Happy release day to Six Degrees of Scandal, the fourth book in the Scandalous series, by Caroline Linden!!!
Olivia Townsend is in trouble and out of options. Pursued by a desperate man in search of a lost treasure, which she doesn’t have, 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 this time, no matter what, she can’t help but hope things will be different this time.
James Weston has blamed himself for letting Olivia down when she needed him years ago, and he will not do it again. Fortunately, his unusual life has equipped him well to outsmart the villain chasing Olivia. Unfortunately, being so near her again threatens to expose every secret in his heart…even those that should stay hidden forever.
Olivia Herbert knew James Weston was a rogue the first time he winked at her, one fine Sunday morning in August when butterflies were riding warm drafts of air through the open door of St. Godfrey’s and Mr. Bunce the curate was droning on and on as if he meant to put every person in the church to sleep.
She was staving off the urge to do just that by watching the butterflies. James Weston, it turned out, was watching her. As her gaze followed one butterfly—a delicate white one with spots of blue on its wings, who swooped and glided effortlessly on the hazy air—it connected with James’s. His family was sitting in the next pew over, and when their eyes met, the impudent boy winked at her.
She looked away at once. Not only had he caught her woolgathering, wishing she could flit about the church and out the door like that butterfly, but it was probably a sin to wink in church. With some effort she tried to focus her mind on the sermon, but within moments a bee flew overhead, and once again, quite independently of any wish to be well-behaved, her eyes tracked the insect as it buzzed away, right toward the Weston pew.
This time when he caught her eye, he grinned. Slowly he raised one hand, and with small, cautious movements, pretended to flick the bee as it flew by. Then he screwed up his face and mimed being stung, shaking his finger and sticking it into his mouth.
Olivia couldn’t help it. She smiled, and a tiny giggle shook her shoulders. His grin grew wider, and he wiggled his eyebrows at her.
A sharp jab in her side made Olivia hastily jerk her gaze back to Mr. Bunce, whose voice had settled into a low drone, as if he, too, were falling asleep. Beside her, Mother glared from the corner of her eye. Olivia repressed a sigh. Ladies didn’t giggle in church, and Mother was determined that Olivia would be a lady.
Mother didn’t even wait until they reached home. Her scolding began as they walked to their carriage after the service. “Olivia Herbert, what were you thinking? Laughing in church! What a common, hoydenish thing to do.”
“I’m sorry, Mother.”
“And making eyes at that boy.” Mother didn’t grimace, but her tone dripped with distaste. “Those upstart Westons.”
“Upstarts they may be, but well-heeled ones.” Father spoke for the first time, giving Olivia a measuring glance. “She could do worse.”
Mother gasped. “Thomas Weston is an attorney. I want better for our daughters, Sir Alfred.”
“You’ve got to be practical, madam.” Father waited as the footman helped them into the carriage. “Our girls won’t have much to attract a noble husband.”
“Only their beauty.” Mother’s gaze softened as she looked at Olivia and her younger sister, Daphne. “A lady’s face, along with her sweet temper and amiable disposition, are her greatest assets, girls.”
“Yes, Mother,” piped up Daphne. “I’ll make you proud and marry a royal duke!”
Mother laughed gently. “I’m sure you will, my beautiful darling.” It was already clear that Daphne took after her mother. Olivia wasn’t sure if she took after her father or not; Father was often preoccupied with rank and money, and he was very fond of wagering on the horse races, none of which appealed to her. But at the same time, Olivia didn’t share her mother’s keen interest in fashion or ladylike accomplishments. She supposed she might as she grew older, but at the advanced age of ten she wasn’t much interested in sizing up potential husbands.
About the Author:
Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer software before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, twelve books, three Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision. Her books have won the NEC Reader’s Choice Beanpot Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. Since she never won any prizes in math, she takes this as a sign that her decision was also a smart one. Visit her online at www.carolinelinden.com.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
5 out of 5 stars
While this is not the first time me reading a Caroline Linden book, this is my first time reading a book in her Scandalous series because while I actually own the first three books in this series I wasn't able to read them in time for me to read this book since I unexpectedly fell into a book slump this month. Thankfully Six Degrees of Scandal reads really well as a standalone and I was able to really get into the story and enjoyed it so much.
The story which follows a widow as she reignites her relationship with her childhood love as he helps her get out of some trouble caused by her late husband's unsavory business practices was everything. I'm a huge fan of second chance romances and loved the way that the author went about it in this historical setting. I especially loved that the story starts with Olivia and James as children so that the reader can 100% understand the history between the two of them before we see them as adults. It makes the story more satisfying to have seen them as children and then see how strong the feelings between them still are after a decade apart.
But while I loved the romance to pieces in this book what I really loved in this book is all the chaos that was going on thanks to the actions of Olivia's late husband Henry Townsend and Lord Clary. It was all very exciting and I loved the way that Olivia and Jamie banded together to take down Clary and make him pay for all the things he had down to them and the people they loved. And talking about the ones they loved, I loved how much the author included the couples of previous books in this story. While I had not read the previous books in this story, I loved their appearances and am now more anxious than ever to get around to finally reading the first three books soon.
Overall, I really loved this book. It was absolutely amazing and while I had not read the first three books in the Scandalous series, I could still totally see that this really was a perfect ending to a series and I highly recommend it to all historical romance fans.
Link to the rest of the tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2016/02/six-degrees-of-scandal-scandalous-4-by.html