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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Review: The Scoundrel Takes a Bride by Stefanie Sloane

Sheesh, this review was years in the making.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: January 1, 2013

A notorious scoundrel, the right Honorable Nicholas Bourne has spent years in the East Indies amassing a fortune through questionable means. Still, his loyalty to his older brother, Langdon, and his childhood friends remains true and trusted. But when Lady Sophia Southwell, the woman promised to Nicholas’s brother, seeks his help on a dangerous mission, he is troubled—and torn. Unable to dissuade her from her quest to find a killer, he vows to keep her safe. This makes his mission the hardest test of his wits, honor, and skill. For Sophia is the secret love of his life.

For years, Sophia has planned her daring act of revenge against her mother’s killer. She has painstakingly prepared herself by studying the criminal mind. Now she knows that the moment is right and that Nicholas is the man to help her. But she doesn’t count on the reckless temptation of his rugged sensuality or the captivating intensity in his deep eyes. When desire and emotion intoxicate her as they venture together into the darkest corners of London’s underbelly, Sophia must contend with a yearning even more powerful than the quest for vengeance: the call of love.

What’s it About? The setup is that years ago Sophia’s mother was murdered and Sophia is determined to find out who killed her mother and why. So she enlists the help of a childhood friend, Nicholas who just so happens to be the brother of the man Sophia has been engaged to all her life. It just so happens that Sophia isn’t in love with her fiancĂ©, she’s in love with Nicholas and he’s in love with her but neither one knows it. So off they go to try and solve the mystery of the murder and along the way those pesky feelings decide they won’t be ignored anymore.

Overall reaction to the story? I expected way more than what I got with this story. The plot sounded awesome but the execution of it was pretty much a letdown. The characters are dull, their dialogue unimaginative, and the mystery aspect of the plot didn’t exactly have me excited either. All in all I probably should have DNF’d this one at the halfway point when I still wasn’t getting into it and I had been reading it off and on for three months.

Describe the hero in five words: Dull. Tortured… That’s all I’ve got. See my explanation below.
Did you like him? There wasn’t enough about him to tell!!!
Why? There is a decided lack of character anything so I really didn’t get to know Nicholas as a character. He seemed like a halfway decent fellow but the author didn’t give any insight to who he was as a character. I didn’t know who he was as a second son, as a friend, or as a lover to Sophia. Nada. Just that he was in love with her since forever and was willing to help her find out who killed her mother. There’s also something about him being a heavy drinker yet he doesn’t suffer withdrawals when Sophia asks him to stop. Oookay.

Describe the heroine in five words: Also dull. Tortured. Determined… There, I got three this time.
Did you like her? Again, not enough information to tell.
Why? Seriously, Sophia could have been an amazing character. She lived in a time where women were seen and NOT heard yet she was hell bent on finding out who killed her mother. Yet, that wasn’t conveyed in the book. At all. I knew she wanted answers but I didn’t feel her desperation or her sadness at having lost her mother in a violent way. This should have made her stand out but it didn’t. To me she could have blended into the wallpaper and no one would notice.

Let’s talk about the romance: Oy I think this was the most disappointing part of the story for me. There was zero tangible emotions between these two characters who had supposedly loved each other for a long time. You would think there would be a wealth of pent up passion, tension, and longing to convey to the reader right? Well not really. The interactions between Nicholas and Sophia were wooden and hardly inspiring. The sex scenes read more like fact sheets with very little communication between them. No dirty talk, no talk of romance, nothing. Just… A lot of description which isn’t always a bad thing but in this case there was no balance between the technical side and the romantic side.

How about that supporting cast? So what about that fiancĂ© Sophia has? You know, Nicholas’ brother? Well he was a disappointment too. When the couple comes clean about their romance to him, Langdon (That’s the brother) takes it a little too well. I can understand if he’s feeling relived at not having to marry a woman who doesn’t love him but what about that male pride these types of guys are always going on about????

Click It or Skip It? Skip It. The Scoundrel Takes a Bride sounds like a good read on the surface but it doesn’t take long before it falls flat and stays that way until the end. However, since the author does have some solid ideas I would be willing to try a more current book of hers to see if things have changed.

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