Amanda Quick is the pen name of Jayne Ann Krentz when she’s writing historical romances. Her books often contain mystery elements as well as romance, but not so much in this one.
I love Amanda Quick books. They’re usually very well done romances. They’re fast reads but you don’t feel cheated at the end. This one, Scandal, is one of my perennial favorites, and one that I come back to read often when I’m feeling stressed or just burned out on more serious reading material.
In this book, the romance is between Emily Faringdon and Simon Traherne, the Earl of Blade. It is not an auspicious pairing. He seeks her out and seduces her gradually over a series of high-minded letters discussing their (not actually) mutual interest in romantic poetry. She’s innocent, despite an unfortunate scandal in her past where she ran away to marry the local lord, and was not retrieved until they had spent a night unchaperoned at an inn. Nothing happened, of course, these books do hold quite firm to their era’s feelings about the chastity of the heroines, but she’s ruined for society all the same. Regardless, in her innocence she falls in love with the dashing Simon via letters.
She is, of course, disappointed when he arrives on her doorstep as an earl, which puts him quite out of the matrimonial reach of someone with a past. Of course, he doesn’t care and is perfectly willing to take her as she is and turn her into a proper countess. Not out of love for her, but as part of an elaborate revenge scheme he’s running.
As a child, his father lost everything to her father. His father handled it by killing himself in the study. By marrying her, he gets the house and lands back, but also gets to remove all the financial stability from her father and brothers, because as an inveterate gambler, her father ran through the money many years ago and only Emily’s careful and prudent investments are keeping them afloat. Hence, the plan is: marry Emily and regain the house and lands as a dowry, and then keep her from replenishing the funds and watch her father and brother slide into financial and social ruin.
After the wedding, they move to London where Emily becomes popular and fashionable, until tragedy strikes in the guise of the threat of her scandal coming back to haunt her.
Obviously, it’s a romance and everything works out in the end. It’s a fun, entertaining read. The sex scenes are fairly explicit, so if that is not your taste, perhaps steer clear.