Sunday, December 23, 2012

Review: Scandal In Scotland

Scandal in Scotland (Hurst Amulet #2)

by Karen Hawkins 


Despite fame and countless admirers, actress Marcail Beauchamp has never forgotten William Hurst, the audacious seafarer she once loved...and lost. Now, forced by a mysterious blackmailer who threatens her family, she must steal an ancient onyx box from the one man she's vowed never to see again.
To save his brother from a ruthless abductor, William must deliver the artifact as ransom. He's stunned when Marcail, more lovely than ever, suddenly appears on his ship. But when she drugs him and steals the box, his fury knows no bounds.
William pursues Marcail, but too late: she has already delivered the box. The estranged lovers realize they must work together -- both to regain the artifact that could mean life or death to his family and to destroy the mysterious blackmailer's power over her family. Thus begins a high-stakes quest through the reaches of Scotland, a quest that stirs up long-forgotten memories and an unquenchable passion. . .


Scandal in Scotland was another wonderfully witty and action filled novel by Karen Hawkins. Having read all of the Hurst Amulet series as well as the series that preceded it, I was looking forward to William’s story.  The overall plotline that has been continuing through this series is intriguing and leaves me wondering just what will happen to Michael and how everything will end.
Marcail and William definitely had a rocky relationship and their past affects their present and future greatly.  Marcail returns to William’s life, many years after shattering his heart and leaving him for a richer man.   He’s on his way to deliver the artifact that his brother Michael is being held hostage for.  He returns to port and is confronted with a stowaway in his stateroom.   After she escapes with the artifact, leaving him drugged and tied up on the floor of his cabin, William is determined to make her pay for the humiliation and get the artifact back in time to save his brother.
Marcail travels with the artifact to a small seaside town to hand it over to the mysterious blackmailer that has been plaguing her for the past few years.   She’s sure that she is doing the best thing for everyone by delivering the artifact to her blackmailer, in order to protect her family from her secret life as an actress.   Having forced William from her life she’s focused on her career the past years and helping her family, leaving any chance for romance and relationship by the wayside. Her heart has always belonged to William though and when he finds her and demands the return of the artifact her choices become more varied and she’s forced to make a decision.  Give in to her blackmailer and never have a chance to keep William or give William back the artifact and face the consequences of her secret coming out.
Both Marcail and William are characters that lead their lives in pursuit of a better future for themselves and their families.  William’s family is important to him so he’s willing to give up a lot to save his brother, including a second chance with the love of his life.  He’s spent the last several years since Marcail broke his heart working to amass a fortune, to prove to her and the world that he’s a successful guy worthy of Marcail’s love.  Marcail on the other hand has led a very private and secluded personal life since her breakup with William.  Though many of her peers see her as a typical actress, using her body to her advantage with wealthy men, she’s really only ever had one lover—William.  Taking on the persona of a kept woman has benefited her professionally and kept William safe from those that would use her to hurt him.
There was a lot of passion between Marcail and William, but more in this story than others, there were a lot of emotional fears they had to work through so they could have a relationship again.  Instead of having to prove anything to the world, they now have to work to prove to each other that they have changed for the better and are worthy of each other’s love. There weren't as many laughs in this story as in others in the series, this novel taking a darker turn in a lot of ways.  Once Marcail and William embrace the truth of their pasts, their present and future is open to entirely new possibilities together. 
Working to thwart a blackmailer, get the artifact to Michael in time, and to keep the outside world from tearing them apart, Marcail and William finally learn the most important lesson of their lives.  Love conquers all things.   With them working together instead of against each other events start falling into place and they’re able to accomplish all their goals.
The next book in the story will, I assume, be about their brother Robert and the pretty redheaded spy we meet in this novel.  I can’t wait to find out more about Robert and his true profession, though I have my suspicions already.  It will be interesting to see if Robert catches her in time and is able to keep her this time.  After that, we should finally learn what happens with Michael and the artifacts in Egypt.  I can’t help but ask myself one question though—will the map lead the Hurst Family to their famed amulet or not?

Rating: 3.75 stars
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