June 11, 2014
Was I just in the Wayback Machine?
I feel as if I've been transported to the 1980s. There was a lot in Scandal’s Virgin that reminded me of an old-school romance, and not in a good way. By the way, the title of this
As we journey in our Wayback Machine, we come across an old plot device: The “secret baby.” This time it’s the heroine who doesn’t know she has a baby. Quite a trick, huh? How can that be, you might ask. Well, I'm here to tell you. Her mean ol’ mother told her the baby was dead; instead, unbeknownst to her the child was packed off to the countryside to be raised by a woman with eight children and in need of a little cash. Now as it just so happens, I was in the mood for a "secret baby" story because I've been wracking my brain trying to remember one I read eons ago. This one came along and I thought whoopee just what I’m looking for! However there were just too many banal trust issues in Scandal's Virgin for me to really enjoy this story. (I really don’t like that title.)
Wayback Machine trust issues or lack thereof. Avery, our hero, and Laura just would not talk to each other. By the way, this is also one of those stories that readers will find themselves saying, "if only they would just talk to each other." Of course, we all know the story would be over if they did. Ponder moment. Why is it some stories with couples that don't talk to each other are irritating and other stories that have non-communicating couples are fascinating? I found myself asking that a zillion times while reading this book. In the case of Scandal’s Virgin, I found the couple awfully juvenile. They played too many games with each other. Laura starts off by pretending to be someone else and all the time is stalking the child she thought was dead. I had a hard time liking Laura, as she plans to kidnap Alice, her daughter, from the man who has raised her. I thought this bordered on creepy. Thank goodness Laura was able to see that Alice and Avery had a loving bond, because child abduction isn’t something I relish reading about in my romance novels.
Wayback Machine lies. As I said, Laura lies about who she is, then when our hero finds out who she is, she doesn't tell Avery the whole story, then she traps him into marriage and lies some more. You just can’t win with this couple. Avery is just as bad, only his problem is trust and that's because of his mother. Yes, his mother was a floozy so he can never luv or trust any woman. Of course, Laura did lie to him and then trap him into marriage, so, she's not really all that trustworthy.
Let me clear up the reason Avery has Laura's child Alice. You see the man/boy Laura had an affair with when she was eighteen was Avery's cousin Piers. Then Piers ran off to war because Avery was trying to get him away from Laura, who by the way Avery had never met, but all women are bad so he had to break it up. Anyway, Piers goes off to war without knowing Laura is pregnant with his child, she sends him a letter telling him she's going to have his baby, Piers dies and blood gets all over the letter, which when Avery reads the letter, he jumps to the conclusion that Laura is an e-v-i-l woman because some of the words are covered by blood. Anyway, Avery finds out Piers' child is being taken care of by couple with gazillions of kids in the country, he goes to them, exerts his authority, they gratefully give him the child and he raises the child as his. All this time, he thinks Laura has abandoned her baby. He has no idea she thinks the baby is dead, and even when Laura shows up to claim the child after six years he still thinks she abandoned the child. And do you know why? Because they don't tell each other their secrets. Aaaaakkkkkk.
If Laura's not lying about something, Avery is having trust issues about something. When they get one thing sorted out, something else crops up to set them back. There is also whankee-roo with only one partner enjoying it because the other partner is deliberately ending before everyone is happy. There are a number of eavesdropping moments, numerous jumping to the wrong conclusions; so many old-school romance moments I just wanted it to end. If I hadn't already had one DNF this week I would have closed this book without finishing it, but I trudged onward. Even the HEA had a shadow thrown into the mix when Avery asked Laura why she hadn't told him she was having his baby. Well, that would be because you are a Jack-wad, Avery.
I did not enjoy this story. The couple acted like juveniles through most of the book and the story was filled with too many 1980-styled tricks/traps/lies/misunderstandings for me. Sorry to say, I cannot recommend Scandal's Virgin.
Time/Place: Regency England