The conclusion to the romantic trilogy "With this Ring", that leads dashing lords and lovely ladies unexpectedly to the altar.
A Matter of Scandal is a delightful Regency romp, sprinkled with charming secondary characters both hilarious and endearing, and with a hero and heroine whose romantic escapades and witty dialogue add up to an excellent tale that will please readers everywhere. --Lois Faye Dyer
Firstly, the period detail is almost non-existent. Yes, Ms. Enoch mentions breeches and barouches and all the other things she should, but there's no sense that the story could only happen in another time. Greydon Brakenridge might as well be visiting a finishing school in Switzerland, climbing out of a sports car, as dismounting from his horse in Hampshire. And is it me, or does his name seem somewhat American - it certainly looks peculiar to my English eyes. Names are so important, and his was so out of keeping with the period that it jarred horribly, that I just didn't fancy 'Grey' at all.
As well, how much does Ms. Enoch know about Regency manners - or is she choosing to ignore what she knows to make the plot work? Grey might well be in a position to ignore etiquette if he likes, but surely the headmistress of a finishing school would be more reluctant to abandon propriety.
This brings me to the second, most important fact: the romance wasn't convincing. All the ingredients are there - he's tall, handsome and well-built, she's slim and equally well-built, in a female way - and you read over and over again how they can't stop thinking about each other, how much they desire each other, but there's just no spark. These characters are attracted because the author makes them attracted to each other, and in the blandest, most conventional way possible. It's no surprise, then, that when Miss Emma does give in to Grey's advances, the sex is treated briefly and unerotically - if you've read a few romance novels, you'll know that these are stock scenes with stock descriptions.
'A Matter of Scandal' is not a bad book, but it is average, which is possibly worse. I would only recommend it to Suzanne Enoch completists, or somebody desperately in need of a romance fix. For everybody else, there are better reads out there.
Instead of the anticipated easy victory, Grey finds himself being educated into the ins and outs of the female mind, not only by Emma herself, but also by the 5 pupils in his new class.
Suzanne Enoch has written a delightful romance, but even more than that, has introduced strong secondary characters and the education of the Duke is not only amusing, but endearing. The story switches viewpoints between Emma and Grey, so the reader gets to delve into their thoughts and passions.
The two strongest elements of the storytelling in my view are the humor and very quick wits of all the characters, from the youngest student Lizzy on up. Emma in particular is very clever, thoughtful and well read, with a quick wit and smart mouth. Some of the best moments are their earlier discussions, as Emma and Grey's opposite views clash against the other's considerable verbal abilities. The sparks that fly, and so quickly and brightly!
And on the romance side of the story, I enjoyed that Emma is just as physically passionate about Grey as he is about her. Often stories set in this period have women being emotionally attached, and physically responsive to the central male, but very much lead by them in that arena. Here Emma is a fully participating partner in the physical part of their relationship. She wants Grey and is not afraid to go against the rules of Society to enjoy their relationship. They are often nearly caught out, and for example make love in a chair in a solicitors office (!) each time with not only Emma's full consent, but her active participation. She does not consider giving their relationship up even when it appears that everything else is falling apart, once the parents of her pupils are told of her 'scandalous' behaviour and they descend on the school to expose and ruin her.
I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys romance, and the thrust and parry of wit and intelligence. Enoch's tale will not disappoint.
Miss Emma Grenville is a lively, spirited and spunky heroine who knows her own mind and is not afraid to stand up for her beliefs. In fact, in a an era ruled solely by men, she has managed to uphold herself with carving out a career as a headmistress of a girls' Academy. However, her whole world turns upside down when an arrogant and dashing rake known as Greydon, the Duke of Wycliffe storms in and threatens her position as a headmistress and dismisses all her teachings as nothing but calculating husband trapping tricks.
Greydon is at his wits end, trying to dodge from attentions of countless simpering debutantes and their matchmaking mamas. So, when he receives urgent summons from his uncle in the country, it is none too soon for he is desperate to get away from London and its exasperating ton. Upon his arrival, he learns that his uncle's estate is in dire condition and desperately needs his intervention...However, in order to accomplish this feat, he finds himself dealing with one of the most stubborn, impossible creatures; otherwise known as Miss Emma, the headmistress of the blasted, dreaded girls' Academy. And the worst thing of all is that she's totally immune to his charms! He is the bloody Duke of Wycliffe, after all!...Women pursue him endlessly...so, what's amiss here?
What follows is an absolutely hilarious and engrossing regency romp, in which the utterly arrogant and rakish duke is thoroughly reeducated in female vurtues...and learns the folly of falling hopelessly, head-over heels in love with the only female who dared to defy him...
Although the central focus of the novel is the romance between the h/h, there are also wonderful portraits of friendship, devotion and the importance of loyalty.
For those readers that are already acquainted with Miss Enoch creative work, you'll be delighted to revisit with Alexandra and Vixen, the heroines of the previous installments of this trilogy - "Reforming a Rake" and "Meet Me at Midnight" - and their illustrious spouses - Lucien and Sinclair.
However, if you have not read these previous novels, it is not necessary to do so. "A Matter of Scandal" perfectly stands on its own and the characters are well thought out and fully developed. Although the previous two were also enjoyable, this one outshines them both!
Even though this particular plot line has been done numerous times before, in the clever and talented hands of this author, it exudes wit and originality. The story evolves very naturally and the reader is deeply drawn into it and effortlessly falls in love with both the hero and heroine. The passion and sensuality aspects of the novel are done with supreme taste and delightfully evoke all the senses.
Meet a score of delightful and unforgettable characters such as Jane, Lizzy, Tristan, Viscount Dare (whose story I truly hope is next!) and Georgina along with other significant friends, well-wishers and villains...
One point of warning, though: the constant antics and witty, humorous dialogue in this book will bring forth a bout of giggles, snickers and silly grins...So, if you read it in public, you might draw some attention to yourself :-)
I truly enjoyed this book, and I hope you do too. This one definitely goes on the keeper shelf!
Emma runs a girls school on an aristocrat's land. The aristocrat is not doing very well financiall because his previous estate manager robbed him. The aristocrat calls his nephew in, Wycliffe, to offer suggestions on how to recoup his losses. Wycliffe suggests to triple the rents on all the tenants.
This doesn't bode well for Emma, who can ill afford such a rent increase.
As sparks fly between Emma and Wycliffe, a wager is made, which will decide whether the Academy stays or goes.
There is a wonderful host of secondary characters here to love.
I hope Enoch's next story is about Tristan Dare. He deserves his own!
If you love good romance, in the style of Judith McNaught, then you will LOVE this book.
While helping his uncle, Lord Haverly, try to work his estate out of near bankruptcy, he advised his uncle to triple the rents on his properties, which includes the Academy. Grey is intelligent, handsome (of course), tired of women chasing him and believes the Academy is nothing more than a school to teach the young ladies to snare husbands.
The two, Emma and Grey, make a wager. She is to find a way besides raising rents to make Lord Haverly's estate profitable, and he is to teach 5 of the young ladies, how to behave at social functions in Society. Emma is determined to teach Grey a lesson about women. While the wagering is going on, many witty situations occur and I laughed out loud in several instances.
Among Grey's entourage at his uncle's home is his mistress (now former mistress), Lady Sylvia (a duchess wannabe), Trev, his cousin and Blumton (another young relation). Lady Sylvia does her best to cause problems for Emma and a scandal develops, which requires the use of his position to resolve. Other characters include his mother, The Duchess, and counsin and a would be rake, Freddie.
This is a delightful story with wonderful characters and secondary characters. You won't be disappointed.
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