28 April 2014

It Takes a Scandal by Caroline Linden (Scandalous #2)

Summary from Goodreads:
Sometimes It Takes a Scandal...

Abigail Weston has everything: beauty, wit, and one of the largest dowries in England. Her parents hope she'll wed an earl. Abigail hopes for a man who wants her desperately and passionately. But the money seems to blind every man she meets—except one.

Sebastian Vane has nothing. He came home from war with a shattered leg to find his father mad and his inheritance gone. He's not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet, bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his ruined reputation. And it might end happily ever after...

To Reveal Your Heart's Desire

...Until Benedict Lennox begins courting Abigail. Ben is everything Sebastian isn't—wealthy, charming, heir to an earl. Sebastian won't give up the only girl he's ever loved without a fight, but Abigail must choose between the penniless gentleman who moves her heart, and the suitor who is everything her parents want.

Abigail Weston (and her sister Penelope, who has an upcoming book) was introduced in the previous book, Love and Other Scandals.  She has an enviable dowry but her father is a Cit - catching a titled man but not a fortune hunter is tricky.  However, now that the family has moved to Richmond - next door to a wealthy earl with an eligible son - it seems Abigail might make a desirable ton marriage.

But their other neighbor is the supposedly disreputable Sebastian Vane.  His mad father (not a euphemism, the father was actually mentally unstable) lost (read: was cheated by the earl) the majority of the family estate, then went missing under questionable circumstances, and now a sum of money is missing from the earl's estate.  At best, Sebastian is an injured, angry ex-soldier.  At worst, he's a thief and patricide.  And Abigail can't stay away.

I really liked this second installment in Linden's Scandalous series.  The "50 Ways to Sin" pamphlets continue to scandalize everyone.  Abigail is very sweet and plucky, a perfect foil to Sebastian's barely contained rage.  The grotto scenes were excellent.  I loved the seeds sown between Lennox and Penelope for the next book and the conflict between Sebastian and Lennox who used to be friends felt very real.  My only disappointment came in how ready Abigail seemed (for a little while at least) to put up with the earl's clearly malevolent personality to allow Lennox to court her.

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