Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden

Love and Other Scandals by Caroline LindenAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Historical Romance

Publisher: Avon

My Copy: Edelweiss

Reviewer: Pam

Joan Bennet is tired of being a wallflower. Thanks to some deliciously scandalous—and infamous—stories, she has a pretty good idea of what she’s missing as a spinster. Is even a short flirtation too much to ask for?

Tristan, Lord Burke, recognizes Joan at once for what she is: trouble. Not only is she his best friend’s sister, she always seems to catch him at a disadvantage. The only way he can win an argument is by kissing her senseless. He’d give anything to get her out of her unflattering gowns. But either one of those could cost him his bachelor status, which would be dreadful—wouldn’t it?

Such a great start to a new series, Ms. Linden writes fun characters that are witty and intelligent as they dance around their attraction before the inevitable fall.

Joan Bennett and Tristan Burke have known each other since they were young; he is the childhood friend of her brother Douglas. They have seen each other infrequently over the years and it is not until recently that they really are in a position to actually have a conversation, she is 24, close to being a spinster and he is 27, a famous rogue about town.

He calls her the Fury, I love that, he thinks she is this whirlwind who can’t stand still. And he gets the full force of her when she visits her brother one morning to get him to promise a dance with a certain young woman their mother insists on. To Tristan’s surprise, Douglas has no backbone when it comes to the women in his family so he is amazed as he watches this woman get the promise.

Later Joan and Tristan see each other at a ball and he bluntly asks her if she has something against flattering fashion – so she hits him, I laughed out loud. He just says what is on his mind, really has no filter with her, but he truly believes she should think more highly of herself. Then to top off their evening, after dancing, he kisses her so he can hear himself think. When her family must leave town because of her mother’s health, her brother asks Tristan to watch over Joan and he is baffled as he is not sure what to make of her.

Joan’s aunt Evangeline stays with her, she is a twice widowed woman who is a bit unconventional yet is taking the chaperoning very seriously, it hard to know how Evangeline will react with some of Joan’s choices, so she confuses me at times. With a new dressmaker and Tristan taking her on outings, Joan seems to blossom, but then Tristan gets scared so when he tries to go back to his old life of gambling, boxing and drinking he realizes that he misses her.

What a fun story, Joan is a kick, I really love her character, she is strong, witty, and clever and because she feels she is almost a spinster she takes more liberties. It is only when Joan’s mother is around that she loses herself yet we see her change with both Evangeline’s and Tristan’s attentions, I enjoy watching her grow. And Tristan is so engaging, a tortured hero who had a terrible upbringing after his parents died at a young age, he was taken in reluctantly by his aunt and uncle who basically ignored him until he inherited the title, now they barely tolerate him, and the feeling is mutual.

I like the secondary characters, Evangeline is eccentric and unconventional, fun to be around, I like Joan’s best friends, the two she stood in the corner with at balls and whispered with about the scandalous stories they read. I am unsure of her brother as he seems a bit overrun by his mother, yet they kept implying that he caused as much trouble in his youth as Tristan, it will be interesting to see if there is a story about him. One of the things I thought was different than many romance endings is when and how they said I Love You, it took me by surprise, but it was done well. The story grabbed me from the beginning as I wanted to see Joan and Tristan together; they are perfect as they feel the attraction and yet are not sure. This is a wonderful historical romance that starts out a new series, and I look forward to more.

I give Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden 4.0 stars!

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