I love Sarah MacLean! What an amazing story, writer and experience. I’m not new to MacLean’s storytelling but every time I read one of her stories, whether I love or like it, it always sticks with me. I loved MacLean’s message in “A Scot in the Dark” and felt changed and inspired by her story. Although this is part of the “Scandal and Scoundrel” series, Miss Lillian Hargrov-the central character, is not one of the scandalous sisters that we meet in the first book in the series “The Rogue Not Taken.” The hero, Alec, The Duke of Warnick is a friend that appears in the first book and his presence plays an important but in the first book.
When the story begins, Lily is enticed into posing nude for a portrait done by an artist she believes to be in love with and whom she believes loves her. Lily assumes that marriage is near and that she has found the man of her dreams. Lily is a beautiful woman who often attracts lots of attention because of her beauty. When Lily soon learns that she is tricked the only way she thinks to survive is to flee once her portrait is exposed to all of London-and eventually the world.
Alec has the bad fortune to inherit a dukedom that kills off over 10 dukes which leaves him to be the next Duke in line. But impending death is not what Alec fears or loathes. Alec hates all things English and especially society. To add to his already disadvantages he realizes that Lily is a ward that is attached to this title. Neither Alec nor Lily are too happy with their current situation but Alec soon realizes that his and her problems can easily be solved-marry Lily off. Lily has plans of her own. She is due an inheritance at her next birthday and she wants to take her money and flee England. It isn’t long before Alec realizes that his plan will never work and that he can’t support Lily in her own plans to flee. Alec knows that Lily deserves better.
One of the many reasons I always jump for MacLean’s stories is that her characters are always so memorable. I just loved Lily and my heart broke for her. Lily is not a member of the ton. She is just the ward of a Duke. She has never fit in and has always felt lonely. Alec could not have been a better match for her. He too has his own wounds that he carries around with him but unlike Lily, he had a chance to run and knows that running is never the answer.
I loved both Lily and Alec as individual characters and as a couple. My heart broke for them and I was emotionally invested in their happiness. I loved the surprising twists that MacLean inserted towards the end. I also loved that the scandalous sisters do make an appearance and befriend Lily. My only disappointment is waiting for the next book in the series! This was a strong five stars for me! I just loved everything about it and can’t wait to see what MacLean has in store for us next!
**ARC provided by Publisher**