A SCOT IN THE DARK is book 2 in the Scandal &
Scoundrel series by Sarah Maclean. I have loved some
of Maclean's earlier series, including The
Scoundrels and Love by
Numbers series. This
series is not working for me, however. Neither book 1, A
ROGUE NOT TAKEN, nor book 2, A SCOT IN
THE DARK, has been
at all my cup of tea. Maclean says that the inspiration
for this series is loosely based on modern celebrity
gossip, which I abhor. Perhaps that's why this series by
an author I normally adore is leaving me dissatisfied?
Each chapter starts with a tabloid-style heading, which
is frightfully twee. The alliteration in the headings
echoes the choppy and repetitive feel of some lines of the
story as well:
They stole together.
I didn't realize until the last few years how the flow of
the author's words can viscerally affect me as a reader.
While it grinds on me, I know readers who gobble this style
right up. It's all about preferences, right?! Chuck
Wendig is making waves with a similar style in his new Star
Wars books, which some readers love.
Lilian Hargorve is a woman who, despite being full
grown, is the ward of Alec Stuart, the new Duke of Warnick
(17 men having died before him in the last fortnight,
leaving Alec with the title). She is embroiled in a
scandal, having posed nude for an artist who is now going
to exhibit the promised-to-be-private painting of Lily at
The Royal Academy of Arts exhibition. Alec travels to
London to marry off his ward before the painting is
exhibited and she is ruined forever.
I am uneasy to admit that I don't have much sympathy for
Lily who "innocently" posed for a nude painting: Welcome to
the consequences of your bad decision, my dear. While I do
understand the attempt to connect to the nude photos
scandals of our day, in the 1830's posing for a nude
painting would be utterly beyond the pale. And posing for
an artist and expecting them to never show the painting is
pretty foolish, in my opinion. I think the bringing in of
modern ideas and mores does not work well in historicals,
especially in the concepts used this story.
I do like Lily's pluck, but I don't like much else about
her. Also, Alec as the tortured hero annoys me I how he
persists in holding on certain ideas based on his bad
childhood experiences and completely ignores what Lily is
telling him when she says she doesn't care about society's
strictures and wants them to be together. As I am normally
a fan of MacLean, I hope that the sequel to A SCOT IN THE
DARK will return to her normal offerings of a fun and
engaging romance with characters I can root for. This is a
book that will lean heavily on reader preferences, I think,
and your mileage may vary.
Miss Lillian Hargrove has lived much of her life alone in a
gilded cage, longing for love and companionship. When an
artist offers her pretty promises and begs her to pose for a
scandalous portrait, Lily doesnâ€™t hesitate . . . until the
lying libertine leaves her in disgrace. With the painting
now public, Lily has no choice but to turn to the one man
who might save her from ruin.
Highland Devil turned Halfhearted Duke
The Duke of Warnick loathes all things English, none more so
than the aristocracy. It does not matter that the imposing
Scotsman has inherited one of the most venerable dukedoms in
Britainâ€”he wants nothing to do with it, especially when he
discovers that the unwanted title comes with a troublesome
ward, one who is far too old and far too beautiful to be his
Tartan Comes to Town
Warnick arrives in London with a single goal: get the chit
married and see her become someone elseâ€™s problem, then
return to a normal, quiet life in Scotland. Itâ€™s the perfect
plan, until Lily declares sheâ€™ll only marry for love . . .
and the Scot finds that there is one thing in England he
likes far too much . . .