passion between Hattie and Lucian was swoonworthy and sizzling! There was this delicious push-and-pull between them until both of them surrendered to the passion they ignited. I also liked that there were issues and complications in their relationship. They were polar opposites and had to work around their differences though it wasn't a smooth process. It was all perfectly executed, for the culmination of their feelings felt rewarding. The writing was superb and I was easily immersed into the book. I actually devoured this book and dreaded the ending because I did not want to let these characters go. I absolutely love it! Definitely one of my favorite reads of 2021!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    book bruin

    4.5 stars Oh my heart! Portrait of a Scotsman was quite the emotional ride. It was surprisingly angsty, while also being informative and swoony. Hattie and Lucian both showed great emotional growth throughout the novel and I really enjoyed their character arcs. It’s a slow burn between them after a compromising quick start, but seeing them stumble, make mistakes, and push each other's buttons actually made me like them more. It gave them time to come into their own and really fight for what they 4.5 stars Oh my heart! Portrait of a Scotsman was quite the emotional ride. It was surprisingly angsty, while also being informative and swoony. Hattie and Lucian both showed great emotional growth throughout the novel and I really enjoyed their character arcs. It’s a slow burn between them after a compromising quick start, but seeing them stumble, make mistakes, and push each other's buttons actually made me like them more. It gave them time to come into their own and really fight for what they wanted and each other. I was rooting for Hattie and Lucian from the start and couldn't be more satisfied with their story. I know some readers will take issue with how the ending unfolds (Don’t worry, it’s a HEA!), but I thought it was perfect for these characters. That reckoning between Hattie and Lucian was so powerful and I agreed and understood why they both needed that to move forward. As much as I enjoyed learning the history about what it was like to live during that time period, hazardous mining working conditions, discussions of poverty and class, early photography, marital rights, societal expectations, etc, I did feel that it also bogged down the story at times. The topics addressed were clearly well researched, but the discussions were sometimes so detailed that I lost sight of the point and/or had difficulty understanding the language. This is probably just a “it’s me, not you” issue, but it's something to note. Things to look forward to in Portrait of a Scotsman: - Grumpy + sunshine - Forced proximity - Marriage of convenience - Only 1 bed - Slow burn romance, but 100% worth the wait! - Beauty and the Beast-ish/Hades and Persephone-ish vibes CW: classism, discussion of death of family members (drowning & hazardous working conditions related) and poverty, strained family/parental relationships, mentions of suicide (secondary character off page), guns, violence, learning disability, body shaming, gambling addiction (secondary character) *I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book*

  20. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    Barbara’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars Series: A League of Extraordinary Women #3 Publication Date: 9/7/21 Period: Victorian London/Scotland Number of Pages: 448 Hattie Greenfield is many things: She attends Oxford where she is studying painting; She is a loving sister and dutiful daughter; She chafes under the close eye her father keeps on her; She is a dedicated suffragist. While the rest of her family are all astute at business and investments, Hattie hasn’t a clue about that. Her world is art. That is Barbara’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars Series: A League of Extraordinary Women #3 Publication Date: 9/7/21 Period: Victorian London/Scotland Number of Pages: 448 Hattie Greenfield is many things: She attends Oxford where she is studying painting; She is a loving sister and dutiful daughter; She chafes under the close eye her father keeps on her; She is a dedicated suffragist. While the rest of her family are all astute at business and investments, Hattie hasn’t a clue about that. Her world is art. That is why she ditched her bodyguard and managed to sneak away from Oxford to attend an art tour that was featuring a painting she dearly wanted to see in person. What a fateful decision that was! She meets the owner of the exhibit and he kisses her soundly because he mistakes her for someone else. OOPS! Lucian Blackstone’s reputation is definitely not a good one. Rumor says he’s ruined more than one peer and who knows what else he may have done. He is reclusive and few have ever even seen him. However, Lucian wants to change that reputation because he wants to be able to have more influence in order to make the changes he wants to see in the country. He needs relationships with men who have more influence than he does, so he can meet other men with more influence. Then, the perfect solution drops right into his lap – in the form of Miss Hattie Greenfield. Her showing up to see his painting gave him the perfect idea – he’d marry her – after all, kissing her was certainly not a chore. Hattie and Lucian square off from the beginning, and it was fun to watch them fall for each other despite their best efforts not to do so. Both hold tightly to past hurts and secrets and overcoming the lack of trust will be a major stumbling block. Their romance kept me engrossed until about the 93% mark and then I was done with Hattie. Frankly, I was wishing Lucian would leave her totally alone and find someone who would really love him and appreciate him for who he is. This was my first read by this author and I was really sorry to find it just isn’t my cup of tea. I was really looking forward to a more romantic read and what I got was a treatise on how great socialism/communism is as well as an introduction to some very rabid feminists. When I say rabid feminists, I am referring to the female leads in the first two books of the series – and I didn’t read those – and won’t from what I saw in this book. I love a book with a strong, intelligent female lead, but those two are total shrews. I’d say I liked 65-70% of this book, but the rest I just really, really didn’t like at all. While I won’t recommend this book – because I wouldn’t read it a second time – I will say that there will be lots of readers who will read it and love it. Perhaps you’ll be one of those. I was not. I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Harper St. George

    I’ve loved every book in this series, and this one is no exception. Evie’s meticulous research into the era shines with every word. She blends historical fiction with historical romance perfectly.

  22. 4 out of 5

    charlotte,

    Rep: lesbian side characters I mostly read Portrait of a Scotsman in an exercise in hypothesis testing. H0: There is no significant difference between the three male love interests of the Extraordinary Women series so far. H1: There is a significant difference between the three male love interests of the Extraordinary Women series so far. On the basis of this book—bearing in mind the fact I have three data points here, and one of the books I read about two years ago—I feel that Evie Dunmore has fail Rep: lesbian side characters I mostly read Portrait of a Scotsman in an exercise in hypothesis testing. H0: There is no significant difference between the three male love interests of the Extraordinary Women series so far. H1: There is a significant difference between the three male love interests of the Extraordinary Women series so far. On the basis of this book—bearing in mind the fact I have three data points here, and one of the books I read about two years ago—I feel that Evie Dunmore has failed to provide sufficient evidence to accept the alternative hypothesis, leaving me no choice but to side with the null hypothesis. Very scientific I’m sure you will agree. And on the basis of this very scientific evidence, I am forced to conclude that Evie Dunmore hasn’t really got past the archetype of the alpha male misogynistic prick love interest. Sure, there were slight differences: two of them were gentry, one not; each has probably one aspect of this alpha male trope heightened (ice cold, smug and flirty, rough and sexual). But at the end of the day, they all feel the same. It’s at this point I have to ask: straight women, what do you find attractive in men who denigrate you for your gender? Are you okay? Blink twice if you need help. Perhaps I could have stood this were it not for a certain sequence of events occurring about 45% of the way through (look away now if you don’t want spoilers). (view spoiler)[Let me first explain what happens: Hattie ends up caught in a compromising position with Lucian and, to save her reputation, he marries her. So far, so histrom. She goes to Lucie because she’s worried about how much control marriage means Lucian has over her (a fact that she had somewhat not considered until it happened to her). Lucie, concerned for her friend, gives her the means to escape, should she wish. In the same day, she then discovers that, actually, Lucian bargained with her father to marry her (giving him the shares that would make him outright majority shareholder in a railroad company, for half their price), and he also staged the whole act of being compromised (a fact he also sort of blamed on her when she confronted him, because she kissed him). At this point, Hattie decides she’s going to use what Lucie has given her and flee to France. But does she? No! Because enter Tristan, Lucie’s fiance (he of the dodgy racist tattoo from the previous book), and Lucian’s somewhat friend. Tristan decides that actually he knows best, and fills Lucian in on Hattie’s plan to flee. Lucian then shows up at the train station where Hattie’s about to get on the train to France, and effectively kidnaps her, dragging her to Scotland with him instead. (hide spoiler)] It was at this point that I had to put the book down and breathe through some rage. In a book where you know Lucian and Hattie are going to be endgame, you know they’ll fall in love and put all this behind them, I think it’s so very thoughtless (the kindest word I could come up with), at the very least, if not outright sinister, to do this. How does Tristan know that Hattie isn’t in genuine danger? Even if he does know as such (or thinks he does), what right does he have to go and tell her husband about it all? In a time when Hattie as a wife has essentially no rights herself, and when, in the previous entire book, it’s all been about Lucie refusing to marry Tristan because she wouldn’t have rights. Which seems an entirely pointless disregard of 400 pages of character development on Tristan’s part at the very least. Regardless of the fact that it was enough to make me fume. And it’s not like this is even really confronted. Certainly, Tristan’s role in it never is (I hope Lucie off-page ripped him an entire new arsehole). The thing is, you have Hattie’s POV, you should know how she feels, about the way she’s been trapped into this marriage, regardless of whether she’s growing to love Lucian. But it doesn’t get even hinted at until the final 50 pages. At which point, Lucian divorces her, waits six months, and then they get back together again, by her choice (which could, in itself, have worked. If it didn’t happen across the final two chapters of the book). So. If I hated this part of the book with such passion, why the two-star rating and not one? Well, mostly it’s because there’s no doubt in my mind that Evie Dunmore can write and she can write romance. My issues are not with that so much as how she decides to write it. What she considers romantic (which, if the words she put in the mouths of the characters regarding Wuthering Heights are any indicator, is a bit troubling. No really. Wuthering Heights isn’t in any way, shape or form, something I would call a romance). So when the book stopped reminding me of this all, I did somewhat enjoy it. Hence, two stars. In the end, then, having ascertained an answer to my hypothesis, I feel that this book will be the last of Evie Dunmore’s I choose to read. Yes, I did really enjoy Bringing Down the Duke (although I do think that, if I reread it, I would find just as many things a problem as I have the second and third books), but I cannot, in all honesty, say I at all had a good reading experience with either A Rogue of One’s Own or this one. The combination of the same archetype love interest, the nonchalant disregard of Hattie’s rights and any potential danger of her situation (which also seems laughable in a series that purports to focus on the women’s suffrage movement. Where, also, the entire last book had focused on their writing a paper on the abuse women suffer in marriage), meant that I’m stuck with a lot of rage over this book and not much else to show for it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Valkyrie ✨

    This was my favorite book in the series so far. So many of the key elements of this book are close to my heart, it felt like it was written for me. Which is silly, but seriously, hear me out: ⭐️ There was a lot of discussion about photography. I’m a professional photographer. ⭐️ There was a lot of discussion about socialism and how to better workmen’s lives. I’m a socialist. ⭐️ There was a lot of discussion about feminism and the living condition of women in all social status, which previous books This was my favorite book in the series so far. So many of the key elements of this book are close to my heart, it felt like it was written for me. Which is silly, but seriously, hear me out: ⭐️ There was a lot of discussion about photography. I’m a professional photographer. ⭐️ There was a lot of discussion about socialism and how to better workmen’s lives. I’m a socialist. ⭐️ There was a lot of discussion about feminism and the living condition of women in all social status, which previous books didn’t have. I’m a radical feminist. ⭐️ There was a very interesting literally discussion on Wuthering Heights and I love that stupid classic with all my silly heart. ⭐️ And this romance is based on the myth of Hades and Persephone and I love those two idiots and almost all their adaptations. So you see, I didn’t have a choice but to love this book. But on top of that, the romance, oh my god. It was so good, I wanted to die. “I shall now forever live with the knowledge that without you in it, the world would be a strange place, and I should never be at home in it again.” Lucian Blackstone is my personal wet dream. Just the idea of a brooding, jaded man, with a very tragic past, who’s not used to caring and who can be ruthless… and watching him unravel into love-infused madness… the way he softened and did anything for Hattie. Geez, he simped hard, and that’s always something I love in a man. Hattie was a big surprise for me. I thought I knew the character based on previous books but her mind was unknown in many aspects, and I loved how we saw her grow and mature and learn what she wanted from life. The way this was a romance book but it didn’t sugar-coat what had happened between them at the beginning of the story and how that kind of wrong cannot just be forgiven and forgotten was such a nice surprise. Usually, in a romance book, the main Hero does something awful at the beginning of the story but by the end, the main Heroine has forgiven him because she loves him. And I get, it happens plenty in real life. But I loved to read Hattie loving herself enough to leave a marriage she hadn’t originally wanted even though she now loved the man. And how she fought to have the kind of relationship and marriage she wanted. I’m hoping we get more books from this universe because the romance genre truly needs more of what these books are giving.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Blackjack

    I'm disappointed to have to rate this third edition to Dunmore's A League of Extraordinary Women series with a lackluster grade mainly because it does improve vastly from the previous book on issues like representation and historical details. While the main players are still upper class white women leading the suffragette movement largely for middle and upper class married women's property rights, the book is also filled with the concerns of working class women in the rough and non-unionized tra I'm disappointed to have to rate this third edition to Dunmore's A League of Extraordinary Women series with a lackluster grade mainly because it does improve vastly from the previous book on issues like representation and historical details. While the main players are still upper class white women leading the suffragette movement largely for middle and upper class married women's property rights, the book is also filled with the concerns of working class women in the rough and non-unionized trade of coal mining. I enjoyed the tension between working-class women and their upper-class counterparts around issues like voting and property rights given the disparity of life expectations. Hattie learns a great deal about women's priorities when survival is uncertain. The mining community scenes were my favorite parts of the story, and I think Dunmore did a nice job of bringing these women's lives to light. Lucian Blackstone is also a well-developed hero for the book as someone who uncomfortably straddles his working-class roots as a former child miner with his emergent gentry status as an adult. By all accounts, the book had the frame for a solid and compelling story. Unfortunately, the romance never pulled me in, and I think if I had to put my finger on one key reason why, it's because the story felt like an outline of what Dunmore is attempting in terms of ideas she wants to examine. While the ideas are in place though, the emotional core felt absent. Hattie in previous books was sweet and naive and supportive of her more confident friends, though never really that interesting to me. In her own book, she really doesn't become much more than she initially appeared in the first two books. She's trusting and under the thumb of domineering parents, and so she is easily coerced into marriage to Lucian. Lucian too preys upon Hattie's naivety and manipulates her easily into a marriage of convenience for her family's status. Once Hattie realizes how easily she was duped, her anger subsumes her and she never quite relents or allows her growing feelings for Lucian to save their marriage. Lucian realizes how ugly the deception is for Hattie, but he drifts along, hoping that she will eventually relent. There are brief moments when it seems as if there are growing feelings to smooth over the distrust, but these moments never felt more than ideas on paper. Hattie is supposed to learn to feel the anger that the suffragettes embrace, and so I guess she does, and then Hattie is supposed to embrace her anger and demand reparations and change from Lucian, which I suppose one could say he tries to give her. If all of this feels abstract, it's because the novel always felt like an inchoate draft of ideas that never came to life on the page. I'll wrap up by saying that I'm a heroine-centric reader and here, the heroine was not particularly interesting to me. Hattie came across as petulant and immature too often. At times her cringy dislike for Lucian's roughness bordered on class antagonism. There is some plotting, such as Hattie's quick love for the art of photography, that felt more like an attempt to make her more interesting, but to me it seemed too obvious a ploy and not one I fully bought into. I'll almost certainly read the fourth and presumably final book in the series, but I'll approach it with a bit less enthusiasm than I have anticipated the first three.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    2.5 stars. Would have given this 4 stars but that ending… Yeah, I see a book where it might have worked for me but I was just annoyed. I want to love Evie Dunmore’s books, but I feel like she’s trying too hard to make a political statement in her books and the story suffers for it. And don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind politics in my book. I love it. But I get the sense she’s very much forcing modern ideals into a historical context and some decisions flat-out do not make sense. The social commen 2.5 stars. Would have given this 4 stars but that ending… Yeah, I see a book where it might have worked for me but I was just annoyed. I want to love Evie Dunmore’s books, but I feel like she’s trying too hard to make a political statement in her books and the story suffers for it. And don’t get me wrong; I don’t mind politics in my book. I love it. But I get the sense she’s very much forcing modern ideals into a historical context and some decisions flat-out do not make sense. The social commentary has to make sense for the characters, the story, the plot, and it really did not gel coherently for me. Especially the last chapter. I was SO blindsided when things were finally resolved and then that happened???? No, thanks. So sad as I really enjoyed the very beginning and parts of the middle. The more I think about it the more frustrated I get, honestly. My rating keeps going down. It's like all the stuff that happened in the middle third of the book mattered NOTHING in terms of the final climax... and don't even get me started on Hattie. Ughhhhhhhhh. Feminism is NOT an excuse to be cruel to the person you supposedly love. This is easily my most disappointing read of the year.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jenn (The Book Refuge)

    So.... I'm calling it. I made it to 75%... and I am bored and after the 5th.. FIFTH fade to black sexy times... I'm over it. So no rating. And DNF So.... I'm calling it. I made it to 75%... and I am bored and after the 5th.. FIFTH fade to black sexy times... I'm over it. So no rating. And DNF

  27. 5 out of 5

    h o l l i s

    For a historical romance, this was oddly light on romance. Plenty of sexytimes, when we eventually got to that point, but Dunmore spends a lot of the word count on many of the societal issues of the time (some of which are relevant today) -- yes, a women's right to vote has been the guiding star of this whole series but this instalments shifts to the conditions of the working class, specifically miners, unions, and the wage disparity between the genders of said working class. You can't tell me D For a historical romance, this was oddly light on romance. Plenty of sexytimes, when we eventually got to that point, but Dunmore spends a lot of the word count on many of the societal issues of the time (some of which are relevant today) -- yes, a women's right to vote has been the guiding star of this whole series but this instalments shifts to the conditions of the working class, specifically miners, unions, and the wage disparity between the genders of said working class. You can't tell me Dunmore doesn't know her shit or, at the very least, puts in a hell of a lot of hours on research. Much of it was interesting, though perhaps not always compelling, but I appreciated the debates between the two main characters who took to these subjects through the lens of their very different upbringings, perspectives, and privileges. Where this story was less interesting, was the romance. However, this more or less followed the format of Beauty and the Beast or Hades and Persephone so if that dynamic is your catnip, you'll definitely be hooked -- at least by the beginning. I'm pleased to say I am going into the possibility of a book four (Catriona?) with higher hopes, more in line with what I expected after book one, and look forward to where Dunmore goes next. Full review to come.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Francine

    This has to be Hattie’s and Blackstone’s book 🤔

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brogan Lane📖

    "I should like to photograph you," she said. His mouth pulled into an ironic smile. "A study of a white knight, aye?" "No," she said, absently. "A portrait of a Scotsman." Evie Dunmore's A League of Extraordinary Women series is perhaps one of the best historical romances I've read - they not only have steamy, swoon-worthy romances but are written in a way that acknowledges real historical events, mentions real people and real problems that people faced. Whenever I read one of Dunmore's books, I fe "I should like to photograph you," she said. His mouth pulled into an ironic smile. "A study of a white knight, aye?" "No," she said, absently. "A portrait of a Scotsman." Evie Dunmore's A League of Extraordinary Women series is perhaps one of the best historical romances I've read - they not only have steamy, swoon-worthy romances but are written in a way that acknowledges real historical events, mentions real people and real problems that people faced. Whenever I read one of Dunmore's books, I feel like I've gained knowledge about something and it urges me to do loads of research. While Bringing Down The Duke and A Rogue of One's Own focused primarily on women's suffrage and the developing movement happening amongst upper and middle-class women, Portrait of a Scotsman concentrated on the hardships and the often dark and tough lives of the working classes and mining communities. But first and foremost, it centred around banking heiress Hattie Greenfield and mysterious financier Lucian Blackstone. While this book featured a trope I hate with a passion (the oh-we've-been-caught-in-a-compromising-situation-so-we-have-to-get-married-immediately trope), Evie Dunmore was able to successfully develop the relationship and the characters that I shipped them so much. However, unlike a lot of historical romances that have this trope, Hattie certainly didn't forget how her marriage began. It caused her a lot of anger and frustration throughout the book, even when she knew she loved her husband. She craved to be free from a life where it wasn't constantly being decided for her by men and wanted a little time to assess her feelings. From a dark mystery of a man, Lucian Blackstone was a perfect mixture of Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, Ross Poldark from Poldark and Jamie Fraser from Outlander. He's a man that has made his fortune through hard work and intelligence - rags to riches sort of hero, and his goal is to improve the lives and harsh conditions of the mining community he was once a part of. He originally saw Hattie as a way to elevate business with her father, but it wasn't long until he was head over heels. I'd say this could be considered a hate-to-love romance - which I love. I really enjoyed Portrait of a Scotsman and I'm confident in saying this installment is my second favourite with A Rogue of One's Own first. I'm very excited for Catriona's story next year - I wonder who her love interest will be and what journey she will go on in her book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Angela Reads Romance

    This is one of my top favorite reads of the entire year. YEAH, I SAID IT! When I pick up an Evie Dunmore book I know right away I’m going to be immersed in feminist history, beautiful Victorian scenery, and great romance. This book did not disappoint. It’s my favorite of the entire series. Yeah, I said it again! When I read Bringing Down the Duke I stayed up till 3am, blurry eyed and twitching, knowing full well the book hangover I was going to have to endure the next morning was going to be atro This is one of my top favorite reads of the entire year. YEAH, I SAID IT! When I pick up an Evie Dunmore book I know right away I’m going to be immersed in feminist history, beautiful Victorian scenery, and great romance. This book did not disappoint. It’s my favorite of the entire series. Yeah, I said it again! When I read Bringing Down the Duke I stayed up till 3am, blurry eyed and twitching, knowing full well the book hangover I was going to have to endure the next morning was going to be atrocious and battling on anyway with 100% no regrets. When reading Portrait of a Scotsman, I hired a sitter and finished the book well within normal business hours, and it was worth every penny. This book has so many things I love with so much unexpected angst right in the middle that had me maniacally laughing for more. I love a good falling out and this romance had some wonderful falling out and force proximity goodness in Scotland. The ending was unexpected for me but it just made sense for the characters and I loved it all the more for it. Thank you, Evie Dunmore and Berkley for the ARC! Review is my own.

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