The Irresistible MacRae starts when a certain rake by the name of Harold McDougal lures Riona McKinsey into a garden at night and tears her bodice. Poor Riona! That simple act has doomed her to marriage with Harold, but she has no intention of marrying him. He lied to her to get her into the garden, and he is only after her for her dowry. But the problem is her little sister, Maureen. Maureen is madly, hopelessly in love with a certain Samuel. The problem is, Samuel will never marry Maureen if there is a hint of scandal attached to her family. So poor Riona has to marry a crook in order to save her sister!
The chaperone, Mrs. Parker, hired to watch over the girls during their “season” in Edinburgh, has declared Riona ruined, so now they are heading back to Riona’s house to organize her upcoming wedding to Harold. Only Maureen is happy since she’ll be able to marry her beloved Samuel.
Riona’s mother is a widow who is running a large farm, and she has no time for trouble. She also knows she has to do something about Riona, so she writes to an old friend to come help. The reasons are obscure; I could never figure out why she writes, and when the old friend sends a dashing young man, I couldn’t understand why Riona’s mother begs him to stay. So, there is soon a very handsome, dashing young man on the farm. He’s James McRae, and he soon falls under Riona’s charm, although it was made very clear that she’s engaged to be married. He never even looks at her sister, even if she is single and unclaimed. Their relationship deepens to the point where they fall in love and make love together.
Now, you’d have thought that by now Riona would be so compromised she could simply marry Mr. McRae. But no, she’s still determined to marry Harold to save her sister. Well, this book was a disaster. The plot is so thin nothing makes sense. The mother begs this person to come help, lies to get him to stay, and never gives a reason. When Riona and James are found together, half naked and in the middle of a kiss, there is never any scandal. There is never a hint that Maureen’s beloved has any feelings for her in return – he never asks her to marry him, so I couldn’t see why Riona was willing to sacrifice her entire life in order to pave the way for her sister’s imaginary happiness. The characters seemed as mutable as water – saying one thing, doing another. And the plot, as I said before, was so flimsy as to be ridiculous.