Book Review: Her Scottish Scoundrel by Sophie Barnes

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I absolutely adored this book and am so excited to have it on my Favorite Books of 2021 list! It's got all of the things I love - class difference, fake engagement, and a bit of murder thrown in for added drama. Oh, and did I mention the secret identity? So many amazing tropes in one book, and it all came together so nicely. Although this is the seventh (!) book in the series, and the first one I have read, I had no trouble getting to know the old characters and understanding where the hero is coming from with his backstory. It made me really interested in reading the previous six books, which I am sure are just as entertaining as this one. There's something about the way Sophie Barnes wrote the hero and heroine that made me wish they were real - and when I want to jump into a book to meet the characters, I know the book is a keeper!

Blayne MacNeil has a plan. He is going to take the money he saved up over the years, buy some land in the country, and have a quiet life with the freedom to do what he loves. Of course, that was his plan, until he met Charlotte Russell. You see, Charlotte has an entirely different plan in mind for Blayne. One that involves him going by a completely different name, Mr. Wright, a fake engagement to keep her parents' eligible suitor at bay, and a future as a successful novelist living as a spinster somewhere until she's old and gray. She comes into Blayne's life with a sort of wild fervor, and while she finds her deceit regrettable, it is necessary. As they are forced into each other's company to maintain the charade, Blayne finds himself more and more committed to protecting Charlotte. He wants her to be happy, safely settled, and without the shackles of an arranged marriage. Marriage to him is impossible, as he has been on the run. For the last twenty years. For murder. Not that he plans on Charlotte, or anyone else, finding out. Ah, the best laid plans...

I loved Blayne and Charlotte so much, there are not enough words to express my adoration of them both. Blayne was a sweetheart, protective of Charlotte and unafraid to be candid with her in his thoughts. It was hilarious in the beginning, as he had no intention of going along with her schemes, and then he found himself roped into them anyway. His friends' reactions were also funny, and it made me want to read their stories, to get to know them better as well. Charlotte was an amazingly strong woman, with great awareness of herself and her strengths. She understood when she was wrong and she fought for herself when she was right. Her secret employment as an author was inspiring, and I felt as devastated as she did when things went wrong. And then I loved Blayne all the more for his reaction to learning who she was. Oh, and Blayne enjoys plants and books. When I tell you I literally sighed when I read that about him, I am not lying. Was there ever a more adorable hero created? And I'll go farther, was there ever a more adorable couple? I'm sure there are contenders, but Blayne and Charlotte are definitely at the top of my list.

Sophie Barnes gives us a hint at the end of the book who the next hero will be, and I'm so excited to read his story! Now I just need to go back and read the first six books while I wait...

**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**