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Once Upon a Scandal (The Scandal Series) Mass Market Paperback – January 18, 2011
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From the Author
To my dearest Reader,
I have always wanted to create a grittier version of a fairy tale similar to what the Grimm Brothers had explored. I wanted to write a real-life fairy tale that had every possible wrenching emotion in it, but without any of that easy-way-out-magic. So I set about creating a very twisted version of Cinderella. Yes, yes, I know that it's a story told time and time again, but it's a story I relate to on a very personal level. Only instead of making the heroine Cinderella, I wanted the hero to be Cinderella. I wanted him to be wildly romantic and kind and forever looking for his Princess Charming the way Cinderella had. So I gave him a big heart and introduced him to a stepmother who never liked him, and in turn, forced him to become a servant of a different sort. I then balanced his hardship by giving him a charming stepsister who absolutely adored him and sought to protect him at every turn. Instead of a glass slipper, I thought a ruby ring would best unfold my fairy tale.
Now as much as I adore England and its history, I have always wanted to set a story in beautiful Venice. So I started digging into its fascinating history and uncovered the cicisbeo (also known as Cavalier Servente). For those of you who don't know what a cicisbeo is, it was a practice in Italy amongst the nobility in the 18th and 19th century that allowed a married woman to keep a man whom her husband agreed for her to have during their marriage for a specified amount of time. This man served as her chaperone, her gallant and a servant similar to that of a lady's maid and a butler. It is said Lord Byron himself was a cicisbeo for a period of time to the married Contessa Teresa Gamba Guiccioli and that her husband was known to boast about it. Although scholars will argue as to whether a cicisbeo was also a lover to the married woman he served (some say yes, some say no), the lines blur enough for the story to swing either way. I'll leave you, dearest reader, to figure out on your own which way I'm swinging.
From the Back Cover
SHE WAS ABOUT TO FALL FOR THE ONLY MAN SHE WOULD EVER LOVE...FOR THE SECOND TIME.
Lady Victoria Jane Emerson left behind her girlish notions of romance when Jonathan deserted her without a backward glance. Now the time has come when she must finally choose a husband, and she has vowed to marry someone who will never break her heart.
Jonathan Pierce Thatcher, Viscount Remington, has returned home, free from all his family's debts. Only to discover that by some miracle he has been chosen to vie for the hand of his beloved Victoria. To convince his only love to once again believe in the magic of love and the promise of desire will be his greatest challenge yet.
A little red book by an unknown author.
Three unlikely couples...and scandal galore.
Look for the rest of the Scandal series!
ARE YOU READY TO BE SCANDALIZED?
Top customer reviews
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I also liked Victoria, the heroine. She's going through a terrible tragedy (the slow loss of her father due to madness) and even though Jonathan has broken her heart, she eventually and realistically comes to forgive him and embrace his love. She's no milquetoast heroine, but neither is she annoyingly "spunky" or a big pain in the butt just because she needs to give the hero a hard time to service the plot. She has good reasons for how she reacts and what she does, and I found her to be one of the more relatable and enjoyable heroines I've read in a long time (ditto for the heroine of the previous book, "Prelude to a Scandal"). Ms. Marvelle has a real talent for creating interesting and challenging heroines who you want to root for instead of groan at.
I greatly enjoyed the previous book ("Prelude to a Scandal"); those who have read it may be expecting the same level and amount of sensuality. This book focuses more on the romance than the sex, but there are several heated scenes between the hero and heroine. (The second one, in a carriage, is delightfully audacious and will make you smile as well as fan yourself.)
I have a quibble or two with the book. Near the end, there is a terrifying scene involving Victoria. Although the scene is very well written and made me shudder (I literally felt what the heroine was feeling, so brava to Ms. Marvelle!), it comes about through an incredible coincidence that I didn't buy. I can think of other ways this scene could have come about (though probably not in the chosen setting) that would have arisen naturally out of the plot.
Additionally, the part of the plot where Victoria must choose from three suitors seemed far-fetched (would a father really force his daughter to marry this way?), but I gave Ms. Marvelle the benefit of the doubt, and the resulting scenes were well-written and quite tender, including one between Victoria and one of the other suitors. What could have been a perfunctory scene showing why this other man was clearly inferior and not right for her was instead poignant and heartfelt. Even though Victoria chose Jonathan, you have the sense that the man she didn't choose would have made a decent and loving husband nevertheless. I applaud Ms. Marvelle for not taking the easy way out with this scene and this character.
Overall, I loved this book--it was another that I couldn't put down and finished in less than two days. I can't wait to dive into the next one in the series ("The Perfect Scandal"). Ms. Marvelle continues to push the boundaries of historical romance by giving us atypical heroes, heroines, and storylines that liven up the genre and pleasingly defy reader expectations.
passion,family madness,a quest for a husband,and the trials of love lost and found again. While Lady Victoria lost her heart at a young age,she must protect it now,protect her father who is going mad,and find a husband to fulfill her inheritance. When Viscount Remington had to leave Lady Victoria he had to leave his heart,soul and his beliefs behind. This is another exciting historical romance where the characters must struggle to find true happiness and peace. A must read. Another fast paced story with a few twists and turns while Lady Victoria and Viscount Remington try to rebuild their lost love and their lives. This book was received for the purpose of review from Net Galley and the publisher. Details can be found at HQN and My Book Addiction Reviews.
Most recent customer reviews
- There's a decent amount of sadness and angst in the story,...Read more