by Sarah MacLean
Published by Avon on August 30th 2016
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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...
Don’t be fooled by the historical setting of this book because the things that the heroine went through felt very current. The idea of someone going through a very public humiliation like what Lillian went through in this was heartrending. This is a book that challenges your notion about scandals, slut-shaming, forgiveness, and redemption.
Ms. MacLean made Lillian a very sympathetic character to me. I normally would have a problem with a heroine who professed to love someone else during the first chapter of the book and then promptly falls in love with the hero. But as a I reader, I understood her motivation. I understood why she acted the way she did. Her actions were consistent with her motivation, which is why what happened to her in this book made such an impact on me.
But it’s not just Lillian who has issues with humiliation, private or otherwise. The hero, Alec, was known as the Diluted Duke, the 17th in line to the title. He inherited the dukedom after a spate of bad luck befell the previous dukes. Alec some things in his past which made him into the man he is today. He came to England after his ward, which he knew nothing about at first, was embroiled in a scandal. He wants to solve the problem and then go back to Scotland.
But his ward, Lillian, wants nothing to do with his plan of restoring her tattered reputation. She just wants to be free and leave all her troubles behind. As they spend more time with each other, the attraction, the sexual tension builds between them. I just loved the push and pull between them. The banter was glorious.
Just when I thought I had figured out where the story was going, Ms. MacLean pulled a fast one on me. I knew something was up with Alec but I was unprepared for what he was actually hiding. I should have known it. It’s quite obvious in a way but not really? Probably because I was so focused on Lillian’s plight that I didn’t pick up on the clues as to why Alec had this aversion to England in the first place.
Overall, I liked the pacing. Loved the characters and that ending was so satisfying, I wanted to go and re-read it again immediately.
ARC provided by Avon in exchange for an honest review.