This is the first book that I have read by Isobel Carr. I deliberately stayed away from the first book in the series titled the League of Second Sons (“Ripe for Pleasure”) because the heroine is a courtesan. This is a trope that I generally detest. But, it did put Carr on my radar, and I was excited to get an ARC of “Ripe for Scandal.”
When I was reading this book, I felt as if I was in an emotional minefield. I love stories with heroines who are in love with their older brothers’ friends. And this aspect is definitely what appealed to me most in Carr’s book. But, I got seriously annoyed and frustrated with so many of the plot choices. Neither Beau’s family nor Gareth’s believe the two should wed. Beau’s brother Leo physically battles Gareth, blackballs him from their second sons’ club and refuses to listen to any of the details surrounding the kidnapping.
Meanwhile, Gareth’s family is even worse. Gareth is not supposed to have his own life. His family does not accept his marriage to Beau and even attempts to break it up. Gareth’s brother actually foists his (legitimate) son and true heir from a marriage he plans to keep hidden off on Gareth and Beau demanding that Gareth pretend that he is the boy’s father. Later, Gareth’s father expects Gareth to sacrifice his marriage in order to clean up after his brother. I wanted to scream at these characters.
But while I was reading through these scenes where I wanted to strangle several characters, I was surprised (and happy) with how Beau and Gareth responded. Rather than tearing the couple apart, Beau and Gareth were quite unwilling to let their families pull them apart. The couple actually grew closer in response to the idiocy that they had to face from their family.
Beau and Gareth’s relationship is the best and strongest part of this story. I so enjoyed their journey to true love. While I didn’t like either’s family, I understood their part in the plot. But, I was a bit mystified about the resolution to the storyline surrounding Gareth’s nephew, brother and secret marriage. Carr didn’t seem to wrap it up entirely. I’m still wondering if Gareth’s family intends to accept the boy as the heir or if they will push for Gareth to take his brother’s place.
So although I did have some issues with the plot, I really connected with both Beau and Gareth. And I enjoyed their happily ever after. Beau is a strong and sassy heroine who believes in going after what she wants, and Gareth complements her so well. I like the idea of the League of Second Sons, and will be checking out future stories in the series.