Oh, Ms. MacLean. Sometimes I really enjoy your books. Mostly I like ‘em. And then sometimes I want to burn them to the ground. This one falls between liking and burning in a back alley trash can so it won’t be the most positive review.
This is the story of Lillian Hargrove, ward of the Duke of Warnick, and Alec, said duke. Alec learns of Lillian’s existence as his ward when his solicitor writes to tell him of the scandal she’s caused. Lillian was spending time with artist and actor Derek Hawkins. Believing that they were in love Lillian posed for a nude painting for him. Derek, twatwaffle that he is, then uses his “masterpiece” to become the central exhibit of the Royal Exhibition. Lillian is made a scandal, and therefore Alec comes to protect her.
And Alec is a Protector, capital P. He’s huge, he’s Scottish, and he will supposedly do anything to keep Lillian “safe”. He was obnoxious. I love a well written protector, but that was not he. His insane jealousy at any other man touching Lillian, while at the same time denying any and all feelings he has about her for most of the story did not a romantic hero make. And it was every frickin’ time. Someone, anyone touches her, looks at her, etc. Boom. Anger. How dare they?! Ick. Also when they meet she is 23, almost 24 and he’s in his 30’s. His is forever upset on her going anywhere without him. She’s been on her own, and besides above noted misstep, is clearly able to survive without him.
Also, this is just a side note, but Ms. MacLean has stated that this series is based on our current celebrity gossip and people like the Kardashian’s. This one way more so than the first, is incredibly heavy handed. It felt like she was laying it on quite thick alluding to the whole “naked pictures of you used without your permission”. I get what she’s trying to say, and I completely agree with her, but it was just too much for me.
Overall, this was one of her more frustrating books. I didn’t hate it like the framed for murder one, but I definitely will never return to this one. I’m just really glad I didn’t buy it. Library it if you’re a completist, but otherwise MacLean has better ones out there, and unlike many at least the cover was pretty to look at.