This was another book I was anticipating, as Sarah Maclean is another of my favorite authors, and it’s another book that hasn’t lived up to my expectations. This is supposed to be a road trip romance, crossed with a take on the scandalous lives of a family of sisters in the mold of the Kardashians of the Regency set. After all, their names all start with the same letter, S…which I can’t be bothered to remember at this point.
Sophie Talbot is the ‘unfun’ sister, who stumbles upon her brother-in-law pleasuring a woman who is not his wife. Sophie ends up pushing him into the fish pond, and this act is witnessed by the members of the party who all judge her for this. The Talbot sisters have been considered as the ‘Soiled S’s” for their scandalous behaviour, and by this act, Sophie is judged to be just as bad.
To avoid her family’s outrage, Sophie escapes the party and ends up running into the Marquess of Eversley escaping his own tryst. He is known as King, since his name is Kingscote, and he is the usual arrogant, cocky rake who escapes out of the windows of his lovers. Long story short, Sophie decides to switch places with one of King’s footmen, taking that young man’s livery and sending him to apply for work with her father. She thinks that King’s carriage will take him back to Mayfair, and then she can sneak home without anyone noticing her. Wrong…the carriage is heading out of London, and she is stuck in the livery that doesn’t fit her, in a situation she wasn’t expecting. And strangely, no one seems to notice that she’s not a boy, despite the fact she is wearing her dancing slippers, and she has a bosom that is obviously too big for the clothing. It takes King to notice all of this, of course.
After he discovered her ruse, and they have to share a carriage towards his family home (which is conveniently close to where she grew up), the two of them are constantly sniping at each other. I love a good round of banter, but these two left me bored. I lost track of how many times ‘he cut her a look’, or she was outraged at his comments. I never really felt the chemistry between them that I usually do in a Sarah Maclean book. I think in the past series based on The Fallen Angel gambling hell, the rogues were more clearly defined. Bourne, Cross and Temple had their backstories explained early on in the books, and while they were scoundrels, we understood why they were and why they acted as they did. King, on the other hand, is not written the same. He just comes across as an ass, and it’s not till later in the book that we find out why.
Of course he has his reasons for heading home to see his supposed dying father, and she has her reasons for returning to the village where she grew up. Neither reason turns out to be viable, and the two of them find themselves together again. I just couldn’t care about them, but I read through to the end of the book anyway. They get their HEA, of course, implausible as it seemed.