This is Sarah MacLean’s third historical romance series that was published between 2015 and 2017. It follows a group of characters who are all part of various scandals and how it impacts their relationships with their love interests and with society itself.
I was going to put these in my historical mini review series (I have five parts up and am working on part six ooops) but since I read this whole series before I posted part six of the mini reviews, I figured might as well do a series review!! I usually don’t do these because there are months between me starting the series and finishing it. Which is lame because honestly reading almost all the Bridgerton books back to back was a grand time.
See my series review of Bridgerton here.
Overall thoughts: I love Sarah MacLean’s books so much and reading this series was a joy. I honestly think I would have gotten into historical romance a lot sooner if I had started with her books. But it does not matter because we are here now.
BOOK ONE – THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN
Plot: Sophie is the youngest and plainest of the Talbot sisters. Despite being the least scandalous of her sisters, she causes a ~scandal~ at a society event and she decides to just leave society and go back to the small town she grew up in. She tries to steal away a carriage and ends up stealing King’s (yes his name is King and I forgot the rest of it) carriage. They end up stuck traveling together despite not liking each other.
Y’all I LOVED THIS ONE! King and Sophie were such good characters, and I loved their POVs. There were a few moments that I was just like “okay we get it” but for most of the novel I loved them and their journeys. I even ended tearing up at the end.
Their chemistry and how they go from “enemies” to we tolerate each other to into each other was SO GOOD. I loved how this one took some turns that I didn’t expect. I thought I saw a few things coming and then they did happen, but not in the way I thought it would.
Honestly I don’t have much else to say about this one except I LOVED IT and Sarah MacLean is quickly becoming one of my favorite romance authors. I liked it so much I didn’t pick up a historical romance for like two months because I could not get over it. Also, this is basically a road trip book which is one of my favorite tropes.
BOOK TWO – A SCOT IN THE DARK
TW: gaslighting, the historical equivalent of someone you trusted leaking your nudes, death of parents
Plot: Lily has been forgetten by everyone. Her parents are dead and her guardian, a duke, has never even visited her. Alec, a releculant duke, has no idea that he even has a ward. But, when Lily causes a massive scandal that cannot be ignored, Alec comes to London with the only goal to get Lily married.
Alec is King’s (from book one) best friend.
I really am enjoying this series and Sarah MacLean so I had a fun time with this one, despite the plot not being my favorite. Lily and Alec have great banter and I loved both of their individual journeys. Lily is so used to being alone it was nice to see her make friends and grow as a person while also falling in love.
My only complaint, which is the reason that I gave this under 4 stars, is the last 100 page were frusterating. Lily and Alec have the same argument over and over and it was a pain. They had the same argument so many times that I honesly was not sure they should be together because it did not seem like they could get past certain things.
But, this has all the hallmarks of a Sarah MacLean novel, a man who does not think he is good enough & has baggage and a strong woman who wants to make her place in the world.
BOOK THREE – THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS
TW: miscarriage/still birth, grief
Plot: Sera and Malcom have been separated for three years when Sera shows up demanding a divorce. Mal’s condition is that she come stay with him to pick her replacement. He clearly wants to convince her to stay with him.
Sera is Sophie’s (from book one) eldest sister.
This is one of Sarah MacLean’s most popular novels so I was a bit hesitant going in. I am not a fan of the “marriage in trouble” trope and I knew that was featured here. I also had tried to read this own before (I own a copy) and I could not get into the story. But, after reading the first two books and seeing the set up for this plot I was HYPED.
In the end, I am unsure how I feel about this one. This is a well written and emotional story, but I do not love the marriage in crisis trope and nonlinear timelines and this had both. I really struggle with nonlinear timelines when we get both POVs in past and present which this had and it really took me out of the plot. I had a hard time following the story for the first 50 or so pages which was not fun.
I felt for Mal and Sera and liked parts of their story, but it just was not for me.
It was fine in that it’s a Sarah MacLean novel and I love this world, but it did not grip me the way the previous two books did.
This side characters are the best part of this novel and honestly what I liked best was seeing Caleb and Sesily (another Talbot sister) meet because they are the main characters in Sarah’s latest Bombshell which I ADORED. I cannot believe Sarah wrote this in 2017 and then wrote a whole series between this one and Bombshell.
Sarah’s books are full of cameos of characters from her other books which is cool, but definitely makes it worth to read them in order. Which I have not done at all. This is the only series of hers I’ve read in order by her. I need to read her first series and finish her second and then I will have read all of her books. But, I am so hyped to finish reading her backlist because I loveee her books (even when they are not my cup of tea)
Thanks for reading!