I am usually in the middle of several books at once. I have books on my Kindle, physical books, and then I am usually listening to a book via Audible.
I recently listened to the Audible edition of A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean. I had been looking forward to this book based on the premise, and so I was very excited to be able to bundle the Kindle edition with Audible.
The plot involves a modern phenomenon inserted into 19th century England- the naked selfie being leaked. Wait, you might say. That makes no sense, you might say- they didn’t even have cell phones, and cameras were rudimentary at best. Well, sit down and buckle up, because this is where things get interesting.
Lillian Hargrove doesn’t have any family. She makes the unfortunate mistake of falling in love with a charismatic artist/actor who promises her the moon. Because she believes that they are in love, she allows the artist to paint a portrait of her- a scandalous portrait. He swears that it is only for him, but then decides to exhibit the portrait, proclaiming that it will catapult him into global stardom. Oh, and he’s not in love with Lily, and she was foolish and naïve to believe that he ever was.
Enter the titular Scot- Alec, who is the reluctant Duke of Warnick. He does not want to travel to England because he is not comfortable in the polished world of the English, but he is left with no choice when he learns that the ward he did not know he had has gotten into trouble.
Needless to say, Lily is less than thrilled about Alec showing up in town and making decisions about her life. She resents his plan to marry her off to the highest bidder, and he hates her stubbornness and refusal to listen to reason. Needless to say, they are both surprised to discover mutual feelings of attraction. But there is the looming threat of the infamous portrait: is the scandal great enough to ruin them both?
A Scot in the Dark is a very clever book. I love the concept of taking something modern and seeing how 19th century characters would handle it. The whole thing works very well. But there was something that bothered me- the beginning of the book chronicles the manner in which Alec acquires his title. Apparently, the Dukedom of Warnick went through seventeen dukes in two weeks before Alec inherited. Did someone open a mummy’s tomb and unleash some sort of horrific curse? Why did so many men die in such a short period of time? This seems like extreme use of hyperbole to explain that Alec neither wanted the title nor ever expected to inherit it. Yes, they call him the Diluted Duke, but wouldn’t he be just as diluted if he had been sixth in line for the title, only to have it land at his feet? I will admit to wondering throughout the book if The Curse was going to claim Alec before the Happily Ever After.
I would recommend A Scot in the Dark. The premise is very original, and Lily and Alec are a good match. They both have trust issues based on past experiences, and it’s nice to see them develop from mutual loathing to mutual attraction. The overall tone is lighthearted, and this makes the more poignant moments stand out. This was my first Sarah MacLean book, but it certainly won’t be my last. I am looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.