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Scandal
Scandal
Author: Carolyn Jewel
The earl of Banallt is no stranger to scandal. But when he meets Sophie Evans, the young wife of a fellow libertine, even he is shocked by his reaction. This unconventional and intelligent woman proves to be far more than an amusing distraction-- she threatens to drive him to distraction. Unlike the women who usually fall at Banallt's feet, ...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780425225516
ISBN-10: 0425225518
Publication Date: 1/6/2009
Pages: 320
Rating:
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 53

3.9 stars, based on 53 ratings
Publisher: Berkley
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Scandal on + 79 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Memorable and certainly engrossing. It's downright dark compared to most things I've read lately, which is good a lot of the time, but it did get irritating and a little tedious at times. One of those reformed rake romances where the heroine is so annoyingly convinced that the hero is an utter cad and refuses to consider any evidence to the contrary, and you wish he'd just take her at her word and go find someone else. I felt like that more than once. Still though, it's not a total write-off. I'm sure some will love it, and Jewel is a talented enough writer to motivate me to check out some of her other works. I think this book has some good moments, just not anything that elevates it into keeper territory.
Grade: B-
Sensuality rating: R
reviewed Scandal on + 156 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Rating: B+

Sophie Evans was once married and deeply in love with Tommy Evans. She eloped to be with him when she was a young girl. It turns out he only wanted her for the inheritance she would bring him. He was a rake and a libertine, yet she loved him anyway. Her husband Tommy was friends with the Earl of Banallt. The Earl's reputation for womanizing was legendary and it was no surprise that Tommy would be friends with him. The Earl after taking one look at Sophie was fascinated by her and wanted to have an affair with her. Sophie, with her upstanding morals, refused to be seduced, which only made Bannalt more fascinated. Fast forward to present time and she is now a widow. The Earl is convinced he has changed his ways and wants to make Sophie his wife.

Scandal is an excellent historical. This is my first book by Carolyn Jewel and I really enjoy her writing style. There is not a lot of external action to this book. It is much more a progress of the the characters emotional debate within themselves and each other that move the plot along. Usually, these types of books tend to bore me, but because the characters are so strong in this book, it works in this case.

Scandal first starts with Sophie currently living with her brother after her husband Tommy has died. The reader knows she has a past history with Bannalt, but it is not clear exactly what that relationship entailed. A few chapters alternate between present and past and eventually the whole story in all it's gory detail is revealed. (It's really not that gory!)

The real strength to Scandal is that these characters really felt as if they were truly nineteenth century people. So many times you read a historical where the characters could be replaced in any time or setting and there would be nary a difference in their behavior. You don't realize it until you read a book like Scandal and can see the difference. I read this book based on the Smart Bitches review and I am certainly glad I did. I definitely plan on reading more by Ms. Jewel.
reviewed Scandal on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
As another member mentioned, the h/h's past history really isn't that gory. I see that as the major flaw of the book. The entire story you're told that she hates him for what he did to her all those years ago. By the end of the book, you're prepared for something horrible to justify her feelings. However, once the final backstory chapter happens, you can't help feeling disappointed, as it's such a minor issue.
reviewed Scandal on + 136 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
~ I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK; BANALLT IS ONE OF THE BEST HEROES I'VE READ IN A LONG TIME (4.5 stars) ~

My thanks to my GR friends who recommended this book and kept reminding me to read it! Such a fabulous book. Perfect for fans of reformed rakes / persistent men and sad widows / self-contained wallflowers. I got it from the library, but will definitely be buying my own copy so I can easily reread in the future. So much better than my other Carolyn Jewel experience, INDISCREET.

LOVED:
* Main characters together - Both Sophie and Banallt have made it onto my favorite heroines and heroes lists, respectively. They are absolutely perfect together, such a wonderful pairing! Love the sense of ease and camaraderie between them.

* Sophie (26) - She is one of those heroines I love: intelligent, somewhat socially awkward, not pretty, quiet, but also opinionated, strong, and (at times) passionate. She has such an inner strength from what she had to do in order to survive her first marriage and not let herself be completely broken down. She definitely guards herself, but it's very understandable why and I thought her wariness combined with Banallt's persistence - and how it slowly breaks her down - was very well-done.

* Banallt (33) - He was utterly fabulous. His "before" and "after" both feel very authentic, yet the transformation between the two is believable. In the present-day of the story, he's become the reformed rake and ::sigh:: he's just dreamy - so passionately in love with Sophie and a very, very decent man. I love it when he's deliciously, quietly jealous - and totally does not want to be! I also love his persistence, determination, and possessiveness / feelings of self-sacrifice. We get a great deal of internal monologue from him and in some ways I felt like I knew him better than Sophie. Minor, but I *loved* Banallt's necktie problem - his necktie was always askew and Sophie was always fixing it right. Too cute!

* Chemistry - Definitely felt it between Sophie and Banallt, and in some places positively sizzles. For the most part, the love scenes are wonderful, though occasionally too many descriptors and metaphors are used, to the point where I wasn't sure who was doing what where.

* Authenticity - In many ways, Jewel's book is quite "realistic" (mind you, everything's relative). Our main characters have suffered a lot. Bad things happen. Sophie used her talent and ingenuity to make ends meet when she was married to her crapola of a husband. Pre-reformation Banallt is quite unlikable - charming, yes, but still not hero-material - and a blatant and unrepentant adulterer and scoundrel. Other things.

* The back and forth - The book mainly takes place in the "present," but is interspersed throughout with flashbacks to the different meetings between Sophie and Banallt during her marriage to Mr. A-hole. Those chapters are very well-integrated and I'm so glad they were included; I was afraid we wouldn't get to enjoy how they came to know one another. I also like how we draw closer and closer to that last meeting (in the past), when we see why they parted so badly.

* Supporting characters - They were great additions, while also not - as I feared at one point - being used for any plot-lengthening or obstacle-placing ploys.

DISLIKED:
* Names, names, names - This is a minor pet peeve of mine, but I don't like it when a whole book goes by and not once does the heroine call the hero by his first name. It bothers me. Drives me crazy. You're more than a drinking buddy - the man has been inside you, for god's sakes - maybe your address can be a little more familiar and you don't have to always call him by his title. Just a thought. On the subject of names, what was up with all the weird first and last ones here? Sophie and her brother are the only "normal" ones all-around.

* Unbalanced feelings - Banallt was so passionately in love with Sophie, and even though he is often quiet about it on the outside, as a reader we know it because we're hearing his thoughts and told his feelings. While Sophie did also have strong feelings for him, I don't know that they always measured up and because of that, I thought her declarations needed to be a little stronger and more emphatic (prime ex: the ending; see second-to-last bullet). We know very clearly that it is far more than her looks and body that appeals to him (though those do as well), while with Sophie we hear a little too much about Banallt's looks and not enough about his other attributes.

* Sophie's lack of faith/trust - Personally, I think this went on a little too long. Granted, we know what Banallt is really thinking and feeling, so we know he's being honest and will be faithful, but she should have at least been more conflicted about whether or not to believe him. And when faced with rumors, I wish she had just straight out asked him, instead of thinking maybe they were true, maybe they weren't.

* Sophie's love for her husband - I'm actually torn on this one. I think that it was probably more realistic that it took awhile for her love for her husband to die, even after she realized he wasn't the man she thought he was. Such strong feelings don't just die in one day, and sometimes it seemed like it was the idea of him, of what she had thought he was, that she continued to love. Other times though, even though she hated what he did and how he treated her, she seemed to still care for him, and I found it hard to understand.

* Banallt's wife - I would have liked more details on her and their marriage. I also still have no idea what happened to her and how she died; think Jewel forgot to wrap that part of the story up completely.

* Rushed ending and no epilogue - Everything went at a nice, steady pace, until that very last scene. It was an important part of the story and of their relationship and definitely warranted more page-time. Especially given the rushed feeling of the ending (and that the book ends when Napoleon has just escaped Elba), an epilogue should have been included.

FAVORITE QUOTES:
There are more, but here are a few. Typing these up is going to make me fall in love with Banallt over again! ...

"Anxiety pressed in on Banallt, which annoyed him to no end. What he wanted from this moment was proof she hadn't taken possession of his heart. That his memories of her, of the two of them, were distorted by past circumstance. They had met during a turbulent time in his life during which he had perhaps not always behaved as a gentleman ought. They had parted on a day that had forever scarred him. He wanted to see her as plain and uninteresting. He wanted to think that, after all, he'd been mistaken about her eyes. He wanted his fascination with her to have vanished. None of that had happened." (p. 2)

"Met they had, and Christ, he'd fallen hard. Precisely, he thought, because she was so unexpectedly the opposite of everything. The opposite of his expectations, the opposite of his desires, the opposite of any woman ever to flit into his imagination." (p. 6)

"Just that one look from her and all his pent-up and repressed feelings for her returned in force: his anticipation of her company; his delight in her intellect, her wit, her eyes; the way his body clenched when he was near her. No, nothing at all had changed." (p. 11)

"'I would not marry a man I did not love. And therefore, if I were married to you, it would be because I was in love. And to a woman in love, faithfulness is the air she breathes, not a meal she chooses. One day this, another that. Changing menus all the time because one grows bored.'" (p. 84)

"Before Sophie, his interaction with women had been, in essence, about him. [...] With Sophie, the compulsion to stare came from someplace deep inside him, and he could no more stop himself from looking at her than he could stop breathing." (p. 154)

"She wasn't his. Not legally. He could as yet lay no claim to her heart. He wanted the ceremony that would make her indisputably his. He wanted Sophie to be the mother of his children. He wanted Sophie. He wouldn't ever be whole without her." (p. 180)

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reviewed Scandal on + 58 more book reviews
First book I read by this author. Sweet story. Gives lots of insight to the personalities of the characters. At first I didn't think I liked the switching from present day to the past and back, but it was a great way to expose the relationship. I will read more from Carolyn Jewel.


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