Lily Stewart couldn’t be more busy if she tried. Aside from her normal job of running her own gallery in the Smoky Mountain town of Highland Falls, Lily is in charge of pulling off the Highland Games which celebrate the Scottish ancestry of many settlers in these mountains, most notably the Stewarts of Stewart’s Folly. Now her boisterous father John Angus has proposed to a much younger woman who wants Lily to help her plan a proper Scottish wedding to be held during the games. As if all of this weren’t enough, Lily’s world is turned upside down by a gorgeous, enigmatic hunk of a Scotsman who’s come to Highland Falls to film a documentary about the Highland Games.
At least that’s the reason Ian MacDougall McKenzie gave to gain entry to Stewart’s Folly. But he’s really there on a personal mission. He’s been sent to Highland Falls by his grandfather, Duncan MacDougall, to recover the Brooch of Lorn which Duncan believes was stolen by Lily when she toured the MacDougall castle in Scotland. The Brooch of Lorn was ripped off of Robert the Bruce’s tartan during a battle in 1306 by a MacDougall. Since that time the brooch has gone back and forth between the MacDougalls and the Stewarts, always by theft. But after getting dangerously close to Lily, Ian cannot believe the perky but sexy woman who everybody leans on could ever be a thief.
Things are never dull around Stewart’s Folly; there are too many interesting people around, such as Lily’s flamboyant aunt Zelda, and her niece, Missy, who desperately wants to learn piping because there’s a certain young lad who loves to pipe. There’s an endearing backstory with Duncan and Lily’s grandmother at the center.
If you enjoyed the Callahan Brothers trilogy, you’re in luck. Out of the Mist is Book One of JoAnn Ross’ Stewart Sisters trilogy and this one definitely sets the bar high. Ms. Ross periodically interjects the historical travels of the Brooch of Lorn from Robert the Bruce to present-day, giving us both a contemporary and historical novel rolled into one. Her characterizations are stellar and the setting of the beautiful Smoky Mountains comes alive with her evocative words. And we still have the stories of Lily’s sisters, Laurel and Lark, to look forward to down the road.