Format Read: E-book, purchased by reviewer.
Series: The Merry Widows, #3
Genre: Steamy historical romance
Release Date: July 30, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press
Formats Available: eBook, Kindle, Nook
Purchasing Info: Publisher, Authorʼs Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance
From the moment Daphne, Lady Pomeroy, meets the mysterious Marquess of Hartwell at a masquerade ball, she’s determined to seduce him. The handsome, charming man cannot possibly be the cold, calculating lord who Society calls “Black Hart.” Risking everything, the lonely widow invites the elusive Hartwell to her dinner party…for two.
Hartwell’s arrogant reputation is built on a lie. For he has a shameful secret that keeps him in the shadows: a stutter–his downfall since childhood. He’d rather keep his mouth shut than look the fool. But he’s shocked to discover that in Daphne’s company–and in her bed–his stutter vanishes.
After one wanton evening together, Daphne is hurt when the lord lives up to his Black Hart name. Yet his reasons for leaving surprise even him. Now he must confess everything or risk losing Daphne forever…
I must admit that I bought this novella almost immediately after reading the blurb, nothing else. I’m very glad I’d decided to do that before reading other reviews on this. Whereas many reviews are lukewarm, I found this story to be an effective, memorable, and tightly-bound story that evokes some underserved (in my opinion) tropes.
Because this story is short–I think it might qualify as being of novelette length–it takes little time to dawdle. Fortunately, A Scandalous Affair is very quick in setting up an intriguing premise while at the same time establishing the main characters and making them feel real, lived in.
Also because of the limited length of this tale, the scope of the story remains focused on the two man characters, a wise move as the story moves along as though with a purpose. (A shorter story doesn’t have to equate to an overly rushed one, I say).
Even so, some might get impatient with the mental parry/lunge between the two main characters. I personally found it sweet to read about two people who intuitively see through to the heart of one another, and then have to spend time letting their conscious brains catch up enough to determine the whys of the initial attraction.
I really liked the heroine, named Daphne. She’s intelligent, logical yet in touch with her emotions. She’s witty and lively, and the balance between her and the hero is one of clever exploration. No misunderstandammits; unknowns stay unknown for good reason, and all of her actions ring genuine. I’d say the interplay between the two mains is easily a highlight of this story.
There’s something about a hero with a disability of some sort, one that most others can’t understand but that the romantic interest can see beyond to the amazing person within. I dug that trope in The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie, and I dig its much abbreviated form here. The matter of Camden’s “ailment” is, in my opinion, glossed over a bit much in the end, but the journey is effective.
Knowing this book is a part of a series, I got a little kick out of revisiting some former main characters. I have a feeling Daphne and Camden are going to make an appearance in a future book. (Please tell me there are going to be more books in this series! ^_^)
All told, this is a very short and satisfying read.
I give A Scandalous Affair 4 Stars
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