Review: It Takes a Scandal (Scandals #2) by Caroline Linden

April 25, 2014 Review 0

Review: It Takes a Scandal (Scandals #2) by Caroline Linden

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 meets—except one.

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.

Title: It Takes a Scandal
Author: Caroline Linden
Series: Scandals #2
Published by Avon
Source: Publisher
Published: 29 April, 2014
Genres: Historical Romace
Pages: 384
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website

Stars: four-stars
Flames: three-flames

Scandals are funny things, and for a headstrong and curious young miss, the allure of the retiring and reserved Sebastian far outweighs the scandalous whispers about him. Abagail is the daughter of a wealthy man and his often over-reaching wife. With a sister who is full of derring do and a brother who manages to escape their mother’s various strident edicts, expectations and criticisms, she is the ‘good and dutiful daughter’, and was happy to take to the country house for the summer.  The house is set in the shadow of both the Earl’s residence and a now decrepit former estate of a gentleman farmer.  The two houses and their occupants will play a great role in the story as it unfolds.

Abagail was a wonderful character: far from being the obedient and dutiful daughter, her more circumspect and carefully planned actions do not draw her mother’s notice.  Wanting only to marry for love, titles be hanged, her romantic notions are appropriate for a girl of her age and station, while her good heart and friendly nature are often challenged by her love of gossip and thirst for diversion.  Aided in her hijinks by her sister Penelope, these two are a clever combination and display of sibling rivalry and conspiracy.

Sebastian and Benedict were childhood best friends: in and out of one another’s homes, playing and plotting and planning their futures despite the differences in station.  Yet Sebastian purchased a commission and went off to France to war, while Benedict, as heir to the earldom stayed behind: their relationship forever altered.  Sebastian returned injured from the war to find his father’s estate in ruins and his father declining into madness. With his father’s disappearance during one stormy night, and his limited mobility and funds, he has become a recluse: subject of speculation, rumor and gossip.  Benedict, however, is the Earl’s son with all of the prospect, respect and privilege that comes with the title.

Each character was beautifully created and detailed: given the right amount of issues, concerns and emotional connection to the reader to make you care about what happens. Abagail could follow her heart and turn her back on polite society, choose Sebastian and help him to reclaim his land and life. Only her parents, in their desire for upward mobility are pushing Benedict in her direction: a future as an Earl’s wife will improve their family standing, Penelope’s options and give her brother entrée into the more exclusive men’s clubs in London.

But, the heart wants what it does: the connection between Abagail and Sebastian is palpable: she wants to see his eyes light when he smiles, and to have reasons to smile often. For his part, Sebastian does not wish to damn her to society’s scorn, and without a real solution to the mystery of his father’s whereabouts, he has no hope to improve his lot in the future.  A not insubstantial dowry would provide relief from the worst of his issues, and of course there is no lack of comments to that effect.  The best part of the book for me was his character: so completely desirous of keeping Abagail safe and away, yet unable to lie to her or be mean to send her off.  So injured and so many questions that all center around Ben and their now defunct friendship, the mystery about his father and the Earl’s missing guineas and Ben’s plans for Abagail and his own sister Lizzie: the potential to find something to love in this story is never-ending.   And, the conclusion – just made me happy.

The first in the series that I have read: it will not be the last.

 

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