Friday, December 28, 2012
My Scandalous Viscount
Carissa Portland and Sebastian, Viscount Beauchamp, have always had a rather antagonistic relationship with each trying to one up each other even while all of their friends have paired off and married. Carissa knows that Beau can tell her where her best friends have gone, but as part of the Inferno Club, Beau is honor bound to protect the safe location of his friends' wives while they have gone to Germany to try to put a stop to the evil Prometheans. Carissa has established herself as a "lady of information" among the ton and so she finds herself caught up in Beau's scheduled rendezvous with a mysterious lady. Unfortunately Beau is actually meeting his friend, a fellow Inferno Club member who has turned rogue as a hired assasin and is threatening to murder another of their Inferno Club members, who he has hostage, if Beau doesn't agree to stop searching for them. Carissa ends up shot and when Beau takes her to the Inferno Club for overnight care, it causes a scandal and both of them realize they must marry. Carissa and Beau are both determined to make the most of the situation and believe that they can have a happy marriage, even though both of them are entering it with secrets. Carissa is hiding her past affair with a poet while Beau is trying to protect her by disguising some of the more dangerous aspects of his life as an Inferno Club member.
Beau discovers on their wedding night that Carissa is not a virgin and while at first he is hurt, it causes him to reflect on the pain he has caused in other marriages with his rakish ways, so he is more upset at her for not telling him the truth than at her not being a virgin. Carissa worries that if she tells him she will ruin any chance of a happy future with him and is very aware that he is keeping secrets of his own from her. The Inferno Club has come under investigation from the government and Carissa decides to take matters into her own hands and do a bit of spying on her own which of course infuriates Beau and he forbids her to continue. But with the Inferno Club on the line and someone high up in the government obviously trying to create massive problems for Beau and his fellow spies, Beau must learn to finally open his heart and trust his wife in order for both of them to solve their mystery and ensure the safety of England and their friends.
I had definitely grown tired of the Inferno Club and the last entry in the series was one of the worst I have ever read, but I picked this up because the big Promethean conspiracy part was over and I was hoping that Foley would get back to writing fun and truly romantic novels. This book started that journey, but still was a long way from the best that she can do even while the mystery plot was far more interesting and did not complete overwhelm the story. Carissa is a nosy busybody whose inability to mind her own business is extremely unlikable even while we are supposed to believe she only does it to cover up her own indiscretion; this explanation makes no sense and does not make me likely to forget her issues. Her dedication to helping her husband is admirable but throwing herself into harms way, especially since she knows it is a dangerous situation, really puts her into TSTL territory. Honestly it is her fear of revealing the truth to Beau about her virginity, that most humanizes her to me and really makes her a relatable character because in that era it would be an anomaly for a man to forgive this in his wife.
Beau has his own secrets and it is far less forgivable that he continues to keep so much of his life secret from her than when she does the same. Even when she proves herself to be trustworthy and helpful, he throws up roadblocks to their happiness and it comes across as just a means of extending the novel. I did like reading about him developing feelings for Carissa and coming to love her and I really felt that if the book had focused more on the romance and their relationship that it would have been better off. Many of the problems I had arose from issues that only appeared during the mystery/ Inferno Club part and perhaps without that, they would have been perfectly wonderful characters. There was a decent amount of sex and it was pretty hot, but about halfway through the book other things started to take over and it kind of went by the wayside. The mystery plot was certainly interesting and involved conspiracies and secret identities and people coming back from the dead and I was actually intrigued by what would happen, and I liked that it meshed fairly well with the romance.
Rating: I did not precisely enjoy this book and would have definitely liked more romance, but I was interested in the mystery and it was an improvement.