I received this book for free from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Scandalous Diary of Lily Layton by Stacy Reid
Published by Entangled Publishing, LLC (Scorched) on February 18, 2019
Genres: Historical, Romance
Source: Entangled Publishing
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
Beneath Lily Layton’s sweet and charming exterior beats the heart of a vixen—one with shocking and scandalous secrets and desires. But as a genteel lady, she confines her forbidden fantasies, like those about her employer’s devastatingly handsome son, to her diary…until she loses it.
Oliver Carlyle, Marquess of Ambrose, has finally found the perfect wife, a woman who will not hide from his dark, carnal cravings. He just needs to figure out who she is. When he has a secret rendezvous with a mysterious stranger, suddenly he starts to believe she might be the author of the diary.
He’s determined to find out who his mystery woman is…
His biggest fear—and deepest fantasy—is she may be the one woman he cannot have.
As far as I can tell this is the first book I’ve read by Stacy Reid. Overall, I liked it, but the issues I had were enough for me to knock it down to a solid two stars.
First the good – this book was hot, hot, hot. Lily Layton has a lot of unfulfilled desires that she’s only comfortable writing in her diary, not discussing with anyone. She tried to bring them up to her late husband, but not only was he not interested, he took them as personal affronts, punishing her and shaming her for her sexual needs. So they remained unfulfilled and she wrote them down. But then she lost her diary, and it was found by Oliver Carlyle, the subject of most of her fantasies. He’s intrigued and sets out to discover which of the ladies currently in residence at his mother’s house party could have written what amounts to his own personal fantasies down in this diary. He’s determined to find her, and he does. In the secret tunnels of the house where he and Lily encounter each other in the dark, acting out her most erotic fantasies. Once they do discover each other’s identities, it becomes clear that they’ll never be able to end up together; the class differences are too great.
Then not-so-good – There’s a lot of emphasis on Lily’s infertility. She’s still young, only in her twenties, but she’s been married twice and has never been pregnant. True, neither of those marriages involved sex more than occasionally, but Lily has spoken to doctors about the issue, and it’s been made clear that she will not bear children. One of Oliver’s main reasons for wanting to get married is to have a family, and he’s clear on that, but Lily hides her infertility from him until after they’re married. He’s understandably upset by this news, but that’s ok, because apparently all it takes to “cure” infertility is time and lots and lots of sex. If Lily hadn’t been classified as actually being infertile, if she had just not become pregnant because her previous 2 husbands hadn’t sexed her up enough, that would be one thing. But that’s not the story we’re given, and I didn’t love that Stacy Reid went this way with it. I don’t like at all that Lily hid it from Oliver to start with, and I really don’t like that all it took was Oliver’s magic sperm, and she’s magically pregnant, with twins no less.
The other issue I had with it is a smaller issue, but no less disturbing. It’s established very early on that Oliver’s father is a large steaming pile of shit. Cheated on his wife, forced his staff to have sex with him, etc. Just a really terrible human. Fine. That’s pretty standard in a lot of the historicals I’ve read. Sort of like Hallmark movies and the dead parents of our main characters. What sets Oliver’s father apart for me is that it’s revealed at one point that he raped a fourteen-year-old maid. Well, it’s not classified as rape, which is problem number one. It’s just presented as “I found my dad ‘tupping’ a fourteen-year-old maid”, and while Lily is stunned by it, she’s more upset about the fact that none of his father’s servants could have turned him down without losing their jobs than she is by the fact of the rape of a young girl. Even in that same conversation, Oliver refers to it as his father’s “proclivity” and declares that he still loves him, and Lily says that it’s the best kind of love, knowing someone’s faults and loving them still. This is not a fault. Talking constantly during movies is a fault. Chewing ice is a fault. Thinking milk chocolate is better than dark chocolate is a fault. Repeatedly raping your staff, including fourteen-year-old girls, is not a fault. You’re a rapist. Oliver’s father is a rapist, and deciding to toss it off as an unfortunate quirk and claim that it’s not enough for you to not love him anymore isn’t ok. None of this is ok. And it could have been left out. Oliver’s dad is a rapist and a pile of shit for what he does to his staff alone. Throwing in the fourteen-year-old was unnecessary.