- Series: The Reckless Brides (Book 2)
- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; 1 edition (December 24, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250003806
- ISBN-13: 978-1250003805
- Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1 x 6.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,951,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Breath of Scandal: The Reckless Brides Mass Market Paperback – December 24, 2012
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*Starred Review* Isn’t it bad enough that Antigone Preston is named for a heroine in a Greek tragedy? Did her life have to resemble one as well? Immediately after her father’s untimely death, Antigone discovers her mother is trying to marry her off to the very wealthy and ancient Lord Aldridge. Antigone can’t understand why the ever-so-refined and aristocratic Aldridge would want to marry a notorious hoyden such as herself, but she agrees to go along with her mother’s matchmaking scheme long enough for her sister, Cassandra, to find a suitable husband of her own. Unfortunately, at the ball celebrating her engagement, Antigone punches out a gentleman she is dancing with when he refuses to heed her warnings and keep his hands to himself. The resulting scandal nearly derails her engagement to Lord Aldridge, and Antigone is socially censored by everyone, with the exception of Commander William Jellicoe, who thinks she is the first truly interesting woman he has met. In the second installment in her Reckless Brides series, Essex tempers her graceful writing with tart wit, while the swoonworthy chemistry she creates between her refreshingly outspoken heroine and wonderfully honorable hero is perfection. --John Charles
“Essex's second Reckless Bride certainly suits the title. The bold heroine easily wins readers' hearts, along with her officer and gentleman hero. Essex brings a breath of fresh and funny air to the Regency while her stylish writing and intelligent characters appeal to hearts and minds. Pure, delicious, sexy pleasure awaits readers.” ―Romantic Times Book Reviews
“Elizabeth Essex will dazzle you with her sophisticated blend of vivid historical detail, exquisite characterization, and delicious sexual tension. Almost a Scandal is a breathtaking tale of rapturous romance and awe-inspiring adventure!” ―USA Today bestselling author Julianne MacLean on Almost a Scandal
“The perfect blend of fast-paced adventure and deliciously sexy romance. I couldn't put this book down! Almost a Scandal gets a place on my keeper shelf--I will read anything Elizabeth Essex writes!” ―New York Times bestselling author Celeste Bradley on Almost a Scandal
“Essex sweeps readers away with this high-seas, high-stakes romance featuring a daring heroine and a hero to die for. Brimming with explosive danger and smoldering passion, Almost a Scandal is a romance to treasure.” ―New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare on Almost a Scandal
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Top customer reviews
This old girl will always find a workaround. Not that (hang on a sec., damn I've forgotten the year again.) Thank God for this new generation of phone, which are really handheld computers when you get down to it. And because I have the disturbing habit of actually reading book-jackets, you'll no doubt remember the "hand-held" suitcases we used to carry.
We are of an age my dear, would that I could truly call you sister!
But I digress. A much easier thing for me now than even a decade ago, sigh. But it is what it is and does little good to complain. Time better spent reading, of course!
Well, ta for now as I do love to reread my favorite author's/ books as you can no doubt surmise.
Best wishes 'til next time.
Your admirer, A.
The one positive Lord Aldridge brings into the hushed arrangement is invitations to local balls and events and it is at such a gathering that Antigone causes a scandal by punching a groping young Lord on the dance floor. Her mother is scandalized but Antigone is not and neither is hero Will who admires her spunk. The two have a rousing conversation and both are admiring the finer qualities of the other. Will is charming, roguish and daring. Antigone is brave, a little reckless and loyal to her sister. They become fast friends.
The leads have a romance that starts as an adventure. Will learns that Antigone, who he endearingly calls by her last name, Preston, is self-sufficient. Will is a second son and a naval officer hoping to go back to sea, he does not expect to stay long at his family's estate. Antigone knows this and wants to squeeze all the time she can with Will. Antigone is caught in a fine mess. She does not want to jeopardize her older sister's chances of making a good match by causing a scandal but she just cannot stay away from excitement and she loves spending time with Will.
I liked Antigone. She was forthright for the most part and even though she was a spectacular horsewoman dressing in breeches, she was still feminine and she did not need to prove that she was a strong female by being combative with her male lead. These two knew how to disagree without being disagreeable. She also recognized her strengths and her self worth, two fine traits in a heroine. I look forward to the next book in this series.
**Spoilers to follow** Although Jellicoe is clearly enamored by Antigone, and pursues a relationship with her, he apparently thinks it's obvious that they won't marry because of his naval career. This obliviousness doesn't make sense, given his reliable and honorable character. Antigone falls in love with Will, but she, too, knows he won't marry her. This, too, doesn't quite make sense to me. And even as Antigone and Will's relationship continues to develop, Antigone's engagement with Aldridge is maintained. The more we learn about him, the worse he seems. At first, he's cold and controlling. Then, for a while, Antigone believes he's marrying her just for her horse. She's unhappy upon learning this, but at least it gives Aldridge a motive for wanting to marry her, which he had thus far been lacking. But then it turns out that Aldridge is actually a pedophile who finds boys in London to use for sexual gratification. Apparently this fact is widely know by his peers, but no one admits it or does anything about it. I don't know if this is a possibility in Regency England. Perhaps it's perfectly historically accurate. But it makes for pretty heavy going in a romance novel.
Moreover, the horrors don't end there. Finally, we learn that Aldridge had actually wanted to marry Antigone when she was 12 because she was a boyish girl. Her father refused multiple offers from Aldridge, but Antigone's mother was open to making a match between them. When Antigone's father dies, that opens the door for the mother to take up Aldridge's offer, even though she knows exactly who Aldridge is, what he does, and why he wants to marry Antigone. Antigone's father is described in the book as loving and wonderful, but also financially irresponsible. Her mother is presented as shallow and anxious about money and station. By the end, the mother is revealed as a moral monster, wholly willing to pimp out her daughter to another monster in order to secure her own well-being. I found it deeply unpleasant reading, as well as more than a little confusing. Supposedly, Antigone's parents loved each other. If her father was a deeply decent person, how can the sociopathic nature of his wife have escaped his notice? And how have Antigone and her sister lived normal, happy, healthy lives in the care of such a person? The moral psychology here makes no sense at all.
So please - do yourself a favor and go read "A Sense of Sin" or "The Danger of Desire", and give this one a pass.
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