I’m going to be upfront: I’ve been slogging through some of my recent reads and it was a straight-up joy to read someone who’s a really good writer again. Who kind of dazzles the senses with a fun NYC life but doesn’t skimp on the emotion either. The writer in question’s Lauren Layne, the book’s Yours in Scandal, and I adored it: the sweetness, the tartness, and thank God *pumps fist* the steam.
NYC Mayor Robert Davenport has just been christened Man of the Year. People love him and this kind of designation and the name recognition that comes with it could help make him governor. But the People want the mayor to date someone! The 35 yo bachelor thing isn’t working for him anymore, according to his campaign manager Martin.
The smart and also slightly sleazy Martin has an idea: Robert can try to get to know Adeline Blake, formerly Addie Brennan, the incumbent governor’s once “wild” child now estranged daughter who fell out of sight for a few years and returned with a new name and identity.
Robert’s got morals and a heart but he also wants to win against the incumbent, who’s apparently corrupt and highly immoral but manages to hide it all behind closed doors. So Robert compromises: he’ll hire Adeline as his party planner and try to get her to confide in him about her father. Without telling her that he knows who she really is.
But from the moment they meet Robert's like *wow. And so is she. What could possibly go wrong?
Layne thoughtfully sets up the conflicts between Robert and Addie and they make sense. Addie’s over-corrected her image and actions in an effort to start a new life but this leads to some internal strife. Despite the part Adeline plays in public, part of her is still Addie. And she's all too aware that as Adeline or Addie, becoming involved with the mayor would be a huge no-no given the public’s (and social media’s) long memory.
I love how Addie takes responsibility for her past actions but also refuses to be shamed. And Robert responds beautifully; her past actions and relationship to the incumbent won’t have a positive effect on his campaign but he also never shames her, publicly or privately--and he recognizes how his own uber virtuous past and present offer its own problems.
The backstory of each lead is finely rendered, and it’s easy to see how Addie & Robert have a lot in common despite their reputations and varying responses to politics. Speaking of the latter, Yours in Scandal is maybe Layne’s most relevant book yet—it’s willing to engage with the good and dirty side of politics and social media.
Though there’s a weird mini dating triangle that makes me uncomfortable and a couple of Robert's actions have me slightly furrowing my brow because I didn’t love love them, overall this romance and its leads give me the heart eyes. (It’s debatable if this is a good look for me.) Three big cheers for Addie, in particular, who’s not perfect and has a past but who recognizes that she’s just as deserving of that HEA as anyone else. Get it, Addie!
Yours in Scandal is out on March 10th. I received a complimentary ARC of this book from Netgalley but all opinions provided are my own.
Give me that HEA, please.
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