I have had a special place in my heart for Scottish men ever since I started reading Julie Garwood’s historical novels. In my reading experience, male Scottish protagonists are smart, powerful, and brawny as hell, and simultaneously brought low and made stronger by the love of an amazing woman.
So I had high expectations for Sarah MacLean’s A Scot in the Dark, and they were exceeded.
If you haven’t tried the romance genre before, Sarah MacLean is a wonderful place to start. Her characters are aware of the strict cultural conventions and expectations which govern British society, but that doesn’t mean that they fall in line with them. In fact, one of the things that I love most about her books is that many of her characters tend to be unconventional, different from other historical romance characters even if what they want isn’t so different.
Take Lillian Hargrove, protagonist of A Scot in the Dark, as a prime example. Lillian is the most beautiful woman in London. She is also currently one of the most scandalous. Her lover, Derek, an artist, broadcasts the fact that he has submitted a nude painting of her into the Royal Academy Exhibition (without Lillian’s permission), and it will be revealed within a two-week period. Derek summarily becomes Lillian’s ex-lover.
When the solicitor informs the Duke of Warnick, of Scotland, that his ward, Lillian, has become embroiled in scandal, the Duke first says—I have a ward? (paraphrase)—and then, I have to help her! (paraphrase). But Lillian is distrustful of this man she has never met before, particularly since she has lived most of her life feeling alone. And the Duke isn’t as straightforward as he seems at the onset, either. He has his own secrets, including one that I did not suspect in a million years.
The chemistry between these characters is hot, and their relationship is satisfying and yet suspenseful. I love the strength of MacLean’s female characters and the ways in which they surprise readers’ expectations. A Scot in the Dark is highly recommended for all romance readers (and anyone who suspects that they might be one, but haven’t tried it out yet). And if you haven't tried Julie Garwood's historicals, try those too. Scottish men can help get us through the winter.
Check out my romance novel, Finally You, on Amazon. Today, and for the next few days, the eBook version is $.99!
Give me that HEA, please.
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