Thursday 31 October 2013

#CBR Book 130. "Love and Other Scandals" by Caroline Linden

Page count: 384 pages
Rating: 2.5 stars

Miss Joan Bennet is dangerously close to being on the shelf, and the only thing close to romance she is experiencing is in literary form.  Her mother keeps dressing her in the height of fashion, yet her with her tall, curvy figure, she looks like an idiot. At social gatherings and balls, she's a constant wallflower. She'd love to be noticed, by anyone at all. Except possibly Lord Tristan Burke, her brother's best friend and a notorious rake. Lord Burke thinks Joan is a bossy Fury, who's made it her life's mission to torment her brother as much as possible. But when Joan's parents have to go to the seaside for Joan's mother to convalesce, and Joan's brother is sent away to see to repairs on the family estate, he asks Lord Burke to make sure Joan stays out of trouble.

Joan's eccentric and slightly scandalous aunt comes to stay with her, and soon Joan has a new and improved wardrobe which flatters her rather than makes her look like a gaudy umbrella. Lord Burke, who has already discovered that the best way to shut his best friend's bossy and opinionated sister up is by kissing her senseless, is suddenly starting to consider whether he may not have to change his mind about what a chore it is to have to entertain her while her family are out of town.

I really liked Caroline Linden's The Truth About the Duke trilogy, which I read earlier this year. Romance is also a good choice for the 24 hour Read-a-Thon, as the books tend to be frothy and easy to read. There just wasn't all that much to this book. Having finished this book about two and a half weeks' ago, I was actually having to struggle to remember the plot for the two paragraphs of summary. There is no great conflict. Joan and Tristan met for the first time as children, because Tristan is Joan's brother's best friend. Tristan was orphaned and raised by his horrible relatives, and has always envied the Bennet family their closeness. He's a rake, he doesn't think he wants commitment. Joan reads romance, in particular a smutty story in eagerly awaited instalments called 50 Ways to Sin (yes, exactly. See what she did there?) and thinks she knows what to expect from romance and sex because of it. They bicker, then Tristan kisses her once to shut her up (because that's always charming) and from there it's pretty much insta-lust.

There was nothing much to distinguish any of the characters or make me care about them and their romance. Caroline Linden isn't a bad writer, as such, so there were some fun descriptions and some witty banter on occasion, but every time I was starting to think that maybe the book wasn't so meh after all, up popped a mention of the 50 Ways to Sin again, and made me want to rage-quit the book. By no means a bad romance novel, merely mediocre, and really rather forgettable. If you want good romance to read, give this one a miss, and take a look at my Top 100 romances instead.

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