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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Scandalous by Diane Drew

Scandalous by Diane Drew
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (284 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Lilac

A rumor surfaces, trapping Adam Hastings and Elizabeth Randolph into wedlock. Adam senses entrapment and sets out to prove the impoverished Randolphs initiated the gossip. Elizabeth would rather wed a groom to salvage her reputation than the wealthy Hastings rake, but her father's threat to use her sisters to fill the family coffers keeps her silent. Shame keeps her from revealing her father's treachery. Once Adam discovers a jealous husband planted the gossip, he accepts his responsibility to save Elizabeth's reputation. Elizabeth runs from her father's schemes, but when the truth is revealed, their fragile love may shatter.

A forced marriage leads to something more in this intriguing historical.

Adam Hastings is visiting his good friend Helen when he learns of a rumor involving him and Helen’s niece, Elizabeth Randolph. Now, thanks to the scandal, Adam and Elizabeth find themselves with no choice but to marry. Adam has no wish to marry the young woman, but duty and honor leave him without options. Despite this he is determined to learn the truth behind the whole scandal and prove the guilt and greed of the Randolphs. Adam isn’t the only one reluctant to head to the altar as Elizabeth has no desire to be wed either, but her treacherous father leaves her with no choice if she wishes to protect her loved ones.

While Adam and Elizabeth’s relationship gets off to an inauspicious start, they quickly discover that perhaps a forced marriage isn’t such a bad thing after all as they definitely have chemistry and a mutual attraction. These spirited characters were quite likeable and I couldn’t help but wish them to find happiness as the story progresses. I enjoyed their budding relationship with one another, but it was one filled with danger, doubts, and ups-and-downs that threaten to destroy their tentative bond, but that lead to one entertaining story.

While I enjoyed this story a great deal, there were a few things that I wish had been handled a differently. At times the story and the plot line involving Elizabeth’s inheritance felt too complicated and confusing for the story to flow easily. There were too many threads involving the inheritance, Elizabeth’s mother and father, and the threats the couple faces because of it, which I felt weighed down the plot slightly.

Another thing that I wish had been addressed, but was left unmentioned by the end was the rumor of Adam’s relationship with Elizabeth’s aunt, Helen. Upon learning of the rumor Elizabeth is hurt, but she doesn’t confront or even ask Adam about it. As hurt as she was upon learning of the rumors, despite the source, I would have thought she’d at least ask Adam about them so their relationship could move on.

In spite of these things, I still found Scandalous to be an enjoyable read with likeable characters and a wonderful romance.