Love and Other Scandals (Scandalous #1)
By: Caroline Linden
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
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?
I can’t remember exactly why I picked this book up but the premise sounded like fun and I was looking for a new historical romance author to read. I enjoyed the novella All’s Fair in Love and Scandal (review; also, a bit of a cheat as it focuses on Joan’s brother) so suffice to say I was looking forward to reading this.
I pretty much enjoyed the book from the first two chapters, establishing the Bennet household, the siblings, and how Tristan Lord Burke factors into their relationship and their story. It’s always nice to read a historical romance that establishes the family dynamics quite well and here it’s quite established indeed; it has its obvious flaws and issues with the mother searching for spouses for her children and a sort of passive aggressive conflict/tension/whateveryouwanttocallit between mother and children, but other than that it’s clear that it’s a loving household with all of its quirks and different personalities and dynamics. I especially enjoyed it when Joan’s aunt, Evangeline, came to the scene to stir things up and help Joan along xD It’s a pity Joan’s brother Douglas doesn’t make an appearance towards the end after Joan and Tristan are engaged, but at least the novella addressed what happened when he found out the news.
Speaking of which, gah, the romance between Joan and Tristan was a lot of fun to read, their chemistry just crackled from the first scene. Joan has quite a wit but unfortunately it has not garnered her many (if any, really) marriage suites and Tristan underneath his rakish behaviour is actually quite a supporter of innovation and scientific pursuit. Tristan’s sense of always rising to a challenge or a wager was rather amusing, and pretty hot at times when it came to bantering with Joan, each time just falling deeper and deeper in love with her. I love how the development of their romance had that balance of fun and steaminess, but at the same time there’s a growing sense of communication between them that by the end of the novel, they’re able to discuss things without fear of reproach or feeling embarrassed or uncertain or whathaveyou.
So in short, I enjoyed reading Love and Other Scandals. It was fun, it had me chuckling at times, it moved at a reasonably good pace; some obstacles that popped up along the way that I thought would drag for the remainder of the novel thankfully were resolved within a chapter or two, allowing more time for Tristan and Joan’s relationship to develop further. As I was reading there were a few minor elements of the story that I thought could’ve been fleshed out further or developed earlier or had some proper conclusions (namely Tristan’s nasty aunt and her daughters being put in their place for all of their insipidness) but as I already forgot what they are, they are minor enough to ignore. I can’t wait to read the other books in this series, following Joan’s friends 🙂