Thursday, February 25, 2021

Review - - Lady Constantine and the Sins of Lord Kilgore

Lady Constantine and the Sins of Lord Kilgore
by Julie Johnstone
Scottish Scoundrels: Ensnared Hearts - Book 3
Publisher: Darbyshire Publishing LLC
Release Date: February 25, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

Callum, the Marquess of Kilgore, long ago accepted that he was no saint. So when he’s offered a shameful bet—to seduce the lady some have dubbed the “Ice Queen” and recover the land he foolishly gambled away—he agrees. Yet, as he comes to know Lady Constantine, he realizes this kind and pure woman deserves far better than a reprobate like himself. Now, he would do anything to protect her from the scandal he helped create, even ruthlessly pushing her away. It seems he hasn’t fallen quite as far into sin as he thought…

But a brush with death and an unexpected offer of a marriage of convenience from Constantine provides an opportunity he never anticipated: recoup his squandered fortune and win back the woman he loves. But before Callum can launch his new plan, a heinous plot rips him away, snatching his freedom and destroying any trace of the man who wanted to open his heart.

Constantine hasn’t a clue what to do when the man she loved, hated, and mourned returns from the dead. Though she is still legally his wife, she certainly doesn’t know him anymore—if she ever did. The seemingly unrepentant rogue appears focused solely on revenge, no matter the destruction it may cause—a far cry from the complex man of honor she once believed him to be. Yet, despite the pain of the past and the demons of the present, Callum still holds the power to inexorably fill her with a yearning and a hope she can hardly control. Suddenly, Constantine wants to risk her heart again for the one thing she has always longed for from the only man she ever cared for—exquisite, unconquerable love.

PJ's Thoughts:

Julie Johnstone is an auto-buy author for me. Her books are always filled with period authenticity, heart-stopping action, deep emotion, and beautifully crafted, multi-layered characters. This book is no exception. Constantine and Cal are fully-formed, complex characters with a twisted journey to love that would challenge the strongest of individuals. The depth of anguish, anger, guilt, and betrayal that these two endure plays out across scenes that are heartrending and sometimes difficult to read, especially in the first chapters. True to form, Johnstone challenges them, and their feelings for one another, as they slowly evolve and their relationship deepens, but not without a fair number of obstacles. Their triumphant conclusion is hard won indeed but all the more sweet for the path they are forced to travel to get there. 

I have been eagerly awaiting this couple's story and it's exceptionally good so you're probably wondering why I gave it four stars instead of five. It's because of a plot device used that hindered my overall enjoyment of the book. The story begins one year in the past then in Chapter Two jumps forward to the characters' present day. I was immediately plunged into the story and its sense of urgency from the first pages and by the end of Chapter Two was fully invested in Cal and Constantine, their predicament, and the secondary characters who accompanied Cal home. But then, in Chapter Three, the story flashed to six years in the past, where it stayed until Chapter Five which brought us back to the present. That back and forth continued for almost 60% of the book. It's an effective way to tell the couple's complete story from first introduction but it didn't work for me. Each time I became immersed in the present-day story again I'd be pulled back to the past and every time that happened my connection to the characters would lessen. By the time the story finally stayed in the present, I had disconnected from them to the point where I was reading about them rather than experiencing their journey with them. It still created a very good reading experience but not the all-immersive one that would have earned my 5-star rating. 


Have you read Julie Johnstone?

Do you enjoy flashbacks in your books?

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, February 26 will receive an e-book copy of Lady Constantine and the Sins of Lord Kilgore.

*Must be 18



  1. I have only read on of her books and what stood out most to me at the time was the historical details that set the story firmly in the time period. Little details that may seem to minor to include mean a lot to me. That goes for societal as well physical descriptions of place and people. I really did enjoy the book and was impressed by the many and complicated plot twists. Thank you for the review and giveaway.
    I do not mind flashbacks in stories. They can be very useful in explaining events or actions. However, the bouncing around you described would be rather off putting. It seems to me it would make the story rather disjointed. It does, however, sound like a good plot line. Except for the time shifts, it reflects her style and suspenseful, emotional stories.

    1. I have only read on of her books and what stood out most to me at the time was the historical details that set the story firmly in the time period.

      It's one of the areas in which she excels, Patricia. I can always count on her to place me firmly in whatever time period or location in which her story is set.

  2. I like flashbacks in books. Great review thank you. This sounds very good.

  3. I have not read any books by Ms Johnstone. But, I know she is a talented author, and have at least one of her books on my kindle. Thanks for the review. I don't mind different time periods, but I do not want to skip back and forth. That makes me lose my connection to the plot.

    I hope everyone is staying well.

  4. I've read a few Julie Johnstone books.


  5. This sounds good, I just wish that it was available in print.

  6. I've read Julie before and I struggle with back and forth. I can handle a flashback to set the setting, but not more than once.

  7. I have read and enjoyed Julie's books. As far as flashbacks go it really depends. I've read books where they work well and others where the flashbacks did not work at all.

  8. I have read several of her previous books. I am interested that this is a second chance story. I like flashbacks when they work well and don't lose me in the back and forth in time.

  9. Hmmm. This sounds like one I'd like. I do tend to like flashbacks, and I think I include them in my own writing far too often. I haven't read Julie Johnstone before, so it sounds like I need to try her!

    1. If you like them, Meg, I'd definitely encourage you to give this one a try. Johnstone is one of my favorite historical romance authors. I especially enjoy her Medieval romances.