Dueling Review, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase (1995)

This month, as part of talking about morality chain romances, we all read Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. It comes up frequently as a “canon” romance, but none of us had read it before. Spoiler alert: we all really liked it.

Scoundrels, Book #3

Let’s start by each giving our metrics for the book:

Holly

Heat Factor: Purple prose alert!

Character Chemistry: Sarcasm abounds. Also, she tells him that he’s sensitive and he’s baffled but she’s not wrong. 

Plot: Jessica must rescue her brother from the clutches of the Marquess of Dain. He compromises her. She shoots him. They get married. 

Overall: ZOMG. The plot gets a little saggy towards the end, but I still had a blast.

Erin

Heat Factor: Kissing in the RAIN! 💕 But yeah, standard histrom fare albeit on the steamy side

Character Chemistry: She’s competent AF and he’s a man baby, and they’re both super besotted, so it’s pretty excellent, in fact

Plot: antagonists → spouses → exasperated (Jessica)/emotionally constipated (Dain) → lovers

Overall: Bottom line, this is simply a very fun read

Ingrid

Heat Factor: Oh, my.

Character Chemistry: Had Dain been with any other woman, I would have hated it…but since he was with Jess…swoon.

Plot: Dain is fully committed to a life of debauchery when he meets Jessica, who is a spinster and really doesn’t have any time for his nonsense unless he’s got her pressed up against a wall. Once he ruins her and refuses to do the right thing, she shoots him, they negotiate, and they’re pretty much in a bout of emotional fencing until the book ends.

Overall: Obsessed.

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Review

Review: Winter’s Heat by Denise Domning (1994)

The Graistan Chronicles, Book #1

Heat Factor: Sex happens early, but not often.

Character Chemistry: They are the worst communicators. Also he doesn’t respect her. 

Plot: Rowena is married off to Rannulf, and decides to make the best of it. Plus there’s a lot of drama with her inheritance and the Evil Other Woman. 

Overall: This was an interesting read when approached as an artifact of romance written in the 1990s, but it didn’t make my heart go pitter-pat.

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal (2019)

Heat Factor: The heat comes from the witty dialogue, not hanky panky

Character Chemistry: I mean, it’s Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth—only in Pakistan, and just as satisfying.

Plot: It’s a classic P&P, folks—only the new setting and fresh take by the author make it an absolutely riveting read.

Overall: I feel that if I were Jane Austen and read this retelling, I would feel very seen. It simply rocks.

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin (2013)

The Lotus Palace Mysteries, Book 1

Heat Factor: It takes Lord Bai a couple of encounters before he masters Advanced Consent

Character Chemistry: Yue-ying sees right through Bai Huang, and it’s good for him

Plot: A courtesan is found murdered, so a minor lord and a servant from the pleasure quarter team up to crack the case

Overall: This was a fabulous read—gripping mystery, interesting setting, lush writing, great characters—but I am conflicted about the relationship.

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: Pursued by the Rake by Mary Lancaster (2020)

Season of Scandal Book #1

Heat Factor: It’s not throbby and there’s no slick flesh but by golly it was satisfying

Character Chemistry: It was seriously the sweetest, most adorable romance and I MELTED

Plot: Lady-in-Waiting is tricked and compromised, and then rescued by hands-down my current favorite hero (this man is like, 50% chill and 50% capable and my heart swelled so much I was concerned for my health)

Overall: After what has felt like a tiny smut slump, this absolutely adorable and totally sexy regency reminded me why I love this stuff in the first place.

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