I think Karen Ranney's [b:Till Next We Meet|118593|Till Next We Meet |Karen Ranney|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348675346s/118593.jpg|114168] is one of the sweetest angsty HRs I've ever read, so I was quite pleased to get an advance review copy of The Lass Wore Black. It is totally angsty, but not so sweet. Nevertheless, I liked it, eventually, and would recommend it.
Young, stunningly beautiful Catriona Cameron is swanning her way through the Season when disaster strikes. She is horribly injured in a carriage accident, and her maid is killed. We get to know her several months later, after she has moved to Edinburgh with her aunt. She is still recuperating, but it has become clear that her face will forever be terribly scarred. Catriona naturally is having trouble accepting this prognosis. From her perspective, her life is over. She has become an embittered hermit, rarely leaving the house and never appearing before the servants without a heavy veil.
Into her life bursts a cheeky, handsome footman, hired by her aunt to ensure that she eats regularly and doesn't starve herself to death. It's pretty clear that he is no ordinary footman, but unbeknownst to Catriona, he actually is a medical doctor, Mark Thorburn, who believes he may be able to help her a bit. Mark is the wealthy grandson of an earl, but he has dedicated his life to medicine and spends much of his time attending to the poor. His parents would prefer that he lead the lifestyle more typical of a member of the ton, so he avoids them.
Gradually, very gradually, Mark begins to break through the walls Catriona has erected. As a reader, I became impatient with this part of the story, but really it would not have been very believable if things had moved much faster. Along the way, Mark begins to suspect that Catriona's accident was no accident and that her life may still be in danger. This adds a bit of adventure to the romance.
Above all else, this is the story of Catriona's redemption, helped along -- sometimes to her annoyance -- by Mark. Ms. Ranney has created a wonderfully complex hero and heroine, along with some entertaining secondary characters, and one truly creepy villain. The happy ending does not come easily or quickly, but it's worth the wait. Patience is required.