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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

This book ties with Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart as my favorite by Sarah MacLean. The heroine is her own hero and the hero is the one who needs saving in the most romantic way!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: August 30, 2016

Lonesome Lily turned Scandalous Siren
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 doesn’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 Britain—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 problem.

Tartan Comes to Town
Warnick arrives in London with a single goal: get the chit married and see her become someone else’s problem, then return to a normal, quiet life in Scotland. It’s the perfect plan, until Lily declares she’ll only marry for love . . . and the Scot finds that there is one thing in England he likes far too much . . .

There really isn’t anything Sarah MacLean can’t write. Basically, the hero inherits a title and ward he doesn’t want while said ward creates a scandal by posing for a scandalous portrait believing the artist cares for her. Cad of an artist doesn’t and leaves her to face the shame alone. Enter the hero, now a duke and the heroine’s guardian. He wants to marry her off quickly and she’ll only marry for love. With these two butting heads constantly and an underlying attraction to one another bubbling to the surface, it was only a matter of time before the Duke of Warnick and Lillian Hargrove fall in love.

Alec was 100% swoon worthy and it isn’t for the obvious reasons. Sure, he was a big, strapping highlander with the brogue to match and he was a duke to top it off, but it was his acceptance of Lily as she was. He was attracted to her as she was and didn’t try to change her, control her, or heaven forbid, make her feel guilty about who she was. Alec was undeniably most attractive when that aspect of his personality came out which, as the book went on became more and more often. I did like that he was insecure in himself as a potential partner for someone he considered as “fine” as Lily. His insecurity gave A Scot in the Dark an unusual vibe because it influenced the plot differently than had it just been Lily with the insecurities.

Lily was in my opinion, the hero of her own story. She took the initiative to regain control of her life after society and a low life “artist” stole it from her. I’m not saying she was invincible because she had very real moments of vulnerability and fear but that just made her moments of courage stand out even more to me. She was witty and bold which is always a plus in a heroine but it was her mind that was the real standout in the book. She wasn’t a wimpy wallflower waiting for someone to solver her problems or tell her what to do. She was a go getter and determined to solve her own problems. The great thing was that she did a lot of growing between the time that she meets the artist that shames her and when she meets Alec. Lily actually was a typical miss for the time, filled with silly dreams and naiveté but because of the scandal she quickly grew up and became more. I adored this character.

What was so wonderful about Alec and Lily was that there was a balance and a sense of equality between them. I thought it was terribly romantic for Alec to reach that moment where he just gave himself to Lily and there was this mutual surrender between them that made my heart soar. The way Sarah MacLean gave them a true balance and partnership made me feel like Alec and Lily were mirroring my own personal dream relationship.

The Talbot sisters! Oh those sisters are a delight no matter what they’re up to. Sesily was a particular favorite of mine but it was really great to see the sisters again as they seem to cause a bit of trouble whenever they’re in a scene. Also, Georgiana, heroine of Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover and the sister to the Duke of Disdain (Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart) makes an appearance so that’s a nice little way to connect three different series. I do so love seeing the connection between series.

Final Verdict: Easily one of the most romantic books I’ve read this year, A Scot in the Dark provided a hero to fall in love with, a heroine who can and will save herself, and a passionate romance laced with yearning and heartache. I enjoyed my time with this one.

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