Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress follows other
novels by Elizabeth Boyle which introduced our heroine, Philippa/Pippin Gossett. Much time has passed; in this story, Pippin is over forty and a widow. By means of flashbacks, we learn about Pippin's encounters with Captain Thomas Dashwell, from a moonlit meeting on a beach when she was seventeen to an affair four years later, then to the events that separated them apparently forever - with Pippin marrying Lord Gossett.
When Pippin meets Dashwell again twenty-some years later, she finds a different man
from the one she remembers. Dash is now drunk on brandy most of the time, his life blighted by the fact that he lost her. As secrets are revealed and the story gradually discloses the truth of their relationship, it seems that they are further apart than ever. Can they find happiness?
Most of this story moves fairly slowly, with the flashbacks more irritating than helpful. I had read much of Pippin's story in previous books and so knew why she married Gossett, although that
isn't made particularly clear in this book. However, the final fifth of the book
- when Pippin is kidnapped and on Dash's boat - is really good fun that I enjoyed very much.
I wasn't sure of Pippin's and Dash's motives for much of their previous
actions. Both have behaved badly in some ways, and there seems to have been a real lack of communication between them. I wasn't entirely convinced, either, that Dash would continue his life of sobriety.
Still, having enjoyed the last part of this book makes me feel overall that it's a worthwhile read.