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Highland Scandal (Scandalous) Mass Market Paperback – 18 May 2009
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"Sinfully sexy romance." -- Booklist
About the Author
Julia London is the bestselling author of THE DANGERS OF DECEIVING A VISCOUNT, THE PERILS OF PURSUING A PRINCE, THE HAZARDS OF HUNTING A DUKE and 11 other romantic novels. She lives in Texas.
Top customer reviews
The difficult life situation of Lizzie Beal was convincing. A woman who lives with her disabled sister in the Highlands, Lizzie has few choices for her future apart from marriage; fortunately she has some kind of understanding with a neighbour, Mr Gordon, and hopes that he may be able to rescue her and her sister. However the improbability commences when Jack Haines, the earl of Lambourne, arrives in the Highlands as he is escaping a false rumour about an assignation with the Princess of Wales which means the Prince is after him. Jack somehow finds himself involved in a handfasting with Lizzie, a woman he hasn't previously met, in order to keep himself from bounty hunters.
Jack and Lizzie start their life together (which has to be for at least a year) in a rather uncomfortable manner. Lizzie spends the first half of the book being unpleasant to Jack and I found her a fairly unsympathetic character, even knowing the difficulties she is facing. I also found the first half of the book rather slow and in places almost boring. However the story did pick up a little eventually as Jack and Lizzie get to know each other and try to find out why Lizzie's uncle, in effect her guardian, is so against her marrying her neighbour Mr Gordon.
All in all this was a unsatisfactory book in many places with neither lead character particularly convincing or even that likeable. The side characters were interesting although not that deeply explored and the plot events often not quite believable.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2009
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book starts with Jack being captured by Carson Beal who forces him to handfast with his niece, Lizzie, for an year and a day or be handed over to the Prince's men searching for him. Carson threatens Lizzie, who has a crippled sister, with their debts. Neither are happy about this, but they agree. Jack moves into her home, with her sister Charlotte, and the two guards the uncle sent, Dougal to watch Jack and the other, Newton to help Charlotte.
Jack tries to figure out why the uncle is acting like this and assumes there is something on the sisters' property he wants. Jack and Lizzie, along with Mr. Gavin Gordon, who has come at her summons to help her discover why and set off for London to make things right. Jack assumes he will end up in jail or hung, but pleads with the king to make it clear to Carson that Charlotte and Lizzie own the land and what's been discovered on it. By this time, Lizzie loves Jack but can't see him loving her back or moving from England to his Scottish estate. Jack believes she loves Gavin. With a little help from his friends and the King he is only jailed for a few weeks.
I hate plot spoilers so this is very basic. A lot goes on while he is living with her. There is a very nice secondary romance between Charlotte and her "guard" Newton. I really enjoyed this book.
I purchased this novel on my Kindle and was unaware that it was the second in the series. Perhaps if I had read the first novel I would have enjoyed this one first, but frankly I felt rather... unattached to the characters. In the other Julia London novel I read, I had the same "I think something else has happened before this that I don't know about..." feeling, but it wasn't nearly as bad and in no time at all I was swept up in the story of the Hero and Heroine quickly. Highland Scandal got off to what I felt was a good start; I found Lizzie's instant escape attempt pretty funny, and I thought it was a sign that she would be quite spirited throughout the novel. However, Lizzie's "spirited-ness" got pretty annoying after awhile. There's a line between being independent and feisty and being childish. Lizzie's stubborn nature made her come across as being quite caustic and ill-tempered on a few occasions, to the point where I would actually roll my eyes and skip a head a few pages thinking "Is she EVER going to stop being such a petty jerk?". I quite liked Jack, the hero, and thought it would be a good match for a slightly less annoying Lizzie (I believe the author was going for the opposites attract idea, Jack is quite laid-back and friendly while Lizzie is uptight and stubborn). However, I did find it... confusing, I guess, that the author saw fit to include several mentions of Jack being quite flirtatious with women in the beginning of the novel but there was no further mention throughout. Other than some bawdy stories about the Prince of Wales and a few not really all that flirtatious encounters with women there's really very little to indicate that Jack is some sort of rake, but Lizzie (and the clan) obsess over that "fact" like Jack is rolling in the hay at every given opportunity...
I also felt really disconnected from the characters' pasts, something I think would have greatly improved this story. For example, Lizzie and Carson, her uncle/laird of the clan, both mention a few memories from the past - these memories would lead one to believe that Lizzie's childhood with him was quite a good one - but Lizzie hates Carson and Carson uses Lizzie without even the slightest hint of remorse... There's also no coming to a head for this, there's no confrontation between Lizzie and Carson, Lizzie and Jack and Gordon (who was a dumb character who really didn't need to be included) simply run off to London and the king, in all his infinite wisdom, immediately fixes everything. I wanted *LIZZIE AND JACK* to fix things. Will they always run off to someone else each time they need help? Then, at the end of the novel, there's vague mentions about Jack's father being unkind to women; it's mentioned to give Jack an "excuse" not to marry Lizzie, whom he loves by that point, but there's only vague references and only at the end of the book. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Lizzie seems to adore her father but, again, there's only a handful of vague references about this. Even Charlotte and Lizzie, who are supposed to be sisters, don't seem all that close.
In all honesty, I was far more interested in the relationship between Charlotte and Newton, her guard. I would have loved to see that relationship build, in part because of the subtlety and the genuine affection you could see flourishing (slowly) between them. But Lizzie was too obsessed with "hating" Jack to even ask Charlotte about it, which seems like rather selfish behavior for a sister (how can you live with someone their whole life and not have the fainest idea they care for someone you see them with daily??).
Like I said, in all honesty I didn't *HATE* this book, but I didn't really love it either. I'm a habitual re-reader, I almost always read an old favorite in between new novels, and I can say that the chances of me returning to this novel are slim to none. I just wasn't in love with their love story, and found a lot of the meatier background information sorely lacking. With this novel I spent more time going "Oh get over yourselves already!!" or "Lizzie, omfg, just let him hold the damn flower pot instead of acting like a child and fighting with him over it!" than "Awwww!" or "Ooooh!" or "Omg, how will they get over this?!".