USA Today bestselling author Caroline Linden's third novel in her Scandalous series brings together a feisty heiress, a notorious rake, and a shocking book that could bring one woman the utmost despair— or the greatest pleasure.
Penelope Weston does not like Benedict Lennox, Lord Atherton. He may be the suave and charming heir to an earl, as well as the most handsome man on earth, but she can't forget how he abandoned a friend in need— nor how he once courted her sister, Abigail. He's the last man she would ever marry. If only she didn't feel so attracted to the arrogant scoundrel . . .
Once upon a time, Benedict thought he and Penelope got along rather well. Though he needs a wealthy bride to escape his cruel father's control, spirited Penelope just doesn't suit his plans for a model marriage—until a good deed goes awry, and scandalous rumors link his name to Penelope's. She might not be the quiet, sensible wife he thought he wanted, but she is beautiful . . . beguiling . . . and far more passionate than he ever imagined. Can a marriage begun in scandal become a love match, too?
Linden's post-Regency Scandals series sizzles with this third installment as a marriage to avoid social scandal evolves into a greater emotional commitment. Benedict Lennox, Lord Atherton, wants to marry Frances Lockwood because of her sweet and biddable nature, but she won't marry him until he professes his undying devotion. Though Benedict believes that Penelope Weston hates him, unwanted circumstances force Benedict to wed Penelope in order to redeem her reputation. And while neither one loves the other, they both admit that their mutual attraction is enough to start out their marriage. But a cloud remains over their wedded bliss as Penelope believes that Benedict has mistreated a friend to save face with his evil father, the Earl of Stratford, and she can't understand Benedict's inability to stand up to him. As she and Benedict learn to trust one another, they build up an easy truce that could be marred by his father's sudden appearance in London. Penelope is an especially engaging protagonist with her outspoken, feminist nature.
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From one programmer to another, your stories are amazing :) so far I have made it through 3 of them, and have the others waiting in the wings. The first book was a signed copy given away by Elizabeth Boyle in 2013 in one of her contests. I regret not having read it sooner! The story lines are creative, well written, engaging and kept me going until the last page, only to find the next book in the series so that I could continue reading the story line. Thank you for moving to writing books. Don't worry, I will keep on with the software :)
Working well as a standalone story, you’ll want to read the earlier books in this series
The second I’ve read in this series, I love Caroline Linden’s pacing: allowing the characters to reveal themselves and their intentions incrementally, and building their connections and the plot with careful pieces of action and insight.
In Love in the Time of Scandal, our focus is brought to Penelope and Benedict: acquaintances of long standing, and well-suited to one another but separated due to changes in circumstances and some bad behaviors from Benedict. A failed courting of Penelope’s sister fell apart when she married his former best friend, and hard feelings still exist on Penelope’s behalf.
Benedict is in need of a bride with a healthy dowry: he wants to escape his father’s overbearing and cruel nature and he sees this as his only option. Penelope is well provided for, but isn’t particularly interested in Benedict: in fact she loathes the man, and when her friend Frances mentions a man courting her, Penelope is full of advice about guarding oneself from fortune hunters. Until she realizes that Frances may be falling for Benedict, and that just won’t do. Outspoken and bold, Penelope isn’t worried overmuch about her future, but that will change.
Scandals run deep here, and some answers are forthcoming, but Benedict and Penelope are thrown together in a scandal when he is consoling her after a fortuitous impulse to follow her, interrupting a vicious attack and rape. As was the way of things, Penelope bears the brunt of the scandalous whispers, and Benedict, being a man of his day, feels it his duty to offer for her hand. And we are off and running.
The two are perfectly suited in temperament and personality: neither is slow to respond with a quip or wisecrack, both are deeply caring people, and both have the wrong end of the stick in their beliefs about each other. While they dance about their attraction on the way to a happy ending, the backstory of Benedict’s life with his father and the resulting guilt that has driven many of his actions since provide an understanding of his actions, fears and motivations.
Bit by bit Linden weaves the tale that mixes the lives and fortunes of Penelope and Benedict into a solid form, with a few knots and holes that leave room for more action, adventure and love to come. Working well as a standalone story, you’ll want to read the earlier books in this series to meet all of the wonderful characters that are introduced in the Scandals series.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.