Every now and then you come across an author that you should have read, but haven’t. Sarah McLean has been one of these authors. Recently I read some excellent interviews with her, and articles she’s written, including this viral piece about romance bashing and its similarities to slut shaming. I was intrigued about the concept of a series of novels based on modern-day gossip magazines, and further compelled by the strong feminist tone of her media profile, so I immediately ordered her latest release A Scot in the Dark.
I have yet to read a romance novel that is not an advocate for strong heroines; it is a genre written by women for women after all. But A Scot in the Dark goes beyond providing excellent female role models and actively engages with issues facing women today.
Lillian Hargrave faces ruin after posing nude for a portrait by her artist love. She naturally thought it was an intimate picture between them and is horrified when he chooses to exhibit it in front of all of London.
The parallels between the book and the slut-shaming that occurs when naked photos of women wind up on the internet are not subtle. And it made me want to cheer. Many romance novels engage with modern issues, but I can’t recall one that is so unashamedly vocal about it, which you would expect from a book about a woman learning to refuse to be shamed.
I read this book in a day (well an afternoon, evening and wee hours of the morning). It is fast-paced, witty and highly entertaining, and I strongly recommend it. The cast of secondary characters are a vivacious and appealing as the the hero and heroine, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to catching up on their stories as I work my way through her back catalogue over the Christmas break.
From the back cover:
Lonesome Lily turned Scandalous Siren
Miss Lillian Hargrove has lived much of her life alone in a gilded cage, longing for love and companionship. When an artist offers her pretty promises and begs her to pose for a scandalous portrait, Lily doesn’t hesitate . . . until the lying libertine leaves her in disgrace. With the painting now public, Lily has no choice but to turn to the one man who might save her from ruin.
Highland Devil turned Halfhearted Duke
The Duke of Warnick loathes all things English, none more so than the aristocracy. It does not matter that the imposing Scotsman has inherited one of the most venerable dukedoms in Britain—he wants nothing to do with it, especially when he discovers that the unwanted title comes with a troublesome ward, one who is far too old and far too beautiful to be his problem.
Tartan Comes to Town
Warnick arrives in London with a single goal: get the chit married and see her become someone else’s problem, then return to a normal, quiet life in Scotland. It’s the perfect plan, until Lily declares she’ll only marry for love . . . and the Scot finds that there is one thing in England he likes far too much . . .
Get more information about A Scot in the Dark at Sarah’s seriously cool-looking website.