The Perfect Scandal
The American Heiress in Europe is a particular interest of mine. Likewise I utterly love the Victorian period, so I was very happy to get the book The Perfect Scandal for review. The more I read, the madder I got. If didn’t know better, I would swear that this book was a parody of the old bodice ripper in all of its worst aspects.
Savannah Merriweather is an heiress. She and her family are from Chicago and her father has made an immense fortune in the pork business. Savannah’s social climbing mother has moved the family to New York where she is determined to invade the circle of the Four Hundred and have lunch with Mrs. Astor. Unfortunately, the Merriweathers are from Chicago, and they made their money in (horrors) trade! Also, Mr. Merriweather has committed the social gaffe of getting drunk and peeing in Mrs. Astor’s fireplace.
The only thing that can reedem them in the eyes of New York Society is for Savannah to marry into the British nobility. When Mrs. Merriweather finds out that the Earl of Castellane needs a wealthy wife, she sends Savannah over to England to meet him.
Savannah is a total idiot. She is always bursting out of the top of her dresses or splitting the seams, and she hates to wear underwear. When she gets to England to meet the Earl, she runs into a friend of hers named Charles (whom she wants as her lover), and to prove a point, she takes off her clothes in front of him. Charles drops the lantern he is holding and sets a stable on fire, and Savannah is rescued by a mysterious stranger. Later, she finds out the Earl is crazy as a bedbug, and is contemplating fleeing, when in comes the mysterious stranger.
He is Dominic Dare, an artist. Dominic proposes that he pose as the Earl because he wants to get to New York. Dominic and Savannah are thrown together on the ship voyage to New York and he spends his time with her in a state of almost constant arousal. Savannah spends her time on board ship eating chocolate, bursting her dress seams and hanging out with suffragettes.
When they get to New York, the plot gets muddled, with blackmailers, art forgers and everything but the kitchen sink. There is supposed to be a lot of sexual tension in the book, but I could not detect any despite all the throbbing manhoods and heaving bosoms. Dominic was a nonentity and Savannah was a thoroughly dislikable twit.
If I had not had to read this book for review, I would have tossed it out the window after the first chapter. The dialogue is stilted and the characters unrealistic and unlikable. Characters appear and disappear with no rhyme or reason and I could not connect with any of them. I am always predisposed to like a book when I start it, but it did not take me long to realize that there was nothing I liked about The Perfect Scandal; the only thing scandalous about it was that it was published.
|Review Date:||November 3, 1998|