Book Review

Book Review: Love Practically (The Penn-Leithss of Thistle Muir #1) by Nichole Van

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 413 pages
Author: Nichole Van
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: March 23rd, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


As a young woman, Leah Penn-Leith fell hopelessly in love with Captain Fox Carnegie—the only irrational mark on her decidedly sensible life. Fox, unfortunately, did not return her regard.

Their story should have ended there. After all, Fox left for India. And Leah returned home to Scotland to rear her much younger brothers.

But twenty years later, Fox appears on Leah’s doorstep—older, scarred, and world-weary—proposing a marriage of convenience between them. He needs a mother for his young ward, and Leah, with her capable good sense, comes highly recommended. What woman could say No to such a proposal? Not Leah. Fox has always wreaked havoc on her ability to think rationally.

But after their marriage, Leah confronts the chaotic reality of Fox’s life. His castle, ten miles up a rugged Highland glen, is shambolic. His ward, Madeline, is a precocious handful. Fox’s time in India is shrouded in rumor and mystery. Worst of all, Fox himself is distant and broken, his personality as altered as his scarred body.

Throughout it all, Leah is left with two questions: What happens to a woman after her most-cherished fantasy comes true? And can a marriage, begun in practicality, transform into something deeper? Something like . . . love.

Thank you to the author for an eARC.


I love that moment when you feel deeply connected to a book. This was that read for me. This was the marriage of convenience trope taken to astronomical levels. Where two souls really did fight there way to be together amidst multiple hardships.

Leah and Fox were both main characters I loved. Also dual POV is always superior and I will not be accepting other opinions at this time. Getting to know both of their backgrounds and where they crossed brought all of the unrequited pining. Brought the slow burn of realizing a connection. Brought those all out moments, when the rain is pouring and you just need them to know you care. I couldn’t get enough of every interaction and even when I wanted to shake both characters, I understood. I knew where they were coming from and that ultimate resolution had my heart souring.

I somehow fell in love with a cat too? Playing a large roll in the side character cast he brought the house down, almost literally. I adored him and the spunky 5 year old who absolutely stole my heart. Sometimes kids rock the book in a way that’s aggravating, this was never the case here. Madeline was the best kind of soft addition this story needed.

There were great moments and conversations that I love seeing. Allowing for progression of not only the plot, but the characters. This novel is romantic, it’s heart-breaking, and soul-binding. I am completely in love with Van’s writing and how she brings a story to life.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: closed door (between a married couple)
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: alcoholism, PTSD, suicide, death from childbirth, stillborn

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