The Earl of Mar and Lady Evelyn Pierrepont are at odds in the sixth book of Amy Jarecki's Lords of the Highlands series. Evelyn has been a spy for the Jacobites in England, using her father's underhanded dealings to fund the cause. "Bobbin' John" Erskine, a widowed Scottish diplomat, is privy to secret information that could help the Jacobites. He's also looking for a new bride to care for his two sons and with a dowry that will clear his debts. Evelyn's father accepts Mar's proposal, and though Evelyn has no desire to wed someone against her political beliefs, she recognizes the benefit of insinuating herself into his confidences.
The Highland Earl starts as a spy drama and quickly turns steamy. Evelyn may not agree with what Mar stands for, but she can't help her physical attraction to the Scottish earl. Mar is similarly attracted to Evelyn, though the memory of his wife impedes an emotional connection. While they enjoy the perks of marriage, the two grow as friends and Evelyn becomes closer to Mar's children. But when her spy work brings enemies to the Erskine clan, their budding relationship is tested. Evelyn gets a fair amount of victim blaming for her contributions to the Jacobite cause, though many others are also involved in the plot. Evelyn and Mar's relationship is somewhat modern--they bond sexually before becoming partners and falling in love. It's a refreshing take on a historical romance, and Jarecki crafts immersive, sweeping scenes in bustling London and the lowlands of Scotland. --Amy Dittmeier, adult services librarian, Brookfield Public Library, Ill.