Monday, June 29, 2015

REVIEW: "Love and Other Scandals" by Caroline Linden

Love and Other Scandals (Scandalous, #1)
Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden
(Scandalous #1)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Regency England

Avon -- Published on July 30, 2013
Ebook, 384 pages
Read in June 2015
Available through Scribd

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Best Friend's Sister, Enemies to Lovers

Joan Bennet is tired of being a wallflower. Thanks to some deliciously scandalous—and infamous—stories, she has a pretty good idea of what she's missing as a spinster. Is even a short flirtation too much to ask for?

Tristan, Lord Burke, recognizes Joan at once for what she is: trouble. Not only is she his best friend's sister, she always seems to catch him at a disadvantage. The only way he can win an argument is by kissing her senseless. He'd give anything to get her out of her unflattering gowns. But either one of those could cost him his bachelor status, which would be dreadful—wouldn't it?

"The first time Joan Bennet met Tristan Burke, he burst into her bedroom late at night wearing only his trousers and holding a single red rose."

I do love a good best friend's sister romance and Love and Other Scandals was a decent example of this theme.  The basic plot is that Joan Bennet is on her way to being a spinster and really just wants a little excitement in her life.  But, what she gets is her brother's best friend, Tristan, who knows just how to get her in a rage especially when he kisses her without warning.  Things get more complicated when Joan's parents and brother leave town and Tristan is asked (by her brother) to keep an eye on her.

This is a familiar plot for fans of historical romance, but that didn't lessen my enjoyment of it.  There were many fun interactions between Joan and Tristan before they were left to their own devices that I felt like their relationship would have happened with or without the indirect interference.  These two provided plenty of banter that is obviously tension-filled and I thought they were a very cute couple.

As people, Joan and Tristan were both easy to like.  Joan has felt overlooked for many years and part of that is due to her height and inability to look good in the current fashions.  Her parents' impromptu trip allows her to break out of her shell a bit more and gain some much-needed confidence.  But, I liked that she never blamed her parents for her situation and understood their (especially her mother's) good intentions.

Tristan has spent much of his life overcompensating for his loneliness by figuring out how outrageous he can act.  There are some heartbreaking moments where he discusses his lonely childhood growing up with a spiteful aunt and never really feeling affection.  He obviously falls for Joan early on and spends quite a bit of time trying to make her happy.  The balloon ride scene was one of my absolute favorites between them!

Since this is the first in a series, readers are introduced to the heroines of some future books: Joan's best friends Penelope and Abigail.  There is very little detail provided about them beyond their friendship with Joan, but I look forward to reading their stories.  Caroline Linden also does a good job in her portrayal of Joan's family and their obvious love for her.  I particularly enjoyed her scandalous Aunt Evangeline.

As a whole, I didn't find much wrong with Love and Other Scandals.  The characters were well-written, the plot moved along fine, and the romance was cute.  Unfortunately, there wasn't anything overwhelmingly original about it, in my opinion.  I was entertained, but I'm not sure how much I will remember about the book in a few months time.  That is the main reason why I am giving it the rating that I am, but I wanted to make sure that readers knew that I did like it.  I will definitely be picking up more of this series.

1. Love and Other Scandals
2. It Takes a Scandal
2.5. All's Fair in Love and Scandal
3. Love in the Time of Scandal
4. Six Degrees of Scandal

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  1. Oooh. I don't think I've read any Carol Linden before, and even though you didn't find this book all that original, I've found that sometimes that doesn't matter. (Especially if you've run out of authors to read, which, sadly, happens to me a lot.) Makes me wonder about her other books.

  2. Okay, so I feel like I need to read this book just to find out what happens after that first line. Because man does that grab my attention. Sometimes unoriginal books aren't bad. I mean, they aren't memorable, but they can be fun! Thanks for the review, Jennifer.


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