Ripe for Scandal
Lord save me from C reviews. Neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring, they take ages to read, ages to review, and generally leave me thinking What was the bloody point?
Ripe for Scandal is a perfect example. It’s not a bad book. And it’s not offensive. Yeah, it does some things wrong, but it also does some things right. So where does that leave us? C-ville.
So apparently Lady Boudicea “Beau” Vaughn and family friend Gareth Sandison have been sniping at each other for ages. I’ll take the author’s word for it, because I sure didn’t see it. But the verbal swordplay is a cover for major lusting. The lusting I saw.
Anyway, Beau gets into trouble. What happens is that months ago she refused, among many others, Suitor A, and now she’s being courted by Suitor B. What she doesn’t know is that Suitor A is a Villain! He Wants Beau!! And he’ll do anything to get revenge on her for refusing him!!! So Suitor A seduces the sister of Suitor B, forcing Suitor B to kidnap Beau and deliver her to Suitor A.
Suitor A: You are stupid. Suitor B: You are stupider.
Moving along. On the road Suitor B and Beau bump into Gareth, who thinks Beau is eloping but nevertheless pretends to be a highwayman and whisks Beau away on his horse. Beau’s wheels start turning: “If my older brother finds out, he’s going to send me away! Even though it’s not my fault! So I’ll seduce Gareth, and he can marry me, which is okay because I’ve liked him forever and ever and ever!”
Now Gareth, see, is a second son. And he’s a member of a super serious club which swears, cross their hearts and hope to die, to glory in being second sons, because they’re just sooooo much better than firstborns. As a second son, Gareth never thought he’d able to win Beau, so he made do by bitching at her – sorry, “crossing wits” with her. But with her reputation on the line, even though he’s a second son (did I mention that already?), he’ll just have to sacrifice his own honor, pretend he seduced her, and marry her.
Beau: You are selfish. Gareth: You’re mistakenly honorable. I don’t know which is worse.
Halfway through the book, after lots of fondling and sex, a soap opera-y plot rears its head. It could have been interesting, but it was a) too late and b) over the top. Unfortunately, it also takes over the book. And when I say take over, I’m thinking of the plant in Little Shop of Horrors.
What went well? The grammar – that was fine. The prose – basically okay. A real Georgian setting – that’s nice. And like I said, in the right frame of mind, context, and probably in the next book, the soap opera could lead to an interesting read.
But realistically, I probably won’t check out the third book in the League of Second Sons series. Life is way too short to spend it on low odds.