Book Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

27067875Title: A Scot in the Dark

AuthorSarah MacLean

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance, Fiction


Published: August 30, 2016

Page Amount: 352 pages

Blurb From Goodreads: 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. The Duke of Warnick loathes all things English, none more so than the aristocracy. He 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…

Why Read: Since listening to a podcast a couple years ago reminding me that I shouldn’t be ashamed (and in fact should expand my reading horizons) of romance… Sarah MacLean has quickly become my favorite romance writer. I love her sassy female characters, who take their fortunes into their own hands. Her books easily make me laugh, and clutch my kindle closer to my face (because reading romance in public is an occupational hazard of a book reviewer).

Review: If you’re not the type to go for the usual romance tale between the damsel and her savior, you may have found what you’re looking for in Sarah MacLean. A Scot in the Dark is no different from her other novels in main character Lily Hargrove’s immediate pull as an independant woman. Granted she’s made a bit of an error (and that’s an understatement in Victorian London)… but part of what made me love this book so gosh-darn much was her will.

So much in romance novels I find the female lead to be lacking her own power. She defers easily to the men in the story and applying to the Bechdel test… let’s just say it leads to seething and furious Twitter rants late at night. Lily is not like that. She refuses to give up. Even when the situation seems to leave her with no choice than to marry a man to save herself from scandal – she keeps herself in control.

Warnick is another fun, if a bit dramatic character. He’s Lily’s guardian (the age gap isn’t entirely creepy = I promise), and is intent on getting out of London as soon as physically possible. Of course, there’s the complication that he has to marry his troublesome ward off to a stranger first. Much as I liked his gentlemenly conduct, it did slightly irritate me how much he was “damaged”. This isn’t to suggest that there shouldn’t be such broken characters in romance, only that I wasn’t satisfied with how his behavior matched his experiences.

Speed-wise, the book went by in two nights. In classic cliff-hanger endings, I was torn at the end of each short chapter: Ought I to read another quick one or control my impluses and go to bed? As you can imagine, two nights spent up until 3am was obviously the right choice.

One final part that I want to emphasize about this book was the way that they handled gender. Both of the main characters had scandal in their past, and MacLean took great pains (I thought) to point out how different society treated them based on not just their position in London, but whether or not they were a man or woman. It was frustrating to read…. as inequality often is, but I appreciated that she took the time to address it.

While I don’t want to give it 5 stars (I wasn’t exactly quaking in my boots to finish it), it was certainly an enjoyable couple of days and I can’t wait to pick up the next Sarah MacLean book to whisk myself back to Victorian London. Highly Recommneded for Romance-lovers!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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