Let me remind everyone about how I felt when I read the first book in the Scandal and Scoundrel series, The Rogue Not Taken. As you can see I ended my review with this:
There were parts I absolutely loved and parts where I wanted to cry. Despite all the harsh words and pained feelings Sophie and King had tremendous chemistry. Yes, I absolutely wanted them to be together, if for no other reason than he could beg her forgiveness every day for the rest of their lives. But I’m still torn, so I’ll just leave this review here and say that I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
So yeah, you can see why I’d be both excited and cautious going into A Scot in the Dark. This is Sarah MacLean, one of my favorite historical romance authors ever, so I HAD to read it, but OMG was my heart going to be ripped out like the last book?
You’ve met the hero of A Scot in the Dark, he’s none other than the Duke of Warnick, friend to the Marquess of Eversley and a man who inherited his title and holdings when tragedy befell not one, not two, but seventeen men in line to the Dukedom ahead of him. Wanting nothing to do with his title, or in fact England for that matter, Alec remains in Scotland determined to shun anything to do with the aristocracy. Until he finds out five years later that he has a ward and she has gotten herself into quite a bit of trouble. The kind of trouble that involves a man and ruination.
Miss Lillian Hargrove has been the ward of the Duke of Warnick since she was a child. After the estate changes hands seventeen times within a fortnight she is kind of lost in the shuffle, and then Alec inherits the title and she is basically left all alone. Being the child of a commoner, but ward to a powerful title, has left her in a difficult spot. She doesn’t really fit in anywhere. Being one of the most beautiful woman in England only sets her apart even more and makes it difficult to cultivate friendships with other woman of the ton. Friendless and lonely, she falls prey to the attention and pretty words of the talented artist, Derek Hawkins. She trusts him, and is sure the love they share will last forever, that is until he betrays her in the worst way possible and she is shamed and ruined in public. And wouldn’t you know, that is just when the current Duke of Warnick enters her life for the first time, determined to save her.
I enjoyed this book. Maybe because my heart wasn’t ripped out over and over like the first book in the series. I didn’t connect with Lillian like I did with Sophie, but I kind of liked her and did understand her loneliness and how that led to her falling for the wrong man. I also totally got why she was upset and bitter at the beginning and just wanted Alec to leave her alone to disappear into obscurity. Especially when Alec was so determined to set her up with a husband. Who wouldn’t want to get the hell outta dodge and disappear after being humiliated so publicly? And who wouldn’t want to say fuck it to all men?
Alec… well, I was a bit irritated with him for a while. His insistence that she wed, his wishy-washy desire for her, his leaving her alone so many times when she had been so lonely for so much of her life. While I understood his need to see her settled and safe, it was frustrating when he refused to listen to her time and again. I had this thought that if he would just shut up and listen they could have been happier much sooner. He was so back and forth with her for so long into the book that by the end I kind of just wanted Lily to just leave and let Alec realize how much he messed up. But that’s just me.
I did relish how Lily blossomed and came into her own over time and with the support of her new friends. I liked how she ultimately saved herself and her HEA in the end. And while I had some gripes, overall I did enjoy this romance. Not my favorite by this author, but still a good read. Final Grade- B-
He ached for her. He wanted her. He wished for her. It had only ever been her.