Author: Karen Robards
Published: January 2003 (Pocket)
Summary: When Lady Gabriella Banning receives word that her half-brother, the Earl of Wickham, has died on his tea plantation in Ceylon, she faces the reality that she and her younger sisters, Claire and Elizabeth, are suddenly penniless. The family's riches will pass to the next male heir -- a distant cousin -- and the Banning sisters are doomed unless Gabby thinks fast. Which she does. Pretending that Marcus is still alive, Gabby arranges Claire's London season. She'll keep up the pretense just long enough for Claire to marry a fabulously wealthy nobleman. But when a handsome gentleman arrives at the door and claims to be Marcus, Gabby's plan backfires -- and soon London society is abuzz over the scandalous pair of "siblings" who appear to be falling in love....
My Review: I ran across Scandalous at our university used book sale a few months ago, read the summary, and was thoroughly intrigued. After all, you get the "pose as my girlfriend/boyfriend/fiancée" storyline all the time, but how often do the love interests pose as SIBLINGS? To my recollection, I've never read another book where that happened. But if you have a good one where they did, pretty please leave a comment, because I would love to read it. Anyway, suffice to say, I absolutely had to pick it up.
Sadly, Scandalous did not quite live up to the expectations set forth by the awesome premise. I felt like there were way too many details, especially toward the beginning; they really bogged down the writing, not allowing the pace of the story to flow. It took a while for anything to actually happen to grab my interest, besides the little snippet at the very beginning. Once they actually met, though, I enjoyed the story more. The way the "posing as siblings" aspect came about was interesting, although it was not nearly as prominent as it was supposed to be. The vast majority of the book takes place inside the house due to medical circumstances.
There was an interesting sidestory that added a bit of mystery and suspense to the book, but it was kept down to a good size. It was enough to stay intriguing, but not enough that it felt unnecessary or started to overtake the main plot. It also added some good drama when things came to a head.
I did like Gabby a lot! She was totally willing to take Marcus down a peg or two when needed. Which he definitely did sometimes. They had good chemistry, and I loved reading about them! They had a super cute story, and the end left me smiling.
Overall, I did like this book, although I wanted to like it a lot more than I actually did.
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