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Your Scandalous Ways (Fallen Women) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jun 2008
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About the Author
Loretta Chase has worked in academe, retail, and the visual arts, as well as on the streets--as a meter maid--and in video, as a scriptwriter. She might have developed an excitingly checkered career had her spouse not nagged her into writing fiction. Her bestselling historical romances, set in the Regency and Romantic eras of the early nineteenth century, have won a number of awards, including the Romance Writers of America's RITA(R). For more about her past, her books, and what she does and doesn't do on social media, please visit her at LorettaChase.com.
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In England, Francesca Bonnard is a notorious, shunned divorcee; someone to be ignored and distanced by polite society and people who had been her friends. However in the more relaxed, less hypocritical atmosphere of Italy, Francesca is a feted top courtesan, able to command a high price for her favours. For the first time in her life she is an independant woman, able to do as she pleases and pick and choose her lovers.
However, Francesca has something both her ex-husband and the British government wants. The government sends the blue-bloodied, master of disguise James Cordier, who is half Italian, to seduce Francesca and find what they want. Her husband sends the somewhat unhinged, knife-wielding Marta Fazi.
James decides that playing hard to get is the best way of attracting and intriging Francesca. Unfortunately he is madly attracted to her and so keeping cool and distanced is difficult, especially when Francesca has a young prince dangling after her and is then attacked several times and her house searched.
A very enjoyable romp.
But as bad as James is, there are others far worse also searching for Francesca's letters. And suddenly nothing is simple--especially the nearly incendiary chemistry between the two most jaded, sinful souls in Europe. And just as suddenly, risking everything may be worth the prize.
I love Loretta Chase's novels and waited eagerly for this one to be published, BUT it doesn't have the humour of the her later novels, the plot is great the heroine feisty as expected the hero strong but it just didn't hold my attention like her previous novels.
It was a good book but, unfortunately, not as good as 'Lord of Scoundrels'. My main problem with the book was a complete inability to like the heroine, Francesca Bonnard, a high-class courtesan and divorcee. We learn of Francesca's history, that she was in love with her husband but had her heart broken by him, but throughout the novel she appears heartless and manipulative. I was never very sure why so many men liked her - she's clearly attractive but she seemed to have an almost super-human ability to make men act like idiots around her. This was not convincing to this reader and meant that I was never entirely carried away by the book.
The hero, James Cordier, is an English spy who is trying to find some treasonous letters that Francesca apparently stole from her husband. Cordier's attention from his task tends to waver in her presence and he decides that the best way to get the letters is to seduce Francesca. It appears, however, that someone else may be after the letters - or perhaps may just be trying to kill Francesca. Can Cordier find the letters and keep Francesca safe?
The Venetian setting of this book was excellent with descriptive passages where we follow high-society people as they travel around on gondolas, attend balls and other events and hobnob with princes and diplomats. However the underlying story was perhaps a little thin and the difficulty I had with Francesca's character, and partly also with Cordier's, meant it wasn't an entirely satisfactory read.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2008
It was a huge dissapointment.
The two main protagonists were not upto her usual high standard of characterisation. Neither engaged my sympathies unlike all her other Alpha Males and their love interests.
The setting, Venice, a gorgeous city and such a joy to live in (which I have) however one thing a Venetian and a visitor knows not to do is jump into the canals especially the side ones, they are filthy, full of sewage(especially in this time), rife with disease and all sorts of nasties, so to have the two main characters leaping in and out with abandon was a wee bit revolting.
The reveal of the Comte's identity was no big surprise and the antagonists were cartoonish in their evilness.
I really do love all her other books and will wait in anticipation for her next but sadly 'Scandalous Ways' is not one I would rate as highly as 'Last Hellion' or 'Captives of the Night'.
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