Olivia Townsend is in trouble and out of options. Pursued by a dangerous man in search of a lost treasure she doesn’t possess, she’s got only two things in her favor: her late husband’s diary, which she was never meant to see… and the man who was her first—and only—love. Losing him broke her heart, though she’s been careful to hide it for the last ten years. But when he comes to her aid and vows to stand by her, no matter what, she can’t help but hope things will be different for them this time.
James Weston has blamed himself for letting Olivia down when she needed him years ago, and now he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe—and to win her trust again. He’s confident he can outwit the villain chasing Olivia. But being so near her again threatens to expose every secret in his heart … even those that he swore would stay hidden forever.
Linden's sensuous fourth Scandalous Regency (after Love in the Time of Scandal) pairs up an independent heroine and a dependable hero. Olivia Herbert and Jamie Weston meet as young children in Sussex and eventually pledge their love to one another, determined to marry. When Olivia's father forces her to wed another man for quick financial security, both Jamie and Olivia are devastated. Ten years later, Olivia is alone after the death of her husband, Henry Townsend, and is fleeing evil Viscount Clary, a man who wants her for his mistress and may have been involved in shady dealings with her deceased husband. Jamie steps in to save her from the attentions of the viscount, and their flame rekindles, but Olivia is determined to keep him at arm's length for fear of being hurt again. With Jamie's help, Olivia discovers that she is a capable woman who can accomplish a great deal on her own and is even stronger when she and Jamie are together. The gradual awakening of sensuality between Jamie and Olivia is expertly written, and the undercurrent of mystery surrounding Clary's pursuit of Olivia propels the novel swiftly forward to its stunning conclusion.
never once loses the plot or interest in the current coupling
I’ve read (now) three of the six books (two novellas, 4 full length) in this series, and the others await me on that ever-growing to be read list. In Six Degrees of Scandal, Linden manages to neatly wrap up the series with moments to visit previous characters and never once loses the plot or interest in the current coupling of Olivia and James. When you add in a mystery and threats all due to a ‘hidden treasure’, as our couple comes face to face with the lingering effects of decisions made with the arrogance and innocence of youth, this story just grips your attention and demands to be read.
James and Olivia have been tied to one another for years, even though their youthful relationship ended rather tragically for both. Neither is holding a grudge, both look on that time with fondness, if in a bittersweet way, but both are guarded with regards to love. Olivia is now widowed, and struggling to discover what her late husband had done, unbeknownst to her, that would leave her in the midst of such danger. James, brother to Abagail and Penelope (books 2 & 3) knows he let Olivia down in many ways years ago, and now is determined to not allow that to happen again. Determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past, both characters are faced with their own mistakes from years ago: naiveté, a touch of youthful arrogance, overly romanticized dreams and, in James’ case, a strong streak of invincibility. Their intentions toward one another and redeeming the past failures, discounting the potential for a relationship as both claim to not be interested, is the crux of their interactions, and there are some wonderful moments that demonstrate their growth as the barriers between them start to crack and true feelings and regard shows.
And then, we have the mystery (and the unveiling) of the villain, one that has played each of our couples like a fiddle: yes they always seem to emerge out of the tunnel with a new lease on life, and new love and hope BUT the threat is still there, now focused on Olivia’s knowledge to claim the final prize. Twists and clues dropped like crumbs from Linden’s hand, and while I always had a clue about the mastermind behind the threats, I never would have arrived at the correct answer, and no – I won’t share. I need to set aside a day to start from the beginning of the series and catch up on what I missed, although this did read alone quite neatly, and shouldn’t pose much difficulty for readers unfamiliar with earlier installments.
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.
A second-chance romance, a villain, a mystery to be solved and plot twists—all this in one book! Caroline Linden does not disappoint with this next release in the Scandalous series.
I liked Olivia, the heroine. She's independent and willing to face danger. She's also willing to accept help. James, the hero, is very likable. He goes out of his way to come to Olivia's aid and as much as he wants to step in at all times to help her, he also recognizes that she is capable of doing things on her own. I loved how Caroline showed James's character growth from an arrogant youth.
Caroline Linden does a lovely job in showing the characters falling in love.
There were some unexpected twists in this story.
I received an ARC from Avon and Edelweiss to review this book and also purchased the paperback.