A Study in Scandal by Caroline Linden
Book 3.5 of the Scandalous series
Publication Date: February 17, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC sent by the author
Summary (from Goodreads):
After a youthful infatuation went terribly wrong, Lady Samantha Lennox gave up all thought of suitors and happily-ever-after. But when she angers her strict and demanding father, the Earl of Stratford, he retaliates by arranging a marriage for her to a man she could never admire, much less love. In a panic, Samantha flees to London, only to find herself lost, alone, and nearly kidnapped—until an unlikely hero saves her.
Lord George Churchill-Gray is an artist, not a knight in shining armor, but he doesn’t hesitate to rescue Samantha from disaster and offer her temporary sanctuary. He wouldn’t mind if she repaid him by modeling for his latest painting. He’s enchanted by her face… her smile… all of her, really. But with every study he sketches, he falls a little more in love with her, and Samantha begins to suspect her scandalous actions might lead to the sort of love she never thought to find…
What I Liked:
Note: I received this book for free from the author. I was not compensated for my review, nor did the source of the copy affect my opinion of this book at all.
Ah, this series is a favorite of mine. I adored the previous books and novella, and I just recently read and enjoyed the fourth full-length novel, Six Degrees of Scandal. Each pair's story is so unique and lovely, and I especially love just how connected and interwoven the plots of each book are, even though this series is a companion series. If you're a historical romance fan, I highly recommend this Scandalous series!
In this novella, we have Lady Samantha's story. Years ago, Samantha stole money from her father to help her neighbor and friend, Sebastian (read his story in It Takes a Scandal). Years later, Samantha confesses to her father so that Sebastian's name will be cleared. At first, her father does not seem angry (which is out of character); but then he decides that Samantha will marry a brute of a man, in a month's time. Samantha runs away, only to become lost and almost kidnapped in London. If not for a dashing artist painting nearby, Samantha might have disappeared forever. Lord George Churchill-Gray, son of the Duke of Rowland, is more concerned with his artwork than his title. When he saves Samantha from kidnappers, he offers her his place temporarily. But weeks pass and the pair can't deny their attraction. Will Samantha leave her life in Richmond behind?
This story was short, which is to be expected - it's a novella. I love how Linden is able to fit in a beautiful and very developed story in such a short space. We get all of the wonderful aspects of a historical romance novel,, but in a compact form. In this novella, time moves slowly at first. Only a few days pass between Samantha telling her father that she stole money from him years ago, and her fleeing to London when her father tells her about her new marriage. But when Gray saves her and takes her in, time starts to move faster. Weeks pass. So there is no case of an undeveloped relationship, though it might seem that way.
I can't remember how I felt about Samantha in previous books, but I think I liked her more than I did in previous books. In this novella, she is determined to take her fate into her own hands, even if she doesn't realize that is what she is doing. She accepts help from Gray, and while living in his apartment, she takes to helping the landlady and servant with small things. Samantha has a strength of character that we don't always see in historical romance novels.
Ahh, Gray. He has an artist's heart, and a noble one too. He generously offers his apartment to Samantha; he knows that she is more than she says she is, and he wants to help a lady in a bad situation. He's the son of the Duke of Rowland, but he does not flaunt his title and he isn't interested in multitudes of women. He and Samantha are such a perfect pair; quiet souls, appreciative of the arts, and rich in intelligence.
I remember seeing the pair in Six Degrees of Scandal and wondering, when did Samantha get married? Who is Gray? So while I wish I had held off a few days longer before reading Six Degrees of Scandal, I'm really glad I had the chance to read this novella, and Linden wrote it at all! Samantha probably wasn't one of my favorite characters earlier in the series (for good reason), but I really liked to experience a different side of her, in this novella.
Overall, an excellent addition to the series! I usually don't bother with novellas, but this one was definitely worth the time. If you enjoy Linden's books, or historical romance novels in general, I recommend this novella and series!
What I Did Not Like:
It's a novella but I can't help but want more!
Would I Recommend It:
If you've read any of Linden's books, I'd definitely recommend this one too. Like I said, I'm usually someone who doesn't bother with novellas, but I really, really enjoyed this one. It adds nicely to the series too, as Gray plays a pretty important role in Six Degrees of Scandal.
4 stars. If you couldn't tell, I'm a huge fan of this series! I wonder if there will be more books (or novellas) to follow. I would love to read more!
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