Desert Isle Keeper
First Comes Scandal
First Comes Scandal is just the sort of light, sweet-natured romance I – and likely the world – needs right now. With a marriage of convenience at its core, it’s a little traditional and a lot witty. It’s a lighthearted and enjoyable ride that will please most Bridgerton/Rokesby fans, even though it possesses a few flaws.
Nicholas Rokesby has been training to be a doctor in Edinburgh and is suddenly summoned home to Crake by his father, and has no idea why. The reason turns out to involve the recent kidnapping of bookish, spinsterly next-door neighbor Georgiana – Georgie – Bridgerton, a woman for whom he has sisterly feelings, as their families are quite close in relationship and proximity. When he discovers that Freddie Oakes was the kidnapper – Freddie is a good-natured gentleman whom everyone he knows gets along well with – he’s shocked. It seems he abducted Georgie in the hope of pressing her into marriage and gaining her fortune in order to settle a gambling debt, something she says she did not encourage.
Even though Georgie wasn’t physically violated by Freddie, her reputation is now in tatters. Thus, Nicolas’ father – Georgie’s godfather – suggests a marriage of convenience between Georgie and Nicholas in order to save her reputation.
Nicholas is aghast – remember, his feelings for Georgie are of the sisterly variety – and the notion of marrying for anything but love makes his blood run cold. Being the fourth son of the Earl and with his other siblings happily settled in advantageous and fecund marriages, he thought he might marry as he pleased as well. But his father is firm upon helping Georgie in her plight.
Georgie is painfully aware of her status as a twenty-six-year-old maiden and a bookish one at that. People, to her disgust, tell her she should have been grateful for Freddie’s intervention because, y’know – spinster – but while she’s never been against the institution of marriage she, too, wants to marry for love. But her mother’s been crying nonstop ever since the kidnapping and it’s likely that no man worth this salt will ever offer for her hand thanks to Freddie.
Thus do Georgie and Nicholas take up courting, and before either of them know it they’re on their way back to Edinburgh in the company of Georgie’s irascible cat, Cat-Head. But will their feelings ever turn from friendship and affection to true love?
It’s a Bridgerton/Rokesby novel so it’s a given you already know how a light, witty comedy like this one will turn out – a love match between two scholarly dorks who are wise in the way of the books but unwise in matters physical and romantic (those for whom virgin heroes are catnip, please enjoy this one), witty minor characters, and lots of banter.
SO much banter, and much of it is high in quality. Georgie and Nicholas are funny and sharp and a natural pair, and watching them figure that out is a treat.
The biggest of those flaws I mentioned is the novel’s pacing. Quinn jumps around a lot in the story, skipping months and days between big incidents, leaving the reader a bit bemused as we run to catch up with these two. I was also a bit annoyed by the feckless conclusion of the story, which is a little too light in tone for the way Georgie is feeling in that particular moment.
But otherwise, the reader is in comforting, professional hands. We get cameos from the other Bridgertons and Rokesbys, and the very tiny thus-far main line Bridgerton clan pop up (Colin is the most recently born of the siblings, and Benedict and Anthony also appear). There are wise (and wisenheimer) servants. There are some pretty good descriptions of time appropriate medical procedures and the frustrations faced by women interested in becoming doctors.
In the end, First Comes Scandal may not be the best in the series, but it comes highly recommended and will enjoy happy space on your shelf for years to come.
Buy it at: Amazon / Audible or shop at your local independent bookstore
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