5 out of 5 Stars
After marrying a man she thought she loved who turned out to be a scoundrel, Sophie Mercer Evans is left destitute after his death and returns home to her brother’s care. Several suitors make their intentions known for Sophie’s hand, but she has no intention of marrying again.
The earl of Banallt, whom Sophie knows to be an even bigger rake than her late husband, is determined to show he’s changed his ways and is in love with Sophie, something even he didn’t think himself capable of. But Sophie’s not willing to risk her heart again. Even though she knows Banallt better than anyone, she can’t believe he’d ever be true to his marriage vow and love her alone. It’s a good thing Banallt loves a woman who challenges him.
Scandal is a historical romance that surprised me at nearly every turn—not because the plot was so shocking or original, but because of how I was sucked into this story and could not put it down. I’ll admit in the beginning I found things a bit difficult to follow. I don’t usually like when a book goes from past to present and I need to pay attention to the dates at the beginning of the chapters. But once I found the groove of the story, it sucked me in and I couldn’t stop reading. It didn’t switch to the past too many times, so the dates weren’t as important as I originally thought them to be.
With both characters widowed and older, I enjoyed the different spin this put on the historical romance. There was no swooning virgin, and I loved that Banallt, being the reformed rake he was, couldn’t even understand what it was he saw in Sophie. And rather than the traditional playboy romance where you don’t necessarily understand what made the playboy change his ways, in this story Banallt was in love with her before we even began. We got his playboy ways from memories and the narrative, while the author did a convincing job of showing he loved Sophie.
As far as historical accuracy, I’m not an expert in this area and I don’t read too many historical romances to be able to give an opinion. As a general reader, I can say it had a good feel, the story stayed in the time period, and the language and customs seemed appropriate. At times it was slightly difficult to figure out what the characters were saying, but I admit that’s my own shortcomings with historical romance rather than a problem with the writing. The author did a very good job of keeping me in the era.
The writing of this story in general was superb, allowing me to feel every emotion the characters felt, breaking my heart at times and lifting me up at others. I truly enjoyed this book, and I would definitely read more by this author.