By Karen Ranney
Avon Books, $7.99, 375 pages
Forced to write under male pseudonyms and conduct her newspaper business in the name of her brother, Mairi Sinclair had been reluctantly accepting of her gender’s institutional inferiority, but when she is exclude her from an anticipated lecture, Mairi becomes involved in the politics of 1870s Edinburgh. Volunteering her publishing resources and experience, Mairi becomes a symbol of suffrage, and a target of the traditionalists who oppose it.
Believing Lord Provost Logan Harrison to be similarly prejudiced, Mairi publishes a broadsheet that infuriates the public and brings her to the attention of the Lord Provost himself. Intrigued more than angered, Logan confronts his self-proclaimed opponent and sets about convincing her that his politics are fair, and his heart is hers for the taking if Mairi can learn to love a man as much as her printing press.
Karen Ranney’s The Witch of Clan Sinclair is an unexpectedly witch-free historical romance set in 1870s Edinburgh, with an uncommon heroine in Mairi Sinclair. Her feminism is atypical, both for her time and for the historical romance genre. Logan supports – rather than compromises – her feminism, encouraging Mairi to accept the possibility of a successful professional life in addition to a rich family life of home, husband, and children. Mairi is not exactly lovable – in fact, she is prideful and judgmental – but she is certainly memorable, and readers will appreciate the modernity of her point of view.
Reviewed by McKenzie Workman