Sunday, March 6, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: The Perfect Scandal by Delilah Marvelle

HQN Romance March 2011

382 pages By Delilah Marvelle



If there is anything Tristan Adam Hargrove, fourth Marquis of Moreland, has learned to avoid, it's scandal. For the dark and dashing lord is an honorable gentleman who would never seduce a woman for his own gain.

When a raven-haired beauty arrives as his new neighbor, he knows better than to succumb to the desire he feels. He knows little about her -- only that she is high born, a protege of the Crown and completely unsuitable for the base passions he hides from the world. If only he had never glimpsed the vulnerable beauty one fateful night. If only her lips were not so ravishingly red. If only it were not already too late to save her and himself from the untamed passion he is about to unleash in the name of love.

A little red book by an Unknown Author.
Three unlikely couples...and scandal galore!
Look for the rest of the Scandal Series!


Of the three books in this scandal series, I enjoyed this the most. Delilah Marvelle gives us another romantic, sensual pot boiler that is over the top in drama and tortured, damaged characters.

Tristan Adam Hargrove, the Marquis of Moreland leads a very ordered life, the very outward picture of respectability. So he is quite shaken when on his way home, a woman calls out to him from a window above, trying to engage him in conversation.

The woman turns out to be rather forward, suggesting a possible marriage while she scandalously hangs the the window revealing quite the lush body. Moreland is intrigued enough to meet this beauty the following day.

Like all of Marvelle's heroes, Moreland is far from perfect, he has a certain proclivity that may raise an eyebrow, he likes a little pain with his nightcap, preferably of the self-inflicted cutting variety. I also liked his prickly relationship with his grandmother, a formidable woman indeed. Moreland also possesses a rye, sly sense of humor, and in this strange mix is also incredibly sexy.

But it is the budding relationship between Moreland and the woman in the window, the Countess Zosia Urszula Kwiatkowska, exile from Poleland, that fuels this story. She is indeed a beauty, but also crippled, missing a leg from a tragic accident. The English king wants her married to a titled Englishman, Zosia has her eye firmly fixed on Moreland. He is quite the stunning specimen, but she is also fascinated with his brutal honesty. He tells Zosia right up front about his certain proclivity, and instead of running screaming from him, she is curious, inquisitive. I like Zosia is so forward, something Moreland needs in his life. She is a very strong heroine, maybe overshadowing Moreland at times.

Zosia's family tree is truly muddled, in fact, my mind started to wander with all the various layers of her family and the reasons why the Russians are looking for her. Her back-story was fascinating enough, but at the end of the book the explanation of the history of Russia and Poland's tangled history went on a bit too long, though I did find it interesting enough. I agree with some other reviewers that the ending seemed a bit rushed.

This is a complicated read, with complicated characters, but I liked that aspect. Well written and plotted. Also liked the rough draft manuscripts at the beginning of each chapter, penned none other than Moreland himself, the anonymous author of that 'little red book of scandal.'
Sensual and raw in its emotions, Each book of this series was different, unique and very readable. I enjoyed this book the most of the three in the series. I think it was Moreland. Loved him, flaws and all.

RATING: 3.5 stars out of 4 for the book

KOVER KUDOS: Another lush, colorful cover, and very much how I would picture Moreland and Zosia. For some reason, I adore those lace cuffs on my Regency Rakes!

3 out of 4 stars for the cover


Anonymous said...

The first thing that captured my attention with the series was the covers. They are absolutely stunning. My pal, VampFanGirl has raved and raved about these books. I have two of them and hope to read them soon.

I really like stories that center around characters with many flaws. Real flaws, whether they be emotional or physical, and how they overcome any trials because of these flaws. I think it helps make the story all the more "realistic" as you read.

Great review, you have me looking forward to this one.

VampFanGirl said...

Great review Karyn! Love how you kept it spoiler free and honest.

I just started this one over the weekend and while I'm a bit skeptical with the heroine having only one leg and all, the characters themselves are already so richly drawn and intrigueing that one-legged heroine misgivings be damned!!

God I love me some Delilah Marvelle and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

Karyn Gerrard said...

Barbara, I agree, I love these covers as well.

Well if you like flaws, then you will love all three of these books. They are like nothing I have read before in a historical, and that really appealed to me! And I got to admit, Moreland was my fav hero of the three books.

Cheers and thanks~

Karyn Gerrard said...


Oh thanks, I do try to keep my reviews spoiler free, sometimes, it is hard!
Exactly, richly drawn and intriguing sums up both the hero and heroine in this book.
I eagerly await to see what Marvelle does next as well.


Dalila G. said...

Nice review Karyn!
I haven't read any of her books yet, but this one has me very curious.
Do I need to read them in order or can I jump right into book #3?
Though I can honestly say I would not mind getting my hands on books 1 & 2!! LOL!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, tis sounds different, thanks for the review, I will keep an eye out for this~


Karyn Gerrard said...

Hi Dalila!

No, you really don't have to read them in order, the plot is not connected. The 'Book of Scandal' is featured in all three, but not linked. Though Moreland the hero of book three does appear briefly in book 2.
I would say jump right in! Cheers~

Karyn Gerrard said...

jaundyce, it is very different, all part of the appeal, hope you pick it up!