Regency Romance Done Right

5 stars for Scandal by Carolyn Jewel

This book immersed me in the time period from the first paragraphs. The writing was moving and evocative of the world of lords and ladies of the regency period. It was not done with the use of archaic words but with deft word choices and sentence structures.

As an example, here are the first 2 paragraphs:
“The first thing Gwilym, Earl of Banallt, noticed when he rounded the drive was Sophie perched on the ledge of a low fountain. Surely, he thought, some other explanation existed for the hard slow thud of his heart against his ribs. After all, he hadn’t seen her in well over a year, and they had not parted on the best of terms. He ought to be over her by now. And yet the jolt of seeing her again shot straight through to his soul.
He was dismayed beyond words.”

The story was lovely. The journey of an unrepentant rake to a man whose only thought is to be true to one woman is told through judicious use of flash backs as well as scenes in the present. The plot absolutely made sense and did not rely on silly misunderstandings. It was very emotional all around as you felt for Banallt as he tried to convince Sophie that he was a changed man. When he assumes that he cannot have her and contemplates which other man might best make her happy, my heart was in my throat.

These characters acted as if they really lived in that time period. They did not run around with modern ideas and attitudes. There were some love scenes. They were integral to the story and were explicit without being in any way raunchy and they came over as full of love and you could feel the emotions of the characters.

This book was a wonderful example of showing not telling. Almost everything you learned about the hero and heroine was illustrated through their interaction and dialog. For example during their first love scene his hands are trembling so much that he almost couldn’t get her dress off. The author could have just stated that he’d wanted her for years and was excited to finally be touching her. Trembling hands were much more effective.

Usually I don’t mind one way or another if there is an epilogue but I did wish there had been one here. The book took place over about 4 years and the characters suffered so much angst that I would have liked to see them a couple of years down the road happy and content.

I could rave on and on but really, if you love well done historical romances with a nice helping of true love and angst, do yourself a favor and read this book.

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