The Art of Scandal

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Pub Date 01 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 01 Sep 2023

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A “wildly steamy, utterly heartwarming” debut filled with romance, artistic ambitions, political scandal, and finding love where you least expect it (Tia Williams). 

Publishers Weekly Best Romance Book of 2023 
· Chicago Public Library Best Romance of 2023 · A "Sarah’s BookShelves" Best Debut of 2023

"Love would be so much easier if it were perfect..." 

On the night of her husband Matt’s fortieth birthday, Rachel Abbott receives a sexy, explicit text from her husband that she quickly realizes was meant for another woman. Divorce is inevitable, and Rachel is determined not to leave her thirteen-year marriage empty handed. Meanwhile, Matt, a rising star mayor with his eye on the White House, can’t afford a messy split in the middle of his reelection campaign. They strike a deal: Rachel gets one million dollars and their lavish house in the wealthy DC suburb of Oasis Springs, as long as she keeps playing the ideal Black trophy wife until the election.

Then Rachel meets Nathan Vasquez, a very handsome, very lost twenty-six-year-old artist, and their connection makes Rachel forget about being the perfect politician’s wife. As Rachel reawakens Nathan’s long-dormant artistic aspirations, their attraction becomes impossible to resist. But secrets are hard to keep in a town like Oasis Springs, and Nathan has a few of his own. With the risk of scandal looming and their hearts on the line, they’ll have to decide whether the possibility of losing everything is worth taking a chance on love. 

The Art of Scandal is a sizzling, conversation-starting debut about rekindling passion, the transformative power of art, and finding love in unexpected places. 
A “wildly steamy, utterly heartwarming” debut filled with romance, artistic ambitions, political scandal, and finding love where you least expect it (Tia Williams). 

Publishers Weekly Best Romance...

Advance Praise

"The combination of complex characters, gorgeous prose, and a compulsively readable plot made The Art of Scandal one of my top romances of all time. It was an ache in my throat, a crackling tension in the air, a haunting melody in my head long after I'd finished reading. I absolutely inhaled every word and am ready for everything and anything Regina Black writes in the future."—Alicia Thompson, national bestselling author of Love in the Time of Serial Killers

“A seductive, sweltering debut. Regina Black crafts such decadent tension between her characters and their opposing worlds, each word chosen for maximum impact. Achingly raw and beautifully messy—this book is a work of art."—Rachel Lynn Solomon, New York Times bestselling author of The Ex Talk

"The Art of Scandal is devastatingly beautiful and captivatingly romantic. Every so often, a book strikes the perfect chord of touching, poignant, sexy, and thrilling and this is that book. Black's storytelling draws you in and holds you close and her diverse cast of characters shine with three-dimensional emotion and sizzling chemistry. This one is not to be missed."—Denise Williams, author of How to Fail at Flirting

“Smart, sexy, and absolutely sizzling with steamy scenes, this book makes the list as one of my all-time favorite romances. Art, scandal, and finding love where one leasts expects it—what’s not to adore?"—Ashley Herring Blake, author of Delilah Green Doesn't Care

“Richly characterized and beautifully depicted, Black brings the political drama and electric chemistry of Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal to this novel of two starkly different individuals learning to find themselves in each other.”—Shirlene Obuobi, author of On Rotation

"The Art of Scandal is a one-of-a-kind story! Sexy and smart with messy yet relatable characters, this is the book you need in your life! Regina Black is a force!"—Catherine Adel West, Author of The Two Lives of Sara

“Right out the gate, Regina Black charges in to bring drama and sensuality. Black's dazzling use of language creates a compelling novel of heartbreak, passion, and rediscovery. Justice for Rachel Abbott is as delicious as it is scandalous. Readers are going to cheer for her the whole way!”—Charish Reid, author of The Write Escape and Hearts on Hold

"The combination of complex characters, gorgeous prose, and a compulsively readable plot made The Art of Scandal one of my top romances of all time. It was an ache in my throat, a crackling tension...

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781538722770
PRICE $28.00 (USD)

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Average rating from 214 members

Featured Reviews

I absolutely love this book! “The Art of Scandal” has it all; secrets, indiscretions, family drama and an undeniable attraction between Rachel and Nathan. Their meet-cute at the local drive-in was emotional and it was the beginning of a secret relationship that could ruin both of their lives, but one they couldn’t live without. I love Rachel’s determination to find the woman she once was before she sold her soul to her husband Matt and his power-hungry family. She has a good life, her daughter has been well taken care of but something was missing, and she found it with a man who reminded her that she was worthy and deserving of the dreams she left behind.

The storyline was intriguing and fast paced as we watched Rachel deal with her new life and the “arrangement” she made with her unscrupulous husband. Nathan’s family dynamic was tailor-made for a reality series and he just wanted to live his life on his own terms, while losing himself in his artwork and with his growing feelings for Rachel, the woman who made him feel whole. I was captivated by all the characters from the moment I began reading and I stayed up late one night to finish, because I never knew what drama they would throw at each other next. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending and I am glad I had the opportunity to read this amazing book.

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I think I’ve found a new favorite romance author! If that’s even possible after just one book. What Regina Black does with Rachel and Nathan’s love story makes me trust her to tell love stories over and over again. This book is grown and sexy and messy and everything I look for in adult romance. In it, Rachel is the scorned wife of a rising political star who decides to live a little recklessly while still in the confines of rigid expectations after her husband’s affair tips her world on its head. She meets Nathan by chance, a younger man who is passionate, a talented artist, and who becomes a soft place for her to land while she’s reeling. These are two beautifully flawed characters with real wounds and authentic chemistry. And for anyone concerned, the book’s political backdrop is engaging enough to raise the stakes but never overbearing. Reading this book felt like watching Scandal for the first time - if only Olivia and Fitz were less toxic to each other. I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time, and patiently waiting for Regina Black’s sophomore novel!

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Mood: You’re looking for a trophy wife as she remembers she’s made of solid goal.

I think this is my first 5-star read of 2023 and it has ruined books for me. For a while.

Rachel is a Black woman who married the eldest son of a Kennedy-esque dynasty in a picturesque, mostly elite Virginia town. Only her Prince Charming, Matt, is a floppy wang sharing jackass who lives his life based on entitlement and focus groups.

He thinks he’s entitled to DM a photo of his wang to his mistress while his wife is decorating, by hand, a cake for his frat-style 40th birthday party. Only, instead of sending it to his mistress, he sends it to his wife.

Instead of immediately burning him to the ground, they make an arrangement to keep his numbers up in the polls and give her a safety net that the prenup doesn’t allow.

So Rachel starts unmasking. She’s stops playing nice with her wasteman of a husband, stops dressing for her conservative elite neighbors, and falsifies her resume into hosting & curating the town’s annual art gala.

Necessary backstory, Rachel was a teenage mother who was able to attend college (Howard, HBCU 🖤) because her father raised her daughter while she attended school. When he suddenly passed, she left school to be a full time mom. Eventually she fell into hard times that didn’t disappear until she met Matt. So the idea of leaving him, with almost nothing, makes her afraid for the kind of future she and her college aged daughter Faith will have. (Sidenote: we don’t spend a lot of time with Faith but the children really are our future.)

So she decides to play the long game and go along with Matt’s political schemes/dreams. But she doesn’t do it alone. Thirty-seven year old Rachel meets 26 year old Nathan and they almost immediately cling to one another. He has a complicated relationship with the town’s ruling parties and an even more complicated relationship with his self-worth and mental health.

They spend most of the book dancing around each other in a special kind of forbidden dance. Dancing around her husband, his family, their growing feelings for one another, and their art.

They’re both sort of non-practicing artists and circumstances force them to face their creative expressions. Like everything else in this story, of course it’s not easy. It is however, incredibly rewarding.

There are an incredibly messy cast of side characters. No six degrees of separation, more like 1.5. I see so many opportunities for follow ups with this group.

This is a beautiful coming of age story with a hard fought HEA. I love the story of Rachel, Nathan, their healing, and their love.

Lastly, I’m trying to avoid spoilers but one thing I love love is petty revenge. I don’t want the injured party to take the high road. I want her to get hers, with interest. Mission accomplished!

CW: microaggressions, death of a parent, cheating (not by MC), lying liars that lie (really Matt sucks)

Thank you so much to Grand Central for an early copy!

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LOVED this book! It's an absolute must read for any romance lover. The writing is spectacular, and the characters leap off the page. The premise pulls you in but the heart (and heat) will hold you. This is a spectacular debut and I cannot wait to read more from this author. Highly recommend!

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This book is hot, hot, hot! I think it’s best not to give too much away, but it’s about a mayor’s wife who finds out her husband is having an affair and needs to decide what to do next. The character development is strong and the scenes are steamy. Once I started reading, it was hard to put down.

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Can't say enough good things about this book. It's funny and smart and incredibly poignant. Regina grabs you by the heartstrings and keeps you hooked from moment to moment.

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From the outside, Rachel seems to have it all- she’s the gorgeous wife of a successful and wealthy liberal white politician. But behind the perfect facade is a life of hardship and betrayal.

When, at her husband Matt’s 40th birthday party, Rachel finds a racy text sent from Matt to another woman, she decides she’s done trying to make her marriage work. She’s also done fitting into the mold of trophy wife- one she was forced into when, as a young unmarried Black mother, she married into the powerful Abbott family.

Now estranged from her husband, but still acting the part of his wife in public for his reelection campaign, she begins to reconnect with her authentic self, exploring her true passion- the art career she abandoned years ago.

She soon finds herself entangled with a much younger man, Nate Vasquez- an artist with his own ill-fitting expectations he’s battling against, and surprising ties to their shared community. Their searing hot affair threatens scandal and endangers her new-found independence, but they can’t keep away from each other, nor can they deny their growing love.

In this very adult and fast-moving contemporary romance, debut author Regina Black writes a luxuriant novel about learning to love yourself, family, forgiveness, art, and embracing love, even when it's inconvenient.

Recommended for fans of the TV show, The Good Wife.

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Pardon me while I make grand predictions, but here’s my forecast: watch for Regina Black to become one of the sharpest voices of our generation. She’s got it all – heartbreakingly beautiful prose with sentences that repeatedly knock you on your ass, relatable characters with deeply emotional complexity, and incisive social commentary about who gets access to the corridors of power, and why, and how. I adore both of the main characters of this book, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how beautifully Black has drawn Nathan, a young artist trying to balance his selfhood and his place in a prominent family. But it’s Rachel who spoke to me most clearly with her piercing regret at having spent her passion, her time, and her heart on a faithless husband. With Rachel, Black brings beautiful life to the question we all face when we look back on the choices we’ve made: “What if?” Rachel’s fierce, unapologetic, and poignant reawakening expertly weaves together what could have been with what is and what could still be, if we have the courage to reach for it. One of my top reads of 2023, hands down.

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WOW! Such a fun read! I lived for the drama in this and the unexpected loveeee!!! Yes! I was so immersed in this story, I couldn't put this book down. There was so much passion and a wonderful connection between characters. I enjoyed this book so freaking much! Regina Black's writing is excellent!

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