Wow, is it hot in here? I think I need to open a window because my goodness was this a steamy read. When the Scoundrel Sins is the second book in the Capturing the Carlisles series and it is certainly a hot and heavy romance. The characters definitely have a lot of chemistry, the strong-willed bluestocking meeting her match with an impish rakehell. I loved the sass and teasing between the characters throughout the novel that kept their romance sizzling, straddling that line between childhood friends and potentially something more.
I was extremely happy with how the book discussed marriage, and in particular a pesky piece of common law called coverture, which stated that a husband and wife were considered to be one being legally. What this of course meant for women was that they forfeited any rights, property, wages, even custody of themselves and their children, over to their husband.
“She knew the prison a marriage could be. The moment a woman married, everything she possessed—including her body—became the property of her husband, for him to mete out affection or punishment as he saw fit. Including taking away her property. Including beating her, if she failed to do as he wanted. There was nothing the law or the Church would do to stop him.”
This legal doctrine was still prevalent during this time period and so it was refreshing to see a historical romance novel acknowledge the realistic, and often sad, position of women in that time period when it came to marriage. This law becomes the backbone of the predicament that Annabelle finds herself in, wanting to protect her inheritance she’s fearful of marriage (and rightfully so). I admired Annabelle’s determination to live life by her own rules, even when all the odds are stacked against her because of her gender. Lady Ainsley is another wonderful character, strong-willed, perceptive, and a wise guiding figure.
I also greatly appreciated how the book tackles the very real fears about love, or rather, of loving someone and letting them love you in return. Love doesn’t come easy, sometimes we don’t see it even when it’s in front of us and it will always bring heartache and suffering. This is a difficult emotional issue for many and I appreciated that it is handled with some delicacy. The book had a lot of things going for it, so much more than I’ve already gone over and can’t really talk about due to spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that.
“It was silly, she supposed, how much she wanted in a marriage. Like something from a fairy tale, she wanted to love and be loved.”
The one thing that I find a little exhausting is the extreme sway between hot and cold in the development of the romance which also happened in the first book in the series. The characters sleep together, they fight about something that should be simple, sleep together again, then fight again immediately after, et cetera. There is also a degree of insta-lust between the characters which made it difficult for me to get into the novel at the start. Sure they were childhood friends and had a bad experience in the past, but they hadn’t seen each other in several years and Quinn is mildly annoying by how much he paws at Annabelle. While it certainly keeps the “excitement” going over the course of the novel, I guess as a personal preference I like a little more build up and for the romance to develop better before characters leap into bed together. Thankfully the other characters and the story after it had time to develop really made this book shine and makes up for the awkward beginning.
I enjoyed this book a great deal more than the first and I’m glad that I continued the series. I definitely look forward to reading the third and final book of the series and finishing up the Carlisle Brothers’ misadverntures in love. Even though the time frames in the books are in chronological order they can be read as standalones and don’t need to be read in any particular order. If you’re looking for a wonderfully steamy read with a little action, a couple of laughs, and a truly sizzling pair then I definitely recommend this book.
Annabelle Green needs a husband-and quickly. To inherit the only home she’s ever known, she must be married by her twenty-fifth birthday. But finding a suitor has been next to impossible after a reckless rogue named Quinton Carlisle seduced her into a scandalous midnight tryst. Her reputation in ruins, Belle now needs a rather large favor. And she knows just who to turn to . . .
Quinn can hardly believe that the shy bookish girl he teased as a child has grown into such a brazen beauty. The very idea of marrying Belle to right the wrongs of his past is downright shocking . . . and deliciously tempting. Too bad marriage, convenient or otherwise, is the last thing Quinn wants. He’ll help Belle find a husband and be on his way. But if he can’t control his attraction to the bride-to-be, this marriage could go up in flames-of wicked desire.