Chemistry and an intriguing plot, to boot! What's not to love?
Well, okay, the Big Rescue Scene did make me snort in disbelief ... then snort at myself for snorting in disbelief ... like any book of this genre is anything *but* fun fantasy. Get over yourself, woman.
So, yes, enjoy!!! It's another can't-put-it-down winner for Suzanne Enoch. And I can't wait to see what's in store for Bram. Methinks his life will get quite interesting when it's his story's turn. ;)
The second book in the "Notorious Gentlemen" series, features Lt. Col. Phin Bromley. Phin returns to his ancestral home as the prodigal brother, but is not exactly welcomed with open arms by his older sibling or most of the neighbors. He becomes reaquainted with Alyse, his childhood friend, and the expected happens. The progression of their love story is fairly believable, although a side plot about Phin's second identity is a little silly.
The characters are appropriately either appealing or villainous, if not truly memorable, and you're more told about than shown their personal development. The plot itself isn't too bad, and the main point of conflict is resolved nicely. Although the one thing I haven't quite figured out is why this book is titled "Before the Scandal" when the entire storyline deals with the *aftermath* of Phin's and Elyse's years-old scandals. I thought this was an okay book - not really one of Enoch's stand-outs, but still decent.
Years ago Alyse Donnelly and Phinneas Bromley were the best of friends. Their childhood homes/estates were next to each others and they grew up playing together. About the time when Phin began to see Alyse in a more romantic light, he left. For the past ten years he has been fighting on the battlefield and making himself a hero and a colonel.
Alyse was once the bell of the ball. Coming from a titled family and having looks and charm she was sought after by many gentlemen. But a scandal and the death of her parents changed all that. She is now essentially a Cinderella type figure in her home, catering to a cranky aunt and her over indulged son.
Phin rushes home when he gets a letter from his little sister thinking his brother is ill. What he finds is a healthy brother, an estate in trouble and Alyse. Hes shocked and secretly thrilled that she is still unmarried; their friendship picks up where it left off.
I really teetered on the rating of this book. My first problem was the title of the book, it promises a scandal and I was expecting a scandal involving the two main characters. The actual scandal itself is a little lame. Another issue I had was the mystery with the accident prone estate, it dragged on a bit and I couldnt help but think all of it could have been solved with a little communication.
For the most part though, I really enjoyed it; the characters are charming and entertaining. The aunt is written so well that I absolutely hated her; I kept hoping Alyse would trip her or something. The villains are loath worthy and the heroes lovable. I hope she writes next about Phins sister Beth and his pal, Lord Bramwell, next. I wouldnt mind hearing about his brother, William, some more, either. This book is not as good as the first book in the series, After The Kiss, but still an enjoyable read.
Cherise Everhard, August 2008