Avon, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-06-237942-9
Historical Romance, 2016
I’d like to think that there is a typo in the title, because, my god, A Scot in the Dark sure has plenty of annoying snots running around to irritate the mammaries out of me. The author take pains to ensure that her story stays within the safe, bestselling formula, but nothing about it makes sense. Well, unless I’m to believe that the characters are imbeciles, that is, but even then, the end result is still an annoying rash of a read.
Alec Stuart, the new Duke of Warnick, is Scot. You can tell, because he walks around wearing only his kilt when he’s prowling around his castle, complete with a broadsword on his back – don’t ask me what he does with that – and some dogs trailing after him, because that’s what normal Scots men of the early 19th century do. Need to climb a tree? Wear a kilt. Need to wrestle a yeti? Wear a kilt. Want to prepare a haggis? Stick a broadsword up the duck’s arse.
Anyway, Alec hates everything English, of course, because that’s what real Scots do, you see. He goes everywhere in London in his kilt, because don’t you dare forget even for a second that every DNA in his body is 100% pure Scots, and hating the English is part of that DNA. Well, that doesn’t stop him from having two BFFs – English, of course – from an exclusive men’s club so that they can all go “Yay! We’re like a frat of three now, and we’ll all get books in the series!” Oh, and he likes the English ladies who want a piece of haggis, because he also has to rack up the loverboy score to qualify as a romance hero, you see? And no, that doesn’t make him a big, fat lummox of a hypocrite, not at all.
Lillian Hargrove is ruined, because our heroine allows herself to pose naked for the artist she has fallen in love with. Now, he has given an audience a preview of her best Rose DeWitt Bukater impersonation, and Lily is ruined. Worse, this guy is going to display her heart of the ocean all over England soon, and our heroine is waiting to receive her pocket money so that she can flee and… do something. Fortunately, her guardian is Alec, who has only learned of her existence (he is too busy swinging broadswords while running half-naked in Scotland, although to give where credit is due, he does take care of the tenants well) as well as the scandal, so he comes all the way down to London – with a closet full of kilts, of course – to make sure that she will be married off before more damage is done.
Lily, however, will not accept anything other than a marriage full of love, so she spends the bulk of the story stomping her foot and trying to sabotage Alec’s efforts. She believes that, when she gets her pocket money, she will be able to run away and start a new life somewhere. Think about this: she has a huge dowry, so even if we believe that no man will want to marry her despite that dowry, because she posed naked for a painting, she still believes that some measly pin money is better than, say, getting Alec to do something legal-ish with a lawyer to ensure that she gains some semblance of financial independence after she has married. It’s love or death for Lillian Hargrove, and alas, as this is a romance novel, death is never an option, no matter how joyful that would turn out to be.
And, really, Alec is a duke. One of the highest ranking men in the Ton. And yet… he can’t sic the cops on the artist with some trumped-up charge of blackmailing the heroine into posing for the painting or something? Or just hire some people to steal the painting or toss that artist onto a ship to America? No, he and Lily waste time arguing about her getting married off. When they do think of stealing the painting, they keep botching things up because they either get distracted by talking about themselves midway through the intrigue or they decide to make out instead.
Oh, and I love how Alec, who is described as a bloke who towers over Lily, can have his pee-pee inside her and still be able to place his lips next to her ears. This is not as bad as that story I read ages ago – can’t remember its name – in which the hero can look deep into the heroine’s eyes while eating her out downstairs at the same time, but it only cements my suspicion: these two are probably aliens from a different planet, which explains their plastic-like ability to stretch and contort their body parts as well as the lack of resemblance of their thought processes to a sane human being’s.
At any rate, A Scot in the Dark is a badly constructed snot stain of a story with the added bonus of the hero coming off like a hilarious parody of a Scottish dude and the heroine doing her best impersonation of a broken down vacuum cleaner. All in all, a waste of time and money.