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A Scandal to Remember: A Reckless Brides Novel (The Reckless Brides) Mass Market Paperback – August 26, 2014
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“Set sail with Essex as she cleverly pits a bluestocking against a stiff-upper-lipped British naval officer and lets the sparks fly. Essex spices her fast-paced tale with fascinating details of ships and sailing and adds plenty of sexual tension, high-seas adventures, danger and desire. Readers will be on the edges of their seats reading this latest Reckless Brides tale.” ―RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars, Top Pick!)
About the Author
Elizabeth Essex is the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed Reckless Brides historical romance series. When not rereading Jane Austen, mucking about in her garden or simply messing about with boats, Elizabeth can be always be found with her laptop, making up stories about heroes and heroines who live far more exciting lives than she. Her books have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, and RWA's prestigious RITA Award, and have made Top-Ten lists from Romantic Times, The Romance Reviews and Affaire de Coeur Magazine. Her fifth book, A BREATH OF SCANDAL, was awarded Best Historical in the Reader's Crown 2013. Elizabeth lives in Texas with her husband, the indispensable Mr. Essex, and her active and exuberant family in an old house filled to the brim with books. You can sign up for her newsletter at: eepurl.com/bQgwk9
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Top Customer Reviews
Lieutenant Dance is almost overwhelmed in his newest assignment. He is the second in command of a ship that is barely sea worthy. The crew is idle, untrustworthy and surly. The Captain is a drunkard that is barely seen outside of his state room and there are barnacles covering the hull of the ship. The vessel must sail around the world with a group of scientist from the Royal Society and Dance can hardly believe that his ship will be able to handle the journey.
Jane Burke is a scientist and close to being on the shelf at twenty-six. She is efficient, logical and smart. Going on the expedition is the bravest act she has ever accomplished. She worries that she will not be allowed on board but her fears are unfounded as Dance makes certain she and her little boat and equipment are stored aboard. Jane is a conchologist, she is an expert when it comes to shells but not when it comes to men.
Jane and Dance have a perfectly wonderful romance amidst a decidedly awful voyage. The voyage has many hardships like deserters, sabotage, swindlers and lack of ship discipline. These difficulties show the reader the stern stuff that makes up these characters, they respond to each crisis with aplomb and outright bravery. Dance is honorable and loyal. He is responsible and entirely dutiful. Jane falls a little for him more each day. They have charming dialogue and they are honest with each other.
Dance does not treat Jane as a dilettante, her shell seeking and cataloging is not a hobby and she is deserving of respect for her scientific finds and her quick mind. Jane is not like many heroines on a shipboard romance, she is not climbing the rig, hoisting sails, and proving she knows as much or more than Dance. No, she is in quiet awe of his talent and his ability to act in very difficult circumstances.
Their devotion to each other grows throughout this story as does their passion. Dance is protective without smothering. Jane is smart without being a know-it-all. These characters have chemistry and their journey although fraught with peril is a satisfying and sweet romance.
We have a sweet, little bluestocking - one of my favorite heroine types in our darling little Jane Eliza Burke, or J.E. Burke as she named herself in order to be able to go along on the Royal Philosophical Society's expedition to the south seas. Jane is a conchologist (I love this word) - an experienced knowledgeable naturalist with her expertise being in the study of mollusc shells. The Society assumed J.E. Burke was a man when they accepted her application - but "he" is actually Jane.
Our to-die-for hero is Lieutenant Charles Dance who arrives for his assignment on board the Royal Navy Frigate - the H.M.S. Tenacious to find a drunken captain, a good-for-nothing crew, a vessel that is sadly in need of repair and a sure-to-be enemy in the person of the bosun, Mr. Ransome. Now, here's where you can separate the gifted from the not-so-gifted writer. The manner in which Ms. Essex uses the character of Charles Dance to deal with his hellish circumstances throughout the story is a fine example of a truly gifted writer. In my opinion, Dance's daily struggles and the way he dealt with them - well, mostly, is what makes the story come alive and remain "real" in the mind of the reader.
Is there a romance? You betcha - can't you tell by the cover on the book? I strongly dislike these types of covers. They tend to deceive the reader in some cases and IMO can even hinder sales - now I'm off the subject. The cover is no indication of the story contained within the pages of this book. Is there a time on a deserted beach? I won't answer that, but I don't think you will be disappointed in the romance which builds over the course of time. This isn't a story where the captain takes the lady under his protection, stashes her in his cabin where they make hard and fast sex. No, but it is a deeper kind of story and I loved the managing ways Jane had in her dealings with people including Dance - not one of manipulation but one based on past personal difficulties where she had to manage and do the best she could and in fact, became somewhat of a master in taking care of stuff. Again, this part of Jane's persona was developed by a skilled writer.
One caveat: I did have one dislike - Dance used a naughty word beginning with the letter "F" more times than I can count and way more than in any historical romance novel I have ever read and which didn't exactly fit - at least to me. As I mentioned there were some gaps I would have enjoyed seeing filled, but when compared to so many other books out there, written by more well known authors, this one will be remembered by this reader long after some of those have left my mind.
*Received for an honest review from the publisher though Net Galley*
Heat rating: Hot
Reviewed by: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More