ARC Review: Her Scottish Scoundrel by Sophie Barnes

About the Book:

Title: Her Scottish Scoundrel

Author: Sophie Barnes

Series: Diamonds in the Rough

Publication Date: May 25, 2021

Synopsis: Destined for the hangman’s noose, love is a dream he cannot afford to have…

When Blayne MacNeil agrees to be Miss Charlotte Russell’s bodyguard, he doesn’t expect her to expand the job description to fake fiancé. After twenty years in hiding, announcing his engagement to a viscount’s daughter could prove fatal. For if anyone were to recognize him, he’d be charged with murder.

Determined to keep her independence in order to safeguard her writing career, Charlotte must avoid marriage. After all, no respectable gentleman would ever permit his wife to pen outrageous adventure novels. But when her most recent manuscript disappears, the roguish Scotsman posing as her fiancé becomes her closest ally—and the greatest threat to her freedom.

LINKS:     Goodreads    |      Amazon   

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My Review:

When Charlotte hires Blayne to be her bodyguard and then fake-fiancée, she never intends to fall for him. Charlotte wants to remain unattached and pursue her writing dreams. Blayne has never wanted love in his life either until he sees Charlotte, and she captivates him with her intellect, beauty, and fiery spirit.

Blayne and Charlotte enter into their fake-engagement certain that it will remain fake, and they will part ways once Charlotte makes enough money to live independently. Charlotte’s family doesn’t approve of the pairing, especially considering they arranged a union between Charlotte and one of their American business associates. Plus, Blayne and Charlotte both have secrets that they’re afraid to share. However, when secrets from Blayne’s past come back to haunt him and threaten his future with Charlotte, both must decide if their love is worth fighting for. Can this mismatched pair find their happily-ever-after?

I love Charlotte!! She is smart and brave, and she refuses to become beholden to a man. She yearns for independence and the freedom to pursue her literary goals. She also rejects the rules of society and instead follows her own set of rules. I love that she marches to the beat of her own drum even though she is judged harshly for it, especially by her own family. Charlotte is often underestimated because of her gender, but she repeatedly proves that she is as (if not more) strong and resilient as the men in her life. I love her take-charge attitude and passionate spirit, as well as her kindness. 

However, Charlotte is helpless in many ways and has no one to turn to. She is a woman in a patriarchal society and family, and this limits her choices. Charlotte dislikes the society that her parents have forced her to be a part of and wishes for something more. She is a woman ahead of her time, which is one of the qualities that draws Blayne to her.

Blayne is one of the few people to really see Charlotte, understand her, and support her. The pair brings out the best in each other, and their characters are dynamically developed. Unfortunately, Blayne doesn’t feel like he is good enough for Charlotte. She is wealthy, and he is not. He has deadly secrets in his past, and he doesn’t want to burden her with his problems. Though he had a privileged upbringing, he does not live a life of privilege, and he is not a part of the ton like Charlotte. Luckily, Charlotte does not care.

I absolutely love the romance between Charlotte and Blayne! It is deep and passionate, filled with sexual tension, and lovely.  Blayne admires Charlotte’s fiery, independent spirit and take-charge personality from the moment he first lays eyes on her. Their connection is amazing, and though they are from different worlds and are opposites in many ways, they complement each other well. I love their intellectual discussions, their shared love of literature, their continual efforts to find time to spend together, and their mutual desires to lead lives that are very different from what people expect. Two independent people who don’t quite fit into the expectations and standards of society, their respect for, attraction to, and support of each other makes for an epic romance! I also love that they save each other at different points in the story. It says so much about the characters and about their relationship. From the beginning, they have a partnership and are equals in every way.

I also like many of the secondary characters, especially Charlotte’s maid and Blayne’s friends. They are a wonderful support system and prove that family doesn’t always include blood relations. Hopefully, we’ll see more of them in future books in the series!

The mystery of Blayne’s past, as well as the mystery of Charlotte’s stolen manuscript, are intriguing and add suspense to this captivating romance. Will we find out what Blayne did in the past? Who stole Charlotte’s manuscript? Will Charlotte’s parents get their way and marry Charlotte off to one of their business associates?

Secrets, a fake engagement, stolen manuscripts, a murky past, and a sexy romance make for a well-paced and captivating read. I think people who enjoy historical romances will love this addition to the Diamonds in the Rough series, and though it is the fifth book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Sophie Barnes for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance! Charlotte and Blayne have a great love story, and I adore the fake-engagement trope!
  • The intrigue!

Favorite Lines:

He pulled her into his arms and captured her mouth in a kiss he hoped would impart what his words could never convey.

You matter to me as well.

More than you should.

I want you.

I need you.

“Charlotte, love. You’ll be my undoing.”

“I think that’s only fair since I’m already quite undone by you.”


This is a great story for readers who enjoy historical romance with dynamic characters and an epic love story!

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