How I felt about Scandal by Carolyn Jewel in 140 characters:
@cjewel I just finished Scandal & it was completely wonderful. Thx for the past hours spent happily reading. Luv the "I hate you" love scene
I finished the book just before midnight with a happy glow. My favorite scene was in fact the scene after they got married. She was telling him how much she hated him, despised him, and deplored him with every breath as he brought her to orgasm. What makes it so hot is that we know as the reader the heroine really does love the hero, even if she’s unwilling to face it just yet. It’s toe-curling yumminess.
When it came to Scandal, I savored it. At first because it took me a bit to get into the story, which is entirely my fault and not the fault of Jewel’s writing. I’ve been a bit scatterbrained and have read several books all in a short period of time. It was good to slow down, read slower, linger longer on passages.
The way Jewel weaves the story is different than most historicals in that fact that it feels truer to life in several aspects with its depictions of personal tragedies and interwoven story of two people engaged elsewhere slowly coming together. The story takes place in the present and in the past, where the characters are now and where they were. I was expecting this divergence in the timeline and still it tripped me up once or twice. If I’m correct in my calculations Sophie is about twenty-five and Banallt is thirty-four or thirty-five in the present timeline. Or perhaps that was in the past timeline? In any case they're a bit older than the usual romance couple.
Sophie Evans is a tragic character. She made the worst choice possible in her youth and eloped with a scoundrel. Tommy had her convinced he loved her for herself when in truth Tommy loved only himself and the money his new wife brought to his pockets. Her marriage caused a rift between her family and herself that wasn’t mended until after her husband’s and her parent’s deaths.
The Earl of Banallt, whose first name I am currently unable to locate in the book, was exactly like Tommy if not worse when he first encountered Mrs. Evans. Her plain features and intelligent blue-green eyes arrested him and featured in his dreams. He too was married and unfaithful to his wife. With the deaths of loved ones Banallt grew up, but not before making an utter mess of things with Sophie.
They meet again, a few years after Tommy’s death and Banallt is quite determined to prove himself to Sophie. He wants her, desires her, loves her but Sophie is equally determined not to let another man hold power over her heart. She is good at denial and self-denial. The book nearly ends with Sophie refusing to give ground and admit her feelings, but happily she does and the result is spectacular if a bit hushed.