"Fabulous story with romantic injured war hero and intelligent heroine!"
Reviewed by Miranda Owen
Posted March 26, 2014
IT TAKES A SCANDAL is another wonderful historical romance
by Caroline Linden. The story opens with two sisters --
Abigail and Penelope Weston. Their family is nouveau riche
and their father has recently bought a stately home in the
country. I was worried, at first, that Abby and Penelope
would fall into a pattern of Abby always being the sensible
good daughter, and Penelope would always be the wild one.
Happily I found them to be equally more complex than that.
While Abby is better at controlling her impulses than her
sister, she is still a passionate young woman who speaks
her mind. Likewise, while Penelope might be tactless at
times, she is just as intelligent as her sister and not
entirely selfish. I enjoyed the relationship between the
sisters as depicted in IT TAKES A SCANDAL and look forward
to reading Penelope's story.
I love the romance between Abby and Sebastian Vane. They
first meet while Abby is looking for her mother's
mischievous dog Milo. Sebastian's property borders her
family's property. There is a strong mutual attraction
right away. One of the things I thought was so great about
Abby is how she expresses her true feelings to Simon
without throwing herself at him and looking ridiculous. One
of my favorite scenes is when Simon encounters her on the
arm of a rival of his. He sulks a bit before she very
appropriately puts him in his place. She realizes how it
might look to him, but she refuses to be punished for his
false assumptions. In spite of a bit of occasional
moodiness, due to his unfair circumstances, Simon is never
nasty to Abby and very romantic. He turns into a poet when
he's around her. They have some very emotional and very
steamy scenes together.
There are a few gothic touches here and there, which I
enjoyed. Simon's situation can't help but elicit sympathy.
He's an injured war hero returning to a father whom
everyone regards as mad, and an estate which has been
greatly diminished by his father's actions. I thought the
element of mystery provided by the missing money and
Simon's missing father adds a lot of interest to IT TAKES A
SCANDAL. For me, the grotto was almost like an additional
character. It is a romantic meeting place for Simon and
Abby, it was a thing of legend for Simon and Benedict as
boys, and in some ways it mirrors Simon himself. Like
Simon, it is a forgotten treasure, hidden for years from
most people's eyes due to neglect and disuse. I think
Caroline Linden did a great job of creating a sense of
place in IT TAKES A SCANDAL.
I loved this engaging and romantic historical romance! IT
TAKES A SCANDAL has complex characters and a fabulous story
with a little mystery thrown into the romance. I look
forward to reading about other characters in future stories
like Penelope, Benedict, and Samantha. If Penelope and
Benedict are paired up, I think she would be the kind of
intelligent, sassy woman he needs.
Sometimes It Takes a Scandal . . .
Abigail Weston has everything: beauty, wit, and one of the
largest dowries in England. Her parents hope she'll wed an
earl. Abigail hopes for a man who wants her desperately and
passionately. But the money seems to blind every man she
Sebastian Vane has nothing. He came home from war with a
shattered leg to find his father mad and his inheritance
gone. He's not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an
heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet,
bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his
ruined reputation. And it might end happily ever after . . .
To Reveal Your Heart's Desire
. . . Until Benedict Lennox begins courting Abigail. Ben is
everything Sebastian isn't—wealthy, charming, heir to an
earl. Sebastian won't give up the only girl he's ever loved
without a fight, but Abigail must choose between the
penniless gentleman who moves her heart, and the suitor who
is everything her parents want.
Excerpt“Yes,” he said at last. “You are correct. I do want to run
the other way when I see you.”
“Why?” She hurried to keep up as he walked on, more briskly
than before. “What have I done?”
“Absolutely nothing,” he said, adding under his breath, “and
I pray it stays that way.”
“Then what ought I to do?” They were making good progress
down the road. She had run out without a shawl or a bonnet,
and had to squint against the sun when she looked up at him.
“Absolutely nothing,” he repeated. “For your own sake.”
“But if I’ve been doing nothing and it disgusts you, it
makes no sense that I continue doing nothing.”
He paused. “You don’t disgust me.” He pointed past her with
his cane. “There is the path to my home. Pardon me, Miss
She let him pass, but kept dogging his heels, dragging poor
Milo in her wake. “If I don’t disgust you, why won’t you
speak to me? There was only that one moment, when you told
me about the lost grotto, when I felt we were cordial.”
He heaved a soundless sigh. “I’m speaking to you now, aren’t
“Without saying anything,” she grumbled. “We are neighbors,
sir. Surely we can have an amiable relationship.”
With unexpected speed and grace he whirled on her. Abigail
nearly tripped as she leapt back once, then again until her
back hit a tree as he stalked toward her. He loomed over
her, so close she could see the lines around his eyes, but
not so close he was touching her. “Amiable,” he whispered.
“We will never be amiable.”
“Why n-not?” she stammered. Her heart was beating a tattoo
inside her chest.
He smiled, but there was nothing light about it. It was a
black and bitter expression, and the sight made her eyes
grow wide. “Because I am a wicked man, Miss Weston. Don’t
you listen to the gossip? Madness runs in my family. My
estate is utterly ruined. People call me a thief. They even
say I killed my father. Ask anyone in town, and they’ll warn
you to stay far, far away from me. To a beautiful, innocent
young woman, I might as well be the devil incarnate.”
“Did you kill your father?” As soon as the words left her
mouth, Abigail wished them back.
“What do you think?” he asked in the same soft, dangerous
She frowned. “I doubt it.”
“But you don’t know. That should warn you to run away.”
She stared at him. “You intrigue me.”
He leaned closer. In confusion she closed her eyes. “And you
intrigue me,” he replied, his breath stirring the hair at
her temple. “That’s why I avoid you.”
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