Unwilling as I am to be the sole dissenting voice here, I have to own that I found Jenna Petersen's "Scandalous" to be a disappointing read. The storyline was a very basic one, with very few frills -- obviously the book was meant to be a character driven one, that focused on the unexpected relationship that developed between Dominic Mallory, and unlooked for bride, Katherine Flemming. Unfortunately, while the hero and heroine were likable, and Dominic had enough angst and inner demons to make this book interesting, the author seems to have used all her energy and talents to showcase the sizzling and sensual energy that Dominic and Katherine generated between them, and not enough effort, I thought, was spent on the story at hand.
The black sheep of the Mallory family, Dominic Mallory has spent a great many years avoiding his family and trying to discover the identity of his biological father. Now however, he finds himself at home again in order to celebrate his older brother's, Cole, upcoming marriage to the beautiful heiress, Katherine Flemming, and unexpectedly in the middle of another scandal when Cole's thought-to-be-dead first wife turns up, very much alive, three days before the wedding.
Because he needs Katherine's money, Cole makes Dominic a dirty proposition: if Dominic agrees to marry Katherine, Cole would deed over Lansing Square to Dominic (Lansing Square is the house where their mother had had her affair, and where Dominic is sure that the clues to his father's identity would be found.) And loath though he is to do his brother's bidding, Dominic needs to know who his father is; and so he agrees to Cole's proposal. Of course the fact that he would be marrying a woman that he also desires helps make this agreement a great deal more palatable. However, while getting Katherine to agree to marry him proved easier than he had anticipated, what Dominic hadn't counted on was how quickly Katherine would become a vital part of his life, or how much claim she would have on his heart. And how difficult it would be for him to acknowledge that's he in love with his wife and that he desires her love in return...
That Dominic was so obsessed with discovering the identity of his father that it blinded him to everything else, I understood. I even thought that the author did a rather good job of making me see why even though he hated being a pawn in Cole's master plan, he would agree to Cole's terms. And if I didn't like that Katherine would keep forgiving Dominic for his idiotic and secretive behaviour over and over again instead of braining him every now and then, that was my outlook. No, for me the problem with "Scandalous" was how the back story was never really developed enough -- like why Larissa, Cole and Dominic's mother, seemed to favour Cole over Dominic, and why, even after her brutal husband had died, she refused to reveal anything to Dominic. Because I do think that Larissa would have added a nice texture of complexity to the book if she had been more than a mere whisper in the book. The other thing that bothered me was that there was nothing to give me a clue as to which period this book was set in. Was it a Regency-era novel or a Victorian or even an Edwardian? I don't require that the historical romance novels I read hit me on the head with minute period details, but some basic information would have been nice -- like which county Lansing Square was in for example. If it wasn't for the mention of a few titles here and there and London, this novel could even have taken place in a galaxy far, far away.
Ultimately, "Scandalous" didn't hold my attention or interest because the story was very spare and was really nothing that hadn't been offered before. And while the hero and heroine were nice enough, theirs wasn't (I felt) a poignant enough story to pull at the heart strings and to make one become involved enough with their fates. In all, a bland 2 star read.