Prelude To A Scandal by Delilah Marvelle
Length: Full Length (384 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by: Honeysuckle
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….
Her father imprisoned for demanding rights for sodomites, based on his study of animal habits, Lady Justine Palmer takes matters into her own hands and offers herself as payment to the one man who can rescue her father and clear his name.
If Justine had not known the Duke of Bradford for most of her life, petitioning The Rake Extraordinaire might have been more daunting if not downright scandalous. Imagine her surprise when Bradford agrees to her request but only if she promises to marry him first. To take a quote directly from Justine’s musings “a lady couldn’t always avoid a scandal”.
If this is your first experience with the writings of Delilah Marvelle you are in for a treat! The Scandal series takes the reader on a three part adventure that begins with Lady Justine Palmer and the Duke of Bradford, Radcliff E. Morton. Each book is easily a stand alone story but they have a common underlying thread regarding a women’s etiquette book entitled How To Avoid A Scandal by an unknown author. In each story the etiquette comes to the forefront of the relationship between the hero and heroine and contributes to the personal growth of both central characters. Ms. Marvelle begins each chapter with an excerpt from the book that gives a lead in to the chapter. One of the aspects of the stories that I found to be really funny was how often what is suggested in the excerpt is exactly the opposite of what either the hero or heroine does within the chapter.
Be sure to read the author’s letter to the reader at the beginning of each book. Not only does Ms. Marvelle share insight into how she came up with the plot but she gives you some terrific historical information that breathes life into the story.
I had so much fun reading each of the books in this series and simply loved both the hero’s and heroines. Justine has lived abroad most of her life and experienced so much more of the real world than most London debutantes that she doesn’t shy away from conversations that would make other young ladies blush if not fall into a dead faint. Likewise, Justine isn’t afraid to take on Bradford or his somewhat taboo proclivities. She is witty and sometimes downright feisty. I laughed out loud on more than several occasions. For his part, Bradford is just precious. Bless his heart he knows he has a problem and he honestly puts effort into curbing his sexual tendencies but he’s been giving in for so long that fighting his desires is downright painful. I couldn’t help but fall in love with him right along with Justine, even when his stubbornness is almost the death of their relationship.
These are so truly beautiful and breathe stealing stories. I’m so thankful I was able to read them back to back as a reviewer because I don’t think I would have been a very patient reader if I had had to wait for the February and March releases for Once Upon A Scandal or The Perfect Scandal. After reading this first book in the Scandal series be prepared to add the other two to your “must be read ASAP” list. You won’t be sorry!