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BOOK REVIEW: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

Friday, December 29, 2017



The Blurb (from Goodreads):


DETERMINED LADY

Tough-minded Jessica Trent's sole intention is to free her nitwit brother from the destructive influence of Sebastian Ballister, the notorious Marquess of Dain. She never expects to desire the arrogant, amoral cad. And when Dain's reciprocal passion places them in a scandalously compromising, and public, position, Jessica is left with no choice but to seek satisfaction...

LORD OF SCOUNDRELS

Damn the minx for tempting him, kissing him... and then forcing him to salvage her reputation! Lord Dain can't wait to put the infuriating bluestocking in her place—and in some amorous position, And if that means marriage, so be it!—Though Sebastian is less than certain he can continue to remain aloof... and steel his heart to the sensuous, headstrong lady's considerable charms.


My Thoughts:

Struck down by bronchitis this month and looking for a heart-warming Regency romance to read, my friend Anna Campbell suggested Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. ‘It’s sometimes called the best Regency romance ever written,’ she told me. Well, that was good enough for me. I ordered it and, as soon as it arrived, sank back into my welter of pillows and began to read.

Now, I would never have bought this book from the back-cover blurb. It begins:
‘Sebastian Baillister, the notorious Marquess of Dain, is big, bad and dangerous to know. No respectable woman would have anything to do with the “Bane and the Blight of the Ballisters” – and he wants nothing to do with respectable women. He’s determined to continue doing what he does best – sin and sin again – and all that’s going swimmingly, thank you … until the day a shop door opens and she walks in …’

The thing is, I really hate alpha males. They are always rude, overbearing, patronising and sexually aggressive. I hate them in real life and I hate them in fiction. I’ve been having trouble reading much romance or young-adult fantasy lately because of the ubiquity of the alpha male. Give me a kind and clever man over these ruddy brutes anytime!

But there I was, trapped in my sickbed, desperate for some light-hearted diversion, and so I opened the book and read the first page. It was a letter from the author, addressed to ‘Dear Reader’, and it said, ‘as many of you know, we authors can be fragile creatures. Pale and wan, we toil in our garrets, talking to people who don’t exist. Our tender egos hoard the snippets of praise that come our way from time to time, saving them to get us through a Really Bad Writing Day …’

I laughed out loud. Pale and wan I was indeed, and much prone to talking to people who don’t exist. And, yes indeedy, a snippet of praise is sometimes all that gets us through.

And so I read the book. And I laughed out loud quite a few more times, and once or twice towards the end I had a lump in my throat too.

I don’t need to paraphrase the plot for you. Big bad beast of a hero meets clever unconventional heroine and, despite himself, falls in love.

It is all done with a deft, light hand, however, and a great deal of humour. And, most interestingly, it made me understand why so many women love a romance with a big, bad beast of a hero. The thing is, Loretta Chase shows us the hurt and pain behind this seemingly hard and confident man, and then she shows us how he is saved by the steadfast love of a good woman. Now the feminist in me has always both scorned and feared this particular cultural myth – how many women have found themselves trapped in abusive relationships because they hope the man can change?

Yet I do believe that people can grow and change, and that love has transformative power. I think it is important for us to believe in the possibility of love to change the world.

Because so much of the story dwelt on Sebastian’s back story, and the unkindness and lovelessness that made him the man he was, you can’t help cheering Jessica on and admiring her for never giving up till she has finally cracked his hard outer shell.

If you are someone who steers clear of romances because you cannot bear the breathless banality of the language, then you may need to skip some scenes (for example: “She never had to think, only let herself be swept endlessly round the ballroom while her body tingled with the consciousness of him and only him: the broad shoulder under her hand … the massive, muscular frame inches from her own … the tantalizing scent of smoke and cologne and Male …’ And yes, ‘Male’ was capitalised in the text.)

However, if you can forgive Loretta Chase those passages of purple prose, you will be rewarded with a love story full of heart, humour and that essential touch of poignancy that can make the romance genre such a rewarding read. Particularly when you are sick.

You might also enjoy my reviews of Charity Girl and Sylvester, by the Queen of Regency Romances, Georgette Heyer.

Please leave a comment - what are your favourite Regency Romances?

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Dashing Widows' series by Anna Campbell

Thursday, April 13, 2017




The Seduction of Lord Stone – Anna Campbell

Tempting Mr Townsend – Anna Campbell

Winning Lord West – Anna Campbell

Pursuing Lord Pascal – Anna Campbell


MY THOUGHTS:

Australian author Anna Campbell is well-known for her sultry Regency romances, and these four books connect together to make a series called ‘The Dashing Widows’. Each book follows the amorous adventures of a beautiful widow and her entanglements with various rakes, dukes, and wicked uncles. The books are really just love bites – I read each one in a couple of hours – and often the action of one overlaps with the action of another. They are very sexy! Perfect holiday reading.

BOOK REVIEW: THE LURE OF THE MOONFLOWER by Lauren Willig

Wednesday, February 24, 2016



THE BLURB:

In the final Pink Carnation novel from the New York Times best selling author of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, Napoleon has occupied Lisbon, and Jane Wooliston, aka the Pink Carnation, teams up with a rogue agent to protect the escaped Queen of Portugal.
 
Portugal, December 1807. Jack Reid, the British agent known as the Moonflower (formerly the French agent known as the Moonflower), has been stationed in Portugal and is awaiting his new contact. He does not expect to be paired with a woman—especially not the legendary Pink Carnation.
 
All of Portugal believes that the royal family departed for Brazil just before the French troops marched into Lisbon. Only the English government knows that mad seventy-three-year-old Queen Maria was spirited away by a group of loyalists determined to rally a resistance. But as the French garrison scours the countryside, it’s only a matter of time before she’s found and taken.
 
It’s up to Jane to find her first and ensure her safety. But she has no knowledge of Portugal or the language. 

Though she is loath to admit it, she needs the Moonflower. Operating alone has taught her to respect her own limitations. 

But she knows better than to show weakness around the Moonflower—an agent with a reputation for brilliance, a tendency toward insubordination, and a history of going rogue.

WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS BOOK:

The last in the utterly delightful series that began with THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE PINK CARNATION. 

These books are a really clever mix of chick lit & Regency romance- spy-adventure. 

They are clever, funny, romantic and full of suspense, packing an awful lot of frivolous fun into their pages. 

I’m very sad to see the series end.


WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE PINK CARNATION SERIES?

BOOK REVIEWS:CHARITY GIRL and SYLVESTER by Georgette Heyer

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


My copies of Georgette Heyer’s novels are so tattered that they are in danger of falling apart, for they are the books I turn to whenever I am feeling particularly tired or unwell. 

They never fail to delight me, no matter how often I read them. Her touch is so light, her characters so deftly drawn, her situations so absurd and yet somehow so poignant too.

I first read them as a teenager at my grandmother’s house, and must have read many of them twenty times or more.




THE BLURB: SYLVESTER

Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, is a polished bachelor who has stringent requirements for his future wife--she must be wellborn, intelligent, elegant and attractive.

And of course she must be able to present herself well in high society. But when he is encouraged to consider Phoebe Marlow as a bride, Sylvester is taken aback by the coltish woman who seems to resent him....

When Phoebe runs away, circumstances find the two striking up an unusual friendship. Phoebe discovers that the duke isn't the villain she first thought. And Sylvester stumbles upon something he never dared hope for.... 

WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS BOOK

 SYLVESTER is one of my personal favourites – perhaps because the heroine Phoebe has written a book, which pitches her into all sorts of Scrapes, and Scandals …




THE BLURB: CHARITY GIRL

When Fate and a chivalrous impulse combine to saddle Viscount Desford with a friendless homeless waif named Cherry Steane, to whom else should he turn in such a scrape but his old childhood playmate, Henrietta Silverdale?

For all they refused to oblige their parents by marrying, they have always been the best of friends. But as Desford pursues Cherry's lickpenny grandfather and reprobate father around unfashionable watering places and the seedier fringes of society, Hetta is forced to wonder whether he might not, at last, have fallen in love. 

Without the timely intervention of his scapegrace brother Simon, and Hetta's worthy suitor Gary Nethercott, Desford is in danger of making a rare mess of his affairs.


Charity Girl is a wonderful romantic novel by the queen of the Regency romance , and one of the most popular historical novelists of all time.

WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS BOOK

CHARITY GIRL is almost as good as Sylvester, with its array of laugh-out-loud minor characters. 

If you love light-hearted Regency romances, then you’ll already be a Georgette Heyer fan ... but if you’ve never read one of her books, please do so, now! You will not regret it.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE GEORGETTE HEYER BOOK?







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