Wednesday, January 12, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Prelude To A Scandal by Delilah Marvelle

HQN Historical Jan 2011

384 pages by Delilah Marvelle


Lady Justine is willing to trade her good name, her reputation and her place in London's gossip-hungry ton to secure her father's release from prison. But when the notorious Duke of Bradford counters her offer with a proposal of marriage, the stakes grow higher still. For while the smoldering lord is famous for his conquests, the man is oblivious to both her devotion and her charms. And Justine is soon afraid she has wagered all for naught….


A sex addict?? In a historical? In the 1820's? I couldn't resist checking this book out, I have never read this author before.

Radcliffe is one of the most frustrating and fascinating heroes I have read in some time. Secluded away for months, due to a nasty scar down the side of his face, received in some scandalous situation, Radcliffe nonetheless receives letters from Lady Justine Fedora Palmer, she continues to write even though he never responds.
Out of the blue, he finally does respond, proposing marriage. He will assist in getting her father released from prison for his research and printings about animal and human sexuality. He will not see her until the day of the wedding.

Just how bad is this scar? Justine cannot stay away, and she find Radcliffe's problem is some perceived notion that he is some sex addict. I say perceived, because by the time I finished the book I wondered if he really did have this problem or was it part of all his other various hang-ups and issues. Radcliffe is messed up, no mistake. And not in a good way. He came across as petulant and spoiled a lot of the time. And yes, randy as all get out. There are a few disturbing revelations about Radcliffe that did not endear him to me.

Talk about a marriage getting off to a rocky start. The bulk of the book is these two people trying to find some kind of calm, common ground on which to build their marriage. Outside forces like Carlton, Radcliffe's scumbag brother and Carlton's pregnant mistress add to the whole distasteful aspect of the book.

But then, there were some poignant moments between Radcliffe and Justine. And times I did feel sorry for Radcliffe and his carriage load full of issues.
I felt the sex addict issue was not reasonably explained or really concluded satisfactorily. Maybe Radcliffe just likes sex. His addition seemed to come and go for no reason.

Justine deserves a medal for her patience and compassion. But, ultimately, it runs out, not that I blame her. She goes off to Africa with her parents, (with Radcliffe's blessing) and waits. She wants him to make the grand gesture of following her across half a continent and finally admit he loves her. Justine was likable enough as a heroine, a little prudish at times, but Radcliffe soon cured her of that.

This was a roller coaster of a read, some of the drama is way over the top, as is some of the emotions.
I wouldn't go as far to say I disliked Radcliffe, at times, I felt quite sorry for him. And, yes, he was a walking sex bomb. But outside of that, he was too messed up for me to fully embrace him as a great hero. Too bad.
Overall it was an enjoyable read, some funny moments, some poignant, and some that kind of made me go 'ick'. Quite a mixture, actually. A different subject for a historical, just not as fully explored as I would have liked.

2 3/4 out of 4 stars for the book

KOVER KUDOS: Love the peach type colors on the cover. And the models fit the descriptions of the main characters.

3 out of 4 stars for the cover

NOTE: I am reading and reviewing the next two books in this trilogy~


Anonymous said...

This certainly sounds different, I am interested!

Thanks for the review!


Karyn Gerrard said...

It was different, it was interesting, and the hero was too flawed for me to embrace. But, it is certainly worth a look!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful review. I have this book and am looking forward to reading it. I agree, the cover is lovely.

Love your blog, btw!

Karyn Gerrard said...

Hi Barbara, thanks so much! It was a fascinating read, I must admit, like nothing I had quite read before.

And thanks so much about my little blog~