Monday, November 24, 2008
Lord of Scoundrels
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
This was my first Loretta Chase and let me just say that she really is as great a writer as everyone has said. In what is an admittedly cliched romance novel tick Jessica Trent first takes an "interest" in Sebastian Ballister, Marquess of Dain, because of his unfortunate ability to influence her brother to gamble, drink, and whore to excess. There is no crazy plot twist, no spy brigade, no murder plots, or any other such nonsense most authors throw into their books to take up space, because Ms. Chase is so talented at writing actual interactions between her characters- something I find remarkably refreshing.
Unfortunately much of the good stuff can be considered "spoilers" so I will attempt to make it invisible, most likely unsuccessfully. Please forgive me. Jessica is compromised at a ball, and both parties involved blame each other and Ms. Trent gets her revenge by SHOOTING him! I was absolutely poleaxed. I believe I reread that section several times before I fully understood what had occurred. So the two are married, after some great lawyer action, and things go swimmingly until... Sebastian's illegitimate child enters the picture. Not surprisingly Jane is all for the bastard joining in the party, but Dain isn't having any of it.
This book deserves five hearts purely based on the quality of the conversations, the interactions, etc... between the main characters. I was absolutely blown away. Jessica was at times a tad too likable for me, especially regarding a certain indiscretion, but she more than makes up for it with witty banter and... other actions. Like most romance novel heroes it is often difficult to determine precisely why the heroine falls in love with him, but Lord Dain is certainly at least minimally more likable then most of them. My one complaint might be that the book makes a very big deal about how much smaller Jessica is then the "cows" Daine usually sleeps with. This is explained away as his fear of sleeping with a small woman because of his own size. And of course at the end he realizes how much more enjoyable it is to sleep with a skinny short woman.
There is a rather confusing side plot involving minor characters attempting to steal, or trick each other into stealing, a certain painting which detracts more from the story than it adds but it does create a fun little incident at the end. The sex scenes were certainly steamy enough if too few. Ms. Chase is basically phenomenal worth words. Whether describing emotions or the attraction the characters feel toward each other she does it in new ways that aren't repetitive as many romance writers are when it comes to such important details that are often too hastily thrown together. She manages to turn an interesting, if somewhat overused, plot point into an amazing reason to throw two of my favorite romance characters ever together. And reading about their journey to Love together was a pleasure.