Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Lord of Scoundrels" by Loretta Chase

Summary: In this romance, Lord Dain has always been scornful of women, and though he'll happily pay for a prostitute, he's never concerned himself with "ladies."  That is, until Jessica Trent, the bright and witty sister of one of Dain's annoying friends, comes along.  Jessica's determined to get Dain's bad influence away from her brother.  Although Dain and Jessica disagree and argue over everything, they're also drawn together, and when Jessica's virtue comes into question, they must work to settle out their feelings for one another.

Musings: I was inspired to read Lord of Scoundrels by Presenting Lenore's post, "Make me read a romance novel!"  I've never read a romance, and I hadn't had much desire to.  Like Lenore, I tend to stay away from any book--genre romance or not--in which romance is the main focus.  But I read enough that I want to try other genres at least once.  I chose Lord of Scoundrels because I often saw it highly recommended among fans (and it was available from my library).  And besides, it would keep me from taking my reading habit all too seriously.

I picked up the book from the library and couldn't help but laugh at the "discreet" all-pink flower cover (the cover pictured at right).  I suppose the real cover (above left, which to me has nothing to do with the story) is just too scandalous!  I certainly did feel a bit silly settling down in my reading couch with the book.

But, all in all, it really wasn't too bad.  Dain and Jessica drive each other mutually crazy, and neither one has the upper hand for long.  The misunderstandings and frustration reminded me a lot of Austen (it's true!), and their aggravation with each other is probably the best part of the book.  I don't know if I buy the "he's so mean and stubborn and rude he's just dreamy" vibe, but it wasn't really distracting.  Dain and Jessica are round characters, and I could even sympathize with Dain some when he came to care for Jessica but worried about hurting her.  The book's appropriately steamy without getting icky, and it was nice to read a book where I knew everything would turn out happy and perfect in the end.  I tried to keep my "feminist watch" on a reduced buzz while I read, and fortunately the book is not too cringe-worthy in that regard, although I do find the violence/anger turning to sexual energy/lust motif sometimes problematic.

I guess the most I can say about the book is that I don't have much to say, which I don't intend necessarily as criticism.  It was a fun and light story of flirting and romping.  I don't think I'll be racing to try any other romances soon, but Lord of Scoundrels was an innocuous enough read, and it was certainly more diverting than a number of modern critically-received novels.

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