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Friday, February 5, 2016

NOVELLA REVIEW: "All's Fair in Love and Scandal" by Caroline Linden


All's Fair In Love and Scandal (Scandalous, #2.5)
(Scandalous #2.5)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Victorian England

Avon Impulse -- Published on June 9, 2015
Paperback, 162 pages
Read in January 2016
Borrowed from library

RATING: 3.75 STARS

THEMES/TROPES
Rake, Widow, Writer Heroine, Wager

SUMMARY
Nothing wagered…

Douglas Bennet can’t resist a good wager, especially not one that involves a beautiful woman. When a friend proposes an audacious plan to expose the most notorious woman in England, Douglas agrees at once. After all, it would be quite a coup to discover the true identity of Lady Constance, author of the infamous erotic serial scandalizing the ton, 50 Ways to Sin.

Nothing won…

Madeline Wilde is used to being pursued. For years she’s cultivated a reputation for being unattainable and mysterious, and for good reason: her livelihood depends on discretion. When Douglas turns his legendary charm on her, she dismisses him as just another rake. But he surprises her—instead of merely trying to seduce her, he becomes her friend…her confidant…and her lover. But can it really lead to happily-ever-after…or are they about to become the biggest scandal London has ever seen?


FIRST LINE
"Douglas Bennet, handsome, charming, and heir to a baronet, had reached the age of twenty-nine with very little in the way of adversity or disappointment."

MY THOUGHTS
All's Fair in Love and Scandal was a fun little story that focuses on Douglas, the brother of Joan and best friend of Tristan (heroine and hero of Love and Other Scandals).  He was thrown off by the marriage of his sister and best friend and is feeling a bit lost in what to do with his time now.  Douglas's biggest weakness is wagers as he has a compulsion to bet on almost anything.  This includes whether the mysterious widow, Madeline Wilde, is really Lady Constance, writer of the scandalous 50 Ways to Sin serial.

I wasn't sure whether I would like Douglas based on his characterization in Love and Other Scandals.  He seemed, in that book, to be charming, but also immature.  But, this story showed him in a new light and helped me see him as hero material.  I enjoyed the depiction of his friendship with Tristan and how Tristan's new married status has made Douglas re-evaluate his choices.  I delighted in the fact that Douglas charm was not a facade, but that he was just a genuinely nice person.

Madeline is suspicious of Douglas from the beginning and is very clear in her opinion of him.  But, as she spends more time with him, she starts to ease up on her aloofness and finds herself confiding in him.  I admired her intelligence and determination to support herself after her husband's death.  I also liked that she kept Douglas on his toes, but also knew when to let the walls down.

I was impressed with how well-developed the romance was for such a short story.  Madeline and Douglas start off as acquaintances and quickly become friends.  They spend a lot of time together and it is during these moments that they realize there might be something more.  I love a good slow burn love story so I enjoyed this one though I would have liked for the story to be a little longer so that the ending didn't feel as rushed.

I think All's Fair in Love and Scandal could be read as a stand-alone, but I think it would benefit readers to be caught up on the Scandalous series due to the Lady Constance element.  The identity of Lady Constance is the tying feature of these books and the possibility of a reveal will be more tantalizing if one is familiar with the series.  I am definitely ready to keep moving on with this series and then get caught up on the rest of Caroline Linden's backlist.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Love and Other Scandals
2. It Takes a Scandal
2.5. All's Fair in Love and Scandal
3. Love in the Time of Scandal
4. Six Degrees of Scandal (Coming 2016)

READING CHALLENGES
2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge

LEARN MORE
Goodreads -- Author Website -- Publisher Website

2 comments:

  1. I've been hearing great things about Caroline Linden. I haven't read any of her books, though. Glad you enjoyed this novella.

    ReplyDelete
  2. oh I do like this author, I haven't read this one yet, but I have heard some really good things about it.

    ReplyDelete

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