Ever since I started this series “Scandal & Scoundrel” I have been waiting for Seraphina and Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven’s story. When I read “The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel, #1) I thought “there is no way that Sera and Mal will end up together.” There is just no way. Needless to say I was wrong. However! MacLean really had a huge obstacle to accomplish. Throughout the series, the infamous Sera is known for her scandal and most importantly because she is missing. No one knows where the Duke of Haven’s Duchess can be found. When Sera re-emerges she has changed! Three years have gone by since Sophie Talbot dumped the cheating Duke in the pond and Sera is ready to take charge of her life. Everything is against her, but she is determined.
When we first hear of Sera and Mal’s story, it is filled with hurt, anger and pain. Much of that sentiment carries through the story. Sera and Mal have a lot of baggage. From the very beginning, their love is tainted with rumors, distrust and betrayal. It seems that one wound just opens and festers another. Sera is done with that. She wants a divorce and wants to be the boss of her own life. Women during that time could not petition for a divorce even if they were subject to cruelty at the hands of their husbands. Kudos to MacLean for bringing up the history of women during this time period and really how little they had in terms of rights! Well, Sera is done with her marriage, cheating husband and is ready to open her own tavern where she can fulfill her dream of singing to her hearts content. Sera has no way of knowing that throughout the last three years Mal has traveled all over the world trying to find his wife. He never gave up looking for her and he is determined to make their marriage work. Sera wants nothing to do with Mal and the past hurts and sorrows haunt their every conversation. Mal tries one last time to keep his wife. He makes a wager with her. If she can find him a replacement Duchess he will agree to the divorce. What Mal doesn’t anticipate is that Sera’s infamous sisters will come along and that Sera has a friend, a male one at that. Mal is more determined than ever.
First, I have to say how much I enjoyed Sera and my heart broke for her. She was young and naïve, inexperience in many ways and many of her choices were not the best. Malcolm pretty much followed the same path. It would seem that both were destined for disaster-which they both experienced. Sera fought so hard to win her independence and it was admirable considering nothing was really in her favor. I was lukewarm about Mal until the end when he finally comes to realize that Sera is not his to keep… and I have to confess I put the story down and wiped away my tears. Even though they do finally get their much deserved happily-ever-after it was far from easy. There are many funny and sweet moments. There is one scene that is both sweet and real for me-when the sisters are crammed in the carriage. I just thought that MacLean really captured their bond as sisters and in many ways the figurative distance that covered them emotionally. Physically the sisters are together, but Sera has not emotionally shared with her sisters the baggage she has been carrying. This story did not disappoint and I need to know more about Secily and her American. I am crossing my fingers and hoping that this is not the last time we hear about the “Dangerous Daughters.”
**ARC provided by Publisher**