Published by Bantam on February 28th 1991
Source: Purchased: ebook
With her reputation forever tarnished by a youthful indiscretion, lovely Emily Faringdon is resigned to a life of spinsterhood, until she embarks on an unusual correspondence and finds herself falling head over heels in love. Sensitive, intelligent, and high-minded, her noble pen pal seems to embody everything Emily has ever dreamed of in a man. But Simon Augustus Traherne, the mysterious Earl of Blade, is not all that he seems.
Driven by dark, smoldering passions and a tragic secret buried deep within his soul, Blade has all of London cowering at his feet, but not Emily...never Emily. For even as she surrenders to his seductive charms, she knows the real reason for his amorous suit. And she knows that she must reach the heart of this golden-eyed dragon before the avenging demons of their entwined pasts destroy the only love she has ever known...
I am laughing so hard as I think of this book and what to write. Look I used to devour Amanda Quick’s older books with the one word description and usually a random object on the cover. There were some that were really good. And there were some that may be wonder about the intelligence of the hero/heroine involved. “Scandal” is definitely the latter. You have a sort of reformed rake trope taking place here (though the hero is not really a rake, he’s just an out and out ass) with a naive heroine that believes that love transcends everything. Seriously, learn to love the phrases “higher plane” and “cast adrift on love’s transcendent golden, shore”. Also she calls or thinks of the hero as a “dragon” so learn to love that word as well as the word “elf” that the hero calls the heroine.
The heroine in “Scandal” is Emily Faringdon. Emily is an aspiring writer (her epic poem sounds awful by the way) and thinks she is going to forever lead a solitary life in the countryside due to a scandal (where the title comes from) in her past. When Emily was younger, she ran away to get married and then realized on the way what a bad idea it was. Emily was not found til the next day, so of course in Regency era times this means she is considered an indiscreet young woman which no man would offer for. This suits Emily’s father since he just uses Emily in order to have her keep him and her two twin brothers (Charles and Devlin) afloat due to her investment schemes. Emily starts up a correspondence with a man claiming to have her love of literature and then one days he announces he will be staying at a neighbor’s home and they can finally meet. Emily meets Simon Traherne, also known as the Earl of Blade. Simon has his own reasons for pursuing Emily, and it’s all about revenge.
So Emily…is kind of tedious and aggravating. When Emily finally meets Simon she decides that they are soul mates (I refuse to go back and look to see if that phrase is used) and even when she is told why Simon is pursuing her and wants to marry her (to avenge himself on her father) she still marries the guy. It was beyond ridiculous. Who marries someone who tells you that your father was responsible for his father committing suicide and you are part of his master plan to get revenge on all people who wronged him.
It baffles me throughout this book how cruel Simon is again and again to Emily and she is all, but I know that he loves me, so this makes it okay. I kept half hoping Emily would brain him with something. And though I had a small smidgen of sympathy towards Simon because of what happened to him and his mother due to his father’s suicide, him going after in some cases the children of the men who wronged him gets you over that real quick.
Simon sucks. Seriously. I don’t know what in the world made Emily even want to be with the guy besides the fact she kept saying they had a metaphysical connection. Simon the day after their wedding forbids her to see her father or her twin brothers again. I know back in Regency days you couldn’t divorce, but I hated the fact that Quick has Emily decide to not be physically with Simon again after his announcement, and then has her run off. Simon thinks eventually Emily will be too curious about sex with him to not want to do it again and he will end up winning his way. Due to Simon spending time in the East (and no that is the way it is referred to in the book) he has strange notions about revenge, sins of the father, and apparently knows karate. Or Judo. Or Kung-Fu. I honestly did not get his movements at all, though at one time Quick references Simon chopping someone in the neck with his hand and I died laughing for five minutes. Iron Fist this guy is not.
We have other characters in “Scandal” and Emily’s father is terrible. How she ignores it also drives me up a wall. There’s a resolution about that guy at the end which made me smile. But I would have been happy with sharks being in play at some point. Emily’s brother get some more detail, but not much in this one, and it would have been nice to follow up with both of them in subsequent books.
The plot in this one is really thin though. Due to Emily’s past, no one is to refer to her scandal, and Simon is so powerful he believes he can squelch any commentary about it with threats or favors. Frankly, I don’t really get why this would matter in Regency days, marriage fixes everything, or so most of the romance books I read had me believe. And there’s a secondary plot that involves Emily’s secret being discovered that is only a couple dozen pages. Honestly, most of the book is just Emily and Simon having sex, Simon being nasty, Emily being obtuse about his terribleness, and Emily deciding that love will see them through.
The writing at times was super hilarious though. Maybe because I cannot believe anyone back then spoke like this. It felt like very bad stage directions were being given to actors a few times.
Simon gently refolded the letter and sat gazing into the fire. After a moment’s contemplation, he reached out to pick up the beautifully enameled Chinese teapot that sat on a nearby table. He poured the Lap Seng into a gossamer thin cup decorated with a green and gold dragon. As he started to lift the cup, he paused, studying the figure of the mythical beast.
The remainder of the comment was lost as Simon pivoted swiftly in the graceful movements of the ancient fighting art he had learned in the East. He knew his unorthodox, potentially lethal method would have astounded the young bloods who practiced boxing at Gentleman Jackson’s academy. They would have been even more perplexed by the elaborate techniques for establishing mental discipline and control that the monks had taught along with the physical skills.
I can’t help it, this whole book just makes me shake my head. We hear about references to China, monks, the “East” and whatnot.
The flow was up and down throughout. Like I said, there was very little plot with this one unlike with other Quick books so you are just really waiting for the hero to stop being a jerk and just fall in love with the heroine already. Or at least I was.
I do love Regency era books though. I think I get a kick out of them just because I cannot imagine a society like that nowadays. Of course you realize this was what Polite Society in England did back then, but still, these books always give you a good peek at them.
This is a romance novel so of course realize there is a HEA.
I read this for Romance Bingo 2017, and this book fits the regency romance square.