A Study in Scandal
We have all heard of 50 Shades of Grey, but how many have heard of 50 Ways to Sin? In Caroline Linden’s Scandalous series, the heroines are all introduced in some manner to the rather titilating tales from this series of pamphlets, and use their new-found knowledge to their advantage. In this short novella, we meet what is quite possibly the cutest couple ever, and while the mentions of 50 Ways to Sin might be few, it obviously makes an impact on our heroine.
Lady Samantha Lennox is absolutely terrified of her father, the Earl of Stratford. And now that she has to go and tell him she stole from him and lied about it for years, she, and her mother and brother, are beyond worried. For good reason, too – once told, her father decides to betroth her to an absolutely repulsive and cruel man, with absolutely no way for Samantha to back out or change his mind. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, when Samantha decides she needs some air, takes a walk, and impulsively boards the public carriage for London.
When she gets there, she ends up rather lost, and then practically kidnapped by street thugs, most likely looking to sell her to a brothel. Luckily, she had captured the attention of a young man who followed them, rescuing her from the brigands and bringing her back to his lodgings to the warmth and care of his landlady. Surprisingly enough, the gentleman is one Lord George Churchill-Gray, son of the Duke of Rowland. Lord George, generally known as Gray, may be the son of a duke, but his passion is art – his dream is to have his paintings exhibited by the Royal Academy. When he first sees Samantha, all he can think about is how he would love to sketch her. After spending some time with her, however, he very quickly finds himself falling for her.
I can’t say I blame Gray for how quickly he develops feelings for Samantha – she’s sweet and scared, a combination sure to bring out the protective instincts in anyone, especially a man of the times.
I have decided that Samantha and Gray are the cutest couple in the history of cute. They are absolutely the sweetest couple I’ve read in quite a while. At one point, Gray is asking Samantha if she can draw or paint – after all, most ladies of the time do – and she quickly sketches a little bunny. His response? To add a skunk, obviously courting her bunny. It’s adorable.
Luckily, all this sugar-sweet is combined with the very real issue of Samantha’s father, and the looming marriage she is doing her best to avoid.
I was a little disappointed with Samantha’s (very brief) foray into amnesia. It didn’t really fit other than as a way to delay her departure. And it wasn’t even necessary, as Gray wasn’t going to make her leave anyway. That little segue didn’t really work with the rest of the story, but luckily, it was a really short sequence.
Overall, though, I really enjoyed A Study in Scandal. There is quite a bit of character development for a novella, and I really liked the principals. Gray is focused on his art, but still attentive towards Samantha and obviously head-over-heels for her. Samantha uses this time away from her father to develop as an individual and to fall more than a bit in love with Gray herself.
This novella is sweet and fun and fluffy in all the right ways. And now I’m off to get my hands on, oh, every other book in the series.