Ms. Ranney is a new-to-me author and so this book falls under my New Author Reading Challenge.
Sold to a Laird is the story of Lady Sarah Baines, daughter of the Duke of Herridge. The Duke is a cold, hard man who apparently has no love or use for his daughter. When the story opens, the duke is meeting with Douglas Eston in his office when Sarah barges in and demands that he not send her mother off to Scotland. She is very ill and the trip could kill her. The Duke takes one look at Sarah and offers her to Mr. Eston instead of cash to buy himself partnership in Mr. Eston's venture. For reasons unknown even to himself, Mr. Eston accepts the offer and they are married two days later.
This book seemed to me to be divided into three parts; the first part centered on Sarah and Douglas marrying and moving into Sarah's country home, Chavensworth, and caring for her ailing mother and the aftereffects of her illness. During this time Douglas shows himself to be a true gentleman and supports Sarah when she needs him even though she hasn't given him much reason to be kind to her. I really liked him.
The middle of the book surrounds Sarah and Douglas' trip to Scotland to visit Sarah's maternal grandfather. Sarah's mother left her family to marry the Duke and never had any communication with them after that. Some family secrets were hinted at and Sarah and Douglas grew into their marriage a bit more comfortably at this point.
The last third of the book takes place after their return to Chavensworth. The Duke was impatient for Douglas to show results in their joint venture; then there was an accident and Douglas had to start over from scratch so the Duke threatened to dissolve Sarah and Douglas' marriage and kidnapped him to force him to fulfill their deal.
I enjoyed this story, and I liked Douglas very much. I didn't like Sarah as much, she kind of got on my nerves at times- she was very prim and proper (which I guess I realize was normal for the time) and she spent a lot of time ignoring Douglas and then worrying that he didn't want to be married to her anymore. I liked the side characters but wish Ms. Ranney would have fleshed them out a bit more; there was some interesting romance happening on the sidelines.
I give this book 3 1/2 stars, it was an enjoyable read.
Disclaimer: I won this book at Yankee Romance Reviewers.