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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Perfect Scandal by Delilah Marvelle

The Perfect Scandal by Delilah Marvelle
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (379 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

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 not only an honorable gentleman who would never seduce a woman for his own gain, he is also the author of How to Avoid a Scandal, the infamous red book that has swept like wildfire through the better part of London society.

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 protégé 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.

Before you can love another you must first learn to love yourself, forgive yourself for past mistakes and when the world around you feels chaotic, it’s okay to not always be in control. These are a few of the hard lessons that both Tristan Hargrove, Fourth Marquis of Moreland and Countess Zosia Kwiatkowska must learn before they can honestly give their hearts to one another. Admittedly, Zosia seems to have an easier time of going with flow where Hargrove is concerned with the changes she causes in his life.

Take whatever you thought you knew about all the basic elements of a typical Regency romance and toss at least sixty percent of it out the window. The Perfect Scandal is NOT your typical Regency romance. There are so many elements of this book that left me thinking “Wow!” I could only begin to describe a few but I would rather let you experience the taboos and unique surprises Ms. Marvelle penned in this last installment.

Let me also suggest you read the letter to the reader by Ms. Marvelle. She has embraced her heritage with pride and you experience that nationalism within this story. There is Polish history woven into the plot along with her imagination of how Poland and Russia could have been connected by royal blood. I felt that underlying story arc was completely plausible and well thought out.

As with the first two books, each chapter is introduced by a passage from the ladies etiquette book How To Avoid A Scandal. Where this book differs substantially, you are given parts of the original manuscript including editing marks. I can’t emphasize enough, do not skip over the lines that are crossed out. They are incredibly funny when taken in context with the rest of the excerpt and as well as revealing of the true personality of the author of the book.

Ms. Marvelle never fails to create characters that are full of passion and wit. Tristan and Zosia are not exception. You briefly meet Tristan in Once Upon A Scandal but his own story is so poignant and breathtakingly gripping I’m thrilled Ms. Marvelle gave him his own book. Likewise, Zosia’s past, what she knows of it, affects her outlook on life and her wit keeps Tristan stirred up and coming back for more. The way she gets under his tightly organized skin is so funny I found myself laughing out loud more than once and looking forward to each encounter.

If like me you inadvertently read the books in this series out of order, you won’t really have messed anything up except that you know going into the first two books who is the unknown author of the little red bound etiquette book. Fear not, it won’t ruin the other two books as they are stand alones even with the knowledge. This has been a terrific trilogy to be able to read and I highly recommend all three books in the series.