Title: Prelude to a Scandal
Author: Delilah Marvelle
Series: Book #1 in the Scandal series
Number of Pages: 384 pages
Release Date: 1 January 2011
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Source: review copy provided by publisher through Netgalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Kindle Store, Book Depository
Grade: 4 stars
Lady Justine is willing to trade her good name, her reputation and her place in London's gossip-hungry ton to secure her father's release from prison. But when the notorious Duke of Bradford counters her offer with a proposal of marriage, the stakes grow higher still. For while the smoldering lord is famous for his conquests, the man is oblivious to both her devotion and her charms. And Justine is soon afraid she has wagered all for naught...
My Thoughts: Prelude to a Scandal is not your usual historical romance. It tackles heavier and more controversail topics than it is custom: homosexuality, treatment of homosexuals, sex addiction just to name the main ones.
My interest was instantly piqued with Delilah Marvelle’s author's note at the beginning of the novel. I found it intriguing to see that instead of giving us a usual, already used plot she was brave enough to go and explore a bit controversial and completely unheard idea. I mean a sex addict hero! And what really sold me the book and maintained my interest was how she portrayed the hero’s suffering. Through her realistic and not sugarcoated presentation I actually understood that sex addiction could really be a sickness (until now I thought that it was only an excuse used by those who couldn't remain faithful and stay monogamous), but Delilah Marvelle has conveyed Bradford's battle against his urges so perfectly it truly shook me.
Justine was a likable and interesting heroine: I loved how modern and independent (and fierce) she was, I also loved how she took matters into her own hand.
The other little detail which I found utterly charming and at time really funny were the chapter introducing quotes from the etiquette book. What a delightful idea! And I loved how they summarized the basic rule of society in connection with the actual chapter and how the story transformed, rebelled against the society norm of the period.
I have to say I found the Miranda storyline quite tiresome and unnecessary (especially her attempted seduction). I understand she had to play a crucial role in Bradford realizing he had a serious problem and he wanted to change his ways, but it irritated me how Miranda was unable to stay away from an abusive relationship and stand on her own feet (even with outside help). I found her too whiny and yet not genuine.
I agree with Delilah’s own thoughts she expressed in her own review of Prelude to a Scandal, I would have preferred if she did not have to tone down the story because of the contraints of the romance genre.
Verdict: Prelude to a Scandal is not your average historical romance novel. It explores novel and darker ideas previously unheard in romance books, but Delilah Marvelle spices up this darker side with humour, flowing narration and steamy and sensual love scenes. An interesting and entertaining historical romance you should give a try. I can’t wait to read book #2 and #3 and explore more of the unique historic London perceived by Delilah.
Cover: 10/10 this cover is so beautiful I could spend minutes staring at it (well I actually did! :-p)
The Scandal series:
Book #1 Prelude to a Scandal
Book #2 Once Upon a Scandal
Book #3 The Perfect Scandal