I read Caroline Linden’s best book first. It’s One Night in London from the trilogy “The Truth About the Duke”, but I haven’t gotten around to reviewing it yet, although it is on my “Re-Read and Review List. (Linden books I have gotten around to reviewing can be found here.) Having enjoyed that first book so much, I bought the trilogy and now everything else she writes, but her most recent efforts took a turn that has left me wanting something more from her. It’s not that the writing went south, I really like Linden, but that she went in a different direction. In that first series the main characters, especially the women, had more grit and in her current Scandal series they are younger and less tried by life and therefore simply less my taste.
From Amazon: Douglas Bennet can’t resist a good wager, especially not one that involves a beautiful woman. When a friend proposes an audacious plan to expose the most notorious woman in England, Douglas agrees at once. After all, it would be quite a coup to discover the true identity of Lady Constance, author of the infamous erotic serial scandalizing the ton, 50 Ways to Sin…Madeline Wilde is used to being pursued. For years she’s cultivated a reputation for being unattainable and mysterious, and for good reason: her livelihood depends on discretion. When Douglas turns his legendary charm on her, she dismisses him as just another rake. But he surprises her—instead of merely trying to seduce her, he becomes her friend…her confidant…and her lover. But can it really lead to happily-ever-after…or are they about to become the biggest scandal London has ever seen?
I liked Douglas, he was charming and Constance provided a nice counterpart to his smooth moves. Of course, I forgot this was a novella while I was reading it and wondered why things were moving so quickly before I clued in and the story ended. Those two events were virtually simultaneous.
As I noted in my review of It Takes a Scandal: Linden’s Scandals series has a running joke about an erotic publication that young women are trying to get their hands on. It’s a monthly pamphlet they must scour the bookstores for and not get caught. Did such a thing really exist? I find it hard to believe and, while I appreciate the effort to bring greater sexual awareness to the inexperienced heroines, ready access to erotica seems extraordinarily unlikely… but I am not a historian so maybe sheltered debutantes were devouring Fanny Hill once their maids braided their hair for sleeping, but I think it unlikely (again, with nothing to go on other than my admittedly vague and now skewed-by-romance understanding of 19th century mores).
I will likely continue to read Caroline Linden’s novels, but not necessarily pay for them, and hope that the next series she writes is closer to my tastes. To be fair, I say the same thing of Tessa Dare at the moment, so let me be clear: It’s not you, dear, wonderful authors, it’s me.