Once Upon a Wedding Night

In Scandal They Wed
by Sophie Jordan
(Avon, $7.99, PG-13)  ISBN 978-006-157921-9
There seems to be a trend to keep some heroes and heroines from being their best, even when they do honorable things. And when two of these creatures get together, there is a tug of war between their honor and their wants; their needs and what they perceive as the way to preserve their psyche. What this leads to is misunderstanding followed by misunderstanding; incorrect assumptions compounded by incorrect assumptions and a lot of unhappy interactions intermixed with periods of good sex.  I don’t find this romantic and I struggle to get through books that make it their plotline. In Scandal They Wed is one such book. 

Evelyn Cosgrove who is known as Evie had a half-sister Linnie, who was ruined. When she gave birth to a son out of wedlock, her mother wanted to dump him at the foundling home, allowing Linnie to act as if nothing had happened and ultimately allowing her to make a good marriage.  Evie just couldn’t stand to see a child abandoned so she is raising him. After all, she had spent part of her childhood in a boarding school that was not a nice place to be. She had also been shipped off to Barbados and was now back after a terrifying experience that involved an almost rape.  (Very few details are given of either of these except to comment on how much they impacted her lack of self-esteem and her fear of the dark). 

Evie moves to the country with her son, Nicholas and lives for four years in poverty but determined to make it.  Meanwhile, Linnie did marry well, but has since died.  Now Evie is estranged from her father and stepmother but carrying on for now. 

Spencer Lockhart is the new Viscount of Winters.  His brothers have all passed and he is left with his stepmother, who he cannot stand nor she him, and his widowed sister-in-law, Adara, who was once the love of his life. She passed him up however, for his titled brother. Spencer is received returned from the Crimean War where he watched his cousin Ian die in battle.  Ian spent all of his time extolling the virtues of his lost love, Linnie and his dying wish was that Spencer find her and his son.  (There was no explanation given as to why Ian left Linnie and his son to begin with or why they never married).   

So Spencer returns and seeks Linnie/Evie. Of course Evie has been lying all along about her child, claiming she is a widow, but when confronted, she lets Spencer think she is Linnie, knowing that if he decided to take Nicholas from her, she could not stop him…he has the law and money on his side. After several arguments and misunderstandings, they decide to marry in Scotland. For Evie it is survival and Nicholas’ future and for Spencer it is a preemptive strike against society dictating that he marries a debutante. They have secrets. Spencer is hiding the fact that he finds her attractive, because that makes him guilty for lusting after Ian’s love. Evie is hiding her true identity as well as her true state…she is a virgin. 

There is no way that they reader can’t foresee all the pitfalls in their path and the author doesn’t disappoint. She throws in a little twist to get Evie thru the consummation of their marriage without Spencer knowing she is a virgin and that one was a tad hard to believe. What was worse was the continual arguing, lying and misinterpretations that came to fruition. Adara, of course, played a role and Evie’s parents ultimately had a hand in their final quarrel. I struggled through this book. Evie wanted to be a good person and did do the right thing by saving the child, but she played the martyr too. Spencer was a good guy, but really had no qualities that made me think of  him as a good match or as a man to fight for.  He was quick to temper and quick to judge while being less than stellar himself.   

There appears to be some connections between Evie and her two friends from the boarding school.  One has already snatched a titled gent and one is sitting in the on deck circle waiting for her story.  Based on In Scandal They Wed, I won’t be jumping at the bit waiting for it. 

--Shirley Lyons

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