September 3, 2013
A sigh worthy story!
You know how sometimes you pick up a book and right from the very first page it's a magical journey. Well, Love and Other Scandals turned out to be just that for me. Caroline Linden has written a charming story that had me smiling almost all the way through. It has all the
ingredients that I love; in fact it's one of my favorite books this year. If you're looking for a dark, gloomy, angst-filled book that has you crying soup or beer (whatever food you prefer), this story isn't for you. This is a light-hearted, fun read with a truly feisty heroine, Joan, and a sexy lean-on-door-frames hero, Tristan Burke. In fact Tristan's sensuality fairly oozes off the pages.
The banter between Joan Bennet and Tristan is wonderful and finally we have a couple with chemistry that worked. I didn't want this story to end, and I had a hard time putting Love and Other Scandals down. Watching Joan and Tristan circle each other as they fell in love was just simply lots of fun.
Both Tristan and Joan have some issues - Tristan just wants to be loved for himself. He never experienced love as a child. His parents died young, leaving him with his horrible aunt and uncle. Joan, on the other hand, considers herself an ugly duckling. And thanks to her oblivious mother's fashion sense she is well on her way to being that duckling. But Tristan sees the swan beneath all the fashionable trappings and encourages her to blossom.
These two endearing people are supported by a great cast of secondary characters. Joan's parents appear to be a love match, and even though her father seems a bit under his wife's thumb, that's only an illusion. For all of you who have a brother, Joan's brother, Douglas, was well-written and what I would expect for a young aristocrat with too much time and money on his hands. Joan and Douglas were written like a real brother and sister. Even though they deliberately get on each other’s nerves and squabble, there’s always an underlying affection between the two. Joan's scandalous aunt, Evangeline, and Evangeline's lover/suitor, Richard, were interesting enough that I hope Ms. Linden means to give them a story of their own. Joan's two friends, the Weston sisters, were also enchanting.
The one quibble I had with this story was that I didn't understand the hold Joan's mother had over Joan and Douglas. It was never explained fully to me why Lady Bennet was so short-sighted when it came to her children. Why they seemed so afraid of her. Why couldn't she see how the fashion of the day wasn't suited to her daughter, I never got it. For me Lady Bennet was the one weak link in an otherwise great story.
I highly recommend Love and Other Scandals. Even though I don't like to compare authors, this reminded me a little of Julia Quinn or Loretta Chase. This is the beginning of a series and if the rest of the books are like this one, I don't think you'll want to miss it.
Time/Place: Late Regency England or Early Victorian