Marriage Most Scandalous by Johanna Lindsey

Marriage Most Scandalous by Johanna Lindsey
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (295 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When Sebastian Townshend, son of the eighth Earl of Edgewood, was banished from his family due to the tragic results of a duel, he vowed never to return to England. Now living on the continent, Sebastian has forged a new identity as a deadly mercenary, The Raven. But his former neighbor, Lady Margaret Landor, has different plans for him. Back in England, Sebastian’s father has had several accidents and Margaret suspects foul play and deception that reach as far back as the infamous duel. Convinced that only Sebastian can set the situation to rights, Margaret arranges a scandalous bargain with him that includes Sebastian’s returning home as her husband. As the newlyweds uncover a deadly scheme, a fierce passion blossoms between them, which neither anticipated — and neither can resist.

I always hope for a happy ever after that satisfies but in Marriage Most Scandalous, the HEA was convoluted, shocking, amazing and yet for all of that, 100% fulfilling. This might be a slightly older book of Ms. Lindsey’s but it packs a powerful romantic punch such that if readers had missed this novel when first published, I encourage them to wait no longer. It’s a great romance!

The book starts off with a predictable scene for the times – a duel of honor. The ending of that prologue was emotional to say the least but the ramifications are felt 11 years into the future and none of them are good. What follows comes about because feisty Lady Maggie won’t quit and is determined to see her goal reached. What she does not know becomes clear and yet what she wants to know becomes integral to her journey. What no one realizes is that Maggie has set in motion of chain of events that no one could have predicted.

I laughed at how she got Sebastian to help her. I liked how grumpy he was and when he tried his The Raven glare at her, she sassed him right back. Maggie refused to let him get to her. But, eventually he does get to her, in the best of ways. And, true to romantic tradition, she gets him right back and softens him up like warmed up clay – still some lumps in there but she won’t totally give up until Sebastian reaches his full potential. His resistance is futile in the light of final truth.

My emotions were taffy pulled all over the place while reading. There are layers upon layers to unravel and as each one is revealed, the pages kept flipping faster. Each chapter is an exercise in amazement and entertainment. There is a mystery to solve and intrigue to puzzle out. The pace is brisk, the dialogue crisp, sometimes saucy and when Sebastian finally seduces Maggie to the ultimate act, it’s romantically sizzling and satisfying.

I had a blast reading Marriage Most Scandalous, and have no qualms about encouraging readers to discover this treat for themselves. The story is meaty, captivating, and filled with full-bodied characters worth getting to know. I enthusiastically tout this novel as a recommended read.

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