Sunday, January 31, 2010

DIK Reading Challenge: Lord of Scoundrels

Title: Lord of Scoundrels
Author: Loretta Chase
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Scoundrels (#3)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary:

Tough minded Jessica Trent's sole intention is to free her nitwit brother from the destructive influence of Sebastian ballister, the notorious Marquess of Diain. She never expects to desire the arrogant, amoral cad. And When Daines reciprical passion places them in a scandously compromising, and public, position, Jessica is left with no choice but to seek satisfaction...

Dawn the minx for tempting him, kissing him...and then for forcing him to salvage reputation! Lord Dain can't wait to put the infuriating bluestocking in her place -- and in some amorous position. And if this means marriage, so be it -- though sebastian is less than certain he can continue to remian aloof...and stell his heart to the sensuous, head strong lady's considerable charms.

Review:

For the past few years I’ve heard a lot of hype about this book. I’ve only read one other work by Loretta Chase (Your Scandalous Ways) and loved it- 5 out of 5 stars. So, when I decided to take on the DIK Reading Challenge, Lord of Scoundrels seemed like a good book to kick off the year with. The book is excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was the kind of book I couldn’t set down, even when there were other things I needed to get done. Lord of Scoundrels has great characterization and depth and I can see why many people put it on their favorite.

I would love to add to Lord of Scoundrel’s praises, but as much as I enjoyed it, I didn’t find it memorable. This can be a major problem when trying to write a review, or even keeping track of the plot. For the life of me I couldn’t remember who was angry with Dain, who wanted revenge, who was manipulating who, and why anyone was doing any of those things to begin with. In the end, I’m writing this more based on impressions than memories.

Dain is the definition of the tortured hero. His mother abandoned him. His father didn’t love him and packed him off to school as soon as he could. The other boys beat him up, called him ugly, and said his mother was a whore. The traumatic childhood resulted in the belief that no one could ever love him, and that the best way of dealing with it was to engage in as much debauchery as is humanly possible. Normally I’m not a big fan of this plot as I don’t believe true rakes can be “reformed”. And Dain was a true rake. If his character had been any less well written I would not have been able to believe the HEA. His childhood explains his determination to revolt against anything “respectable”, but at the same time didn’t excuse his behavior. Even though you know the type of man he will become, it’s impossible not to feel sorry for him as he spends all of his childhood being looked down on and degraded. From his thoughts it’s clear how his lack of self-worth has been ingrained in him. A lot of time is spent in Dain’s head, which is consumed with the “no one could love me/I’m ugly/I’m evil” monologue. It could get repetitive- he’s pretty whiny and insecure. Essentially, Dain is stuck as a child for most of the book. He hasn’t grown emotionally, and whenever he doesn’t get his way he starts stomping around and yelling like a little boy. I think watching the emotional development made his groveling much more satisfying later on. Despite all of his brutishness and stupidities, Dain does some really good groveling in the end.

I know a lot of people had issues with how Dain treated his son. It was heart wrenching to see him do what his father did to him. All in all, the book has a plethora of bad parenting. However, Dain reacting to his son differently wouldn’t have been realistic, especially since he was still so emotionally immature. I did think it was resolved (Dain gained the ability to be a father as he began to sort out his own issues) and I like that once shoved into the situation, he managed to figure a bit of it out without Jessica’s help.

I think I had more problems with Jessica. I liked that she was intelligent and witty. Her ability to hold her ground in any situation was necessary considering how overwhelming Dain could be. But she was often just too perfect. She could walk into an antique store and in minutes find a priceless antique than no other collector had noticed. She was a spinster, but by choice. Despite her age and lack of fortune she still had no shortage of suitors. She was uncommonly beautiful and could reduce the average man to rubber by batting her eyes. She was infinitely patient with Dain. She managed to let not only him into her heart, but his bastard son who even he didn’t want to deal with. Just on principle. I think I would have liked her more if she showed some flaws. However, any less of a character could not have taken on Dain. Since she was neither a wet rag nor TSTL, I can forgive that at moments she felt like a Mary Sue.

I would recommend Lord of Scoundrels to any of my friends. It’s easy to get into, has complicated and realistic characters, and was a satisfying read. Even with the annoying blip in my memory I know it was an excellent book and I’m up for reading any of Loretta Chase’s other novels. 4 out of 5 stars.

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3 comments:

  1. What a classy blog!! It is so nice to visit here and I appreciate your visit to my page. I thought your review was very good and it appreciated not only your good comments about the content but your ability to infuse your review with your own personal style. Very good writing, in and of itself! I would comment that Dain's actions, seen in our own context, are terrible. It is a classic case of a parent perpetuating their own terrible upbringing. But seen in the context of that historical period, it is not forgiveable but understandable. Not excusing him in any way, but remember that this is how parents believed they would "harden" their children in order to live successful and realistic adult lives. It certainly isn't my way and I hope not the way of contemporary parents, but I think part of the value of reading historical fiction is to recognize how far we have come in many ways and how our world has changed. Thanks for the great review.

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  2. Thanks for the great compliment!

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  3. Great review. I really enjoyed LoS but can see the points you made as well.

    Thanks for joining the challenge!

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