This is the first historical romance I’ve read, and probably one of only five romances I’ve read in total. I have always kept away from the Romance genre because I believed the heroines were feeble and rather pathetic and could only exist in life if they had a man, hence my affection for the kiss-arse chicks you find so readily in urban fantasy, but I have always enjoyed romance movies and I am very much a romantic at heart, so it was time to put aside my misconceptions and explore.
After making the decision to shake up my reading a little, I had no clue where to start, so I sent out a twitter request for some great romance authors and got some great recommendations. It was a kindly book smuggler (thanks Ana) who steered me in the right direction with the recommendation of Lord of Scoundrels. And I’m so glad she did…
Lord of Scoundrels is such a wonderful love story between Jessica Trent and Sebastian Ballister. It opens with a prologue of Ballister’s early childhood and teenage years, and reveals how life was difficult for him. It sets the scene nicely and is much needed as a reference as I doubt I would have been as sympathetic towards Sebastian without it.
Sebastian Ballister is conceited, arrogant and unpleasant, and doesn’t often have anything very nice to say, but he’s a great ‘love to hate’ character. After a while though, he starts to pull at your heart strings as you hear his tortured thoughts and confusion at the emotions he’s feeling. Because of this he is rather horrid to Jessica, but luckily she is bright and quick-witted and gives as good as she gets. She is certainly no shrinking violet.
It’s obvious that Jessica comes from a line of forward thinking, bold women as she seeks guidance from her grandmother regarding the rather wicked Mr Ballister who is never shocked at hearing about Jessica’s feelings of lust. A time when women were seen as nothing more than cleaning and breeding machines, I loved that Jessica was definitely her own woman and gave as good as she got from Sebastian.
I really enjoyed Jessica and Sebastian’s relationship. It is the kind I enjoy the most when it comes to romance – the love/hate relationship. There is a lot of intelligently written dialogue and witty banter between the two, increasing the sexual tension between them even further. What I also liked about this book is that the author managed to write sensual scenes without being crude and I really appreciated that. I’m not much for lots of explicit words used for sex scenes as I just find myself cringing and getting all embarrassed… yes, even when reading on my own! *blush*
When Sebastian meets Jessica it is lust and love at first sight, although he doesn’t quite understand his feelings or even recognise half of them. He’s an immature man who has been so aloof that he hasn’t got a clue about women. He’s happy to pay for sex but when it comes to actually interacting with a ‘Lady’ he has no idea what he’s doing. However, we see Sebastian grow with each chapter and although I didn’t fall in love with him, I did like him more and more. For some reason Sebastian reminded me of Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights) and what he could have learnt about himself if only he had a Jessica instead of a rather selfish, self-absorbed Catherine.
This was an experiment of sorts, dipping my toes into uncharted genres, just to shake up my reading habits and I’m so glad I did – I couldn’t put this book down! I enjoyed Lord of Scoundrels from beginning to end and will definitely be looking at Chase’s back list. If you’re like me, and are a romance virgin, then I whole heartedly recommend this book as a great starting point!
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