*I received a free copy of this ebook through netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Romance novels are my guilty pleasure. I started sneaking them from my mother at 16 and have been obsessed ever since. As an English major, I love reading anything. But when I am stressed out or tired with what I’m reading, I have to get my romance novel “fix”. I think of it this way: A romance novel is a playing field and I am rooting for courtship. Courtship wins every single time.
I had the opportunity to review this ARC which is released on December 1st (today!). In Search of Scandal is about Will Repton, travel botanist, recently returned from India running into the beautiful, dazzling Charlotte Baker. She loves him from the start but can Will overcome his dark memories from Tibet to love her back?
Likable main characters can make or break a romance novel. I liked the characters of Will and Charlotte. They each had their own unique voice, which can be difficult to do when switching point of views. They both also had chemistry and I liked them together.
One of the things I couldn’t quite figure out was everyone’s social position. Charlotte’s older sister married an Earl, but the sister was a beard since the love affair was really between the Earl and Charlotte’s brother Wally.* The Earl died and the sister married a Mr. Ben Paxton (and Wally is in disgrace for obvious reasons), so they are not part of the Ton. Charlotte was raised as a lady (since her sister was married to the Earl and had a proper education) and is a hot commodity in society. The complicated family connections was much more complex and convoluted than it needed to be. I have read a lot of historical romance and my understanding is that if one person in the family is in disgrace, they ALL are. It seemed odd to me that Charlotte was accepted into society but no one else was.
Despite that, the beginning of the novel was promising and fun. Charlotte is besotted with Will before even meeting him, and falls even more in love with him on meeting. Will just can’t even believe this gorgeous girl likes him, and tries his best to avoid her.
The key moment for me is the ‘ah-ha!’ moment when they realize they both love each other. It is a difficult and delicate moment to coordinate. Many authors bumble or outright fail at it. This one was not the best. The moment hinges on them both saying it to each other, even though both of their actions already demonstrated their feelings. One can argue that Will’s character is a little oblivious and Charlotte’s character is naive. But it left me as a reader just frustrated with the two of them. It wasn’t the worst ‘ah-ha!’ moment, but I have read better.
The ending was a little messy. A couple sub-plots became main plots and complicated things to an unnecessary degree.
Overall, it was still a delightful read with solid characters and some sizzling chemistry. I would rate it 3 out of 5.
Another win for courtship!
*I liked Wally’s character, but his sexuality had no bearing on the plot. It seemed as if the writer was trying too hard to be modern and edgy.