Caroline Linden finally delivers answers to the questions she left us with at the end of Love in the Time of Scandal. This is Olivia’s story. She was the widow with a big secret and the super creepy stalker, Lord Clary. She is also the woman who should have married Penelope’s brother, Jamie. This story is both a mystery and a reunited lovers story. And it finally unmasks the elusive Lady Constance, whose stories have titillated characters in every book of the series.
Olivia and Jamie were the best of childhood friends, until that turned into something more. They planned to marry, but her parents gave her to another man. She never got over her lost love, but now that her husband is dead, she has even bigger problems. Lord Clary wants something from her, something that belonged to her husband, and her safety depends on figuring out what that is –and on staying as far away from Clary as possible. Even with all the years that have passed, she knows Jamie will help her, so she seeks him out, and he totally comes through.
It’s sad at first to see how their separation has so deeply affected them both. Linden does a great job really making me feel for each character. I felt their hurt, but I couldn’t really fault either one of them for what happened. That made it super easy to root for their reunion. It takes a little while to make the first step, but they have such a great dynamic, I didn’t feel bored or impatient waiting for them to get there.
Olivia feels much stronger in this book than she was portrayed in the last one. She is brave, but not to the point of being foolish. She knows when to be careful and when to ask for help. Jamie is clearly devoted to her and will do whatever it takes to keep her safe. It’s a great quality in a hero and together they both made me warm and fuzzy. There are a handful of good love scenes, but for me, they were a second place to a love story.
The mystery about Olivia’s husband and his secrets was ok. Clary is adequately menacing but had little depth. He is just a big Bad Guy in a story that needs one. This part of the book was really more the back drop to let the romance unfold.
I did like the part Lady Constance plays in the story, and how 50 Ways to Sin ended up really relevant to how everything went down. I was definitely surprised, so thumbs up there.
Overall, it was a quick and satisfying romance and a great way to end the series. You could read this as a standalone, but it would be better if you read Love in the Time of Scandal first.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
Six Degrees of Scandal
by Caroline Linden
Release Date: March 29, 2016