A Night of Scandal by Sarah Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sarah Morgan has written a book that is both very funny and quite sad and poignant at the same time. She used the overlying theme of Nathaniel being an actor and built a whole story around it, including a lot of symbolism and motifs related to acting/playing roles to enrich this novel.
You see, Nathaniel is not an accoladed, successful actor for no reason. Playing roles was a way to escape from his terrible childhood, in which he was treated in a way no child should have to experience by his parents. He took the opportunity to become a Hollywood actor at the age of 16 and didn't look back. Since then, he has gone from one role to another, hiding himself in the characters he enthusiastically and vibrantly plays.
Katie is a clothing designer who prefers to hide behind the scenes. She is self-conscious about her voluptuous curves and the fact that she feels her looks pale in comparison to her glamorous model sister. She prefers being unnoticed, watching the actors play their roles and dressing them, and she is a very talented clothing designer with aspirations to make clothing for movie productions. When she meets Nathaniel, she is in awe of him, since he is one of her favorite actors, and a beautiful man. Never could she imagine that she would be embarking on an exotic interlude with him.
Despite their obvious differences, it's clear that Katie and Nathaniel have a connection that will lead them down the rocky but ultimately rewarding path to love. Katie being a determinedly bright, cheerful, communicative person, and Nathaniel always in control with his 'actor' facade on, unless he's lost in a role, giving as little as possible outside of his characters. I loved how Katie became a formidable opponent to that self-control, destroying that cold wall that the real Nathaniel hid behind (and she got revealing glimpses of the more time she spent with him). He couldn't resist her, because her spark and her joy, and her veracity hit him deep where he couldn't run away. Before long, Nathaniel is giving more to Katie than he ever shared with anyone. And Katie is in love with the real Nathaniel. But can she keep the real man from retreating behind the actor role he plays 24/7?
There were some very funny moments, and I loved those. Yet I was deeply affected at the pain and anguish that Nathaniel (and his numerous siblings) suffered and held deep in his heart. His family life was truly horrible. I felt for him and his siblings, and Ms. Morgan did such a good job of conveying this intense angst without beating the reader over the head with it. Like Katie, I could see the subtle signs that all was not as smooth and casual as Nathaniel tried to convey. Beneath his Hollywood persona was a wounded, troubled young boy that I wanted to hug. I was glad that Katie was there to love him, and that she met him head on and wasn't afraid to challenge Nathaniel to be real.
I have been a fan of Sarah Morgan for years, because she writes such rich, emotional, and hopeful stories with heroines I love a lot. They don't have to be sophisticated and gorgeous, or perfect to be wonderful heroines. Instead they have determination, emotional fortitude, and good hearts, and they make you cheer them on to get their men, and without settling for less than they deserve. I also like that her heroes are three-dimensional, and even though they might start out with undesirable traits, love causes them to grow into men that make worthy mates for their women.
This book is five stars because it had so much to offer to me. For a short read, it took me on a very comprehensive emotional journey, and it has me totally psyched to read the Notorious Wolfes series. This is one family that I need to read more about, and to see these eight siblings overcome a very sad family past to be successful people who find true love.
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