22 May 2009

Highland Scandal.

In Highland Scandal, by Julia London, Jankin Haines (Jack) - Earl of Lambourne, is heading deeper into the Highlands to escape the prince's bounty hunters, who want him for questioning in a royal scandal, or Delicate Investigation, of Princess Caroline's ehm....boudoir activities.
While fleeing the bounty hunter's hot on his trail, Jack is captured by men of the Beal Clan, and taken to their Laird, Carson Beal. Carson has quite a proposition for Jack: he keeps Jack safe from the royal bounty hunters - but only if he agrees to a handfasting to his niece Elizabeth Drummond Beal (Lizzie), who is in dire need of money since her father's passing. Carson forces the handfasting on them and they have no choice but to accept. (A handfasting is like a marriage - for a year and a day, if the couple makes it that far, at the end of the allotted time, either they decide to stay together and make it official, or they simply leave.)
Jack, reacting rather lightly at first to this situation seemingly just chooses to go with the flow - until he can find the perfect time to escape this madness. But Lizzie definitely has other plans for her worsened situation and possibly ruined reputation and tries to escape the very first night to return home to her sister Charlotte - who has lost the use of her legs and is being watched closely by one of Carson's men; Newton, only her escape does not go so well, and she is shortly returned to the one room she and Jack are forced to share. Ultimately she has no choice but to just stick it out while her cruel Uncle parades her with Jack in public, to make sure tongues begin to wag, and eventually reach the ear of Mr. Gavin Gordon, whom Lizzie has an understanding with (to be married someday) as soon as her Uncle Carson agrees. But that is never going to happen, because Gavin is a Gordon, and no Gordon shall ever own Beal land.
That explanation from Carson seems to be working, until it strikes Jack that there is something other than Gavin's last name that is driving Carson to such bold actions, when he comes across horse tracks in Thorntree (Lizzie's and her sister's estate), and is determined to find out what's really going on in Carson's head, in which he does so with the help of Lizzie and Mr. Gordon, who has returned to Lizzie after receiving a letter she sent him shortly after Carson decided to send her and Jack home to Thorntree. Only when Mr. Gordon arrives, Lizzie is not so sure she really wants him any more after being seduced by Jack and his roguish ways.
I think this is my favorite book yet by Julia London. This story really had me worried at the end for Jack's fate when he decided to do the unthinkable - return to London to do what only he could to help Lizzie keep Thorntree and save her reputation. He risked everything for her and that just made me love Jack even more, he is my favorite hero she has written thus far. Another aspect of this story I enjoyed, was Newton and Charlotte. I saw it coming between them, but it was so heartwarming that I didn't care about that predictability. This was a fun and wonderful read, especially since I thought, a couple of times, that Lizzie would not give her heart to Jack and that really worried me, and made me wonder just how this story might go. Perfectly happy ending, just what I was in the mood for.
This was the second book in Julia London's Scandalous series, the third installment A Courtesan's Scandal is due out in November of this year. (Book one was: The Book of Scandal.)


Ladybug said...

Sounds like a great book with a happy ending. I have to read this series, I think :)

Ladybug said...

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naida said...

This does sound like a good read, great review.