Last Night's Scandal Mass Market Paperback – Jul 27 2010
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From the Back Cover
After surviving the perils of Egypt, Peregrine Dalmay, Earl of Lisle, is back in London, facing the most dire threat of all: his irrational family . . . and Miss Olivia Wingate-Carsington. A descendant of notorious—but very aristocratic—swindlers, the delectable redhead has the ability to completely unhinge him and a long history of dragging him into her scandalous schemes.
Olivia may be Society's darling, but she's aware a respectable future looms menacingly. And so when Lisle is forced to go on a family mission, she sees this as the perfect chance for one last adventure—even if it is with the one man in the world she can't wrap around her finger. But really, she only wants to help . . .
Which is why Lisle and Olivia find themselves in a gloomy Scottish castle inhabited by spiteful ghosts and craven murderers . . . and a shocking secret: the greatest peril of all may be burning within their own stubborn hearts.
About the Author
Loretta Chase has worked in academe, retail, and the visual arts, as well as on the street—as a meter maid—and in video, as a scriptwriter. She might have developed an excitingly checkered career had her spouse not nagged her into writing fiction. Her bestselling historical romances, set in the Regency and Romantic eras of the early nineteenth century, have won a number of awards, including the Romance Writers of America's RITA®.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book opens strongly with a few letters back and forth between the younger Olivia Carsington in England and Peregrine Dalmay, Earl of Lisle, who is in Egypt. Olivia's letter are true to the personality of the child we met back in Lord Perfect, full of exaggerations, Ideas and words underlined, bolded and italicized for GREATER emphasis. Lisle's more sedate letters also suit the deliberate voice of reason that had managed the wilder Olivia on their Noble Quest for pirate treasure in Bristol. I was chuckling at their interplay at the Dowager Countess of Hargate's birthday ball where Lisle was trapped between a sudden desire for the adult Olivia and his comfortable rapport with his old friend.
When Lisle's dramatic and overemotional parents demand he go to a family estate in Scotland to restore it, withholding his entire allowance unless he acquiesces, he's in a bind. He wants to return to Egypt to work alongside his scholar aunt, not freeze his rump off in Scotland. Luckily, and unluckily, for him, Olivia has an Idea. Before he knows what hit him, he's on his way to Scotland, and so is Olivia and two elderly and inappropriate chaperones.
And here's where the book started to lose me. I thought their desire was openly acknowledged far too early, deflating the sexual tension. They share passionate kisses before they even reach the castle and shag early and often. This left a rather flimsy reason as the impediment to their HEA so the ghost story could conclude first. Olivia couldn't accept Lisle's proposal because he's happiest in Egypt and she would only tie him to England. 1. That's sort of a false dilemma. Surely she could have gone to Egypt with him. 2. If that's the case, STOP HAVING SEX ALL THE TIME. Talk about being a tease. The conflict is basically self-inflicted until Olivia basically says, "Ghost story's resolved, I changed my mind, let's get married." Weak.
The rest of the book is comical in spots. The ribald old ladies were good for a chuckle or two and the recurring bagpipe gag did make me laugh a few times against my better judgement. I couldn't say I disliked the book in the least. It was a fun adventure with a cast of entertaining characters. I just felt that it could have been so much more of a book had she paced the sexual tension and romantic conflict differently.
As to the H and h of this book, if you are a long-time Chase reader, you've met them before. In LORD PERFECT they are the two adolescents who embark on a treasure hunt and whose rescue thus brings together the H and h of that story. Our hero Peregrine Dalmay, Earl of Lisle, is the nephew of Benedict Carsington, Lord Rathbourne, and our heroine Olivia Wingate-Carsington is the daughter of Bathsheba Wingate, now Lady Rathbourne. After their adolescent adventure, the two are separated when Peregrine, aka Lisle, is sent to Egypt in the care of Rupert and Daphne Carsington (H and h of MR. IMPOSSIBLE). You do not need to have read either MR. IMPOSSIBLE or LORD PERFECT to fully enjoy this new book, but it's fun background info.
Now it's almost 10 years later. All this time (1822-1831) they have kept in touch through letters and the occasional token from Egypt sent to Olivia by Lisle. Lisle is back in England for a family celebration and sees Olivia for the first time in 5 years. One look at her and he realizes it's not a brotherly affection he feels for her, but Egypt is still calling to him and he tries to suppress his new-found attraction to her. His return to Egypt, however, is delayed by his parents, who threaten to cut off his funds if he doesn't go to Scotland to restore Gorewood Castle, an old, neglected and apparently haunted family possession.
Olivia is high-spirited, always looking for adventure and never finding any in her life in the ton. (Last real one was with Lisle when they were adolescents.) She envies Lisle his life in Egypt and sees this restoration in Scotland as her opportunity for another adventure and gets herself involved, much, of course, to Lisle's dismay. Once in Scotland, they find there's even a possible old treasure hidden in the castle, in addition to apparent ghosts to reveal.
But more than the mysteries to be resolved and the treasures to find and the ghosts to discover, it's the love to be revealed that's the story here. Chase's marvelous writing has you enjoying tremendously the process of the young couple's realization that their childhood affection has developed into true love. And both Lisle and the reader learn so much about Olivia in the process. We start out thinking she's just a Girl Who Wants to Have Fun and Adventure and find out she is so much more. And, of course, in addition, Lisle has to learn that maybe Egypt is not really his first love.
The plot includes a gloomy castle in Scotland, tart tongued old ladies reminiscening about their misspent youths, skullduggery, treasure and more. Yet, that is all merely a stage for the sparkling dialgue and steamy encounters between Peregrine and Olivia as they discover that the chemistry they had as precocious children has become downright COMBUSTIBLE. If you are a Chase fan, You know what to expect and will not be disappointed. If you are just discovering Chase, you will find you have stumbled upon treasure even more wonderful than the treasure Peregrine and Olivia find. I read the book straight through, and now must go read it again. Thanks, Loretta, for yet another delicious book!
"Lord Perfect", "Mr Impossible" and "Lord of Scoundrels" were 5 star books. This one just isn't. Maybe Ms Chase has become complacent with so many people raving over every word she writes. A well written ending will give you good feedback but it doesn't make it a great book.
I hate to critique Loretta Chase. I got IMMENSE pleasure from reading "Lord Perfect", "Mr Impossible" and "Lord of Scoundrels". Some of her books are just masterpieces. However,for the most part, I found "Last Night's Scandal" a bit tedious. I've read many of her other books in one go because I couldn't bear to stop. I read this one over 3 or 4 days and was never really drawn into it.
To start with it seemed a bit slow, the narrative didn't whoosh me along like her other books. [The rest may contain SPOILERS] Then there were the repetetive sexual encounters - sex scene 1, sex scene 2, sex scene 3 etc. There was no build up or anticipation, no "great obstacle" standing in their way except their own resistance which was basically non-existant.
In any great book there is a tragic consequence if things don't work out. (eg. They will have to part forever even though they share a "great love" or she will have to marry someone else etc. - you know the sort of thing) For most of this book the tragic consequence was "Lisle will never go back to Egypt" and frankly I didn't really care. Sure, it's a shame if he never goes back but hey-ho! Their great love story seemed to be a few gropes followed by some sex with no emotional bonding. (Shall we get married? Erm no..Not sure..What do you think?...But the sex is great! kind of thing.) I never really connected to Lisle or Olivia, never felt their "emotional jouney" and it all seemed to plod along to the inevitable ending.
The "castle treasure" storyline seemed cliched and frankly kept making me think of Scooby Doo. Finally, I really missed Loretta Chase's genius for wit and humour. For me it was totally absent except for the letters right at the beginning. I realize that the Old Ladies and their smutty comments/behaviour was meant to be humourous but it didn't really work for me. Their character's were so lightly sketched that I couldn't tell one from the other. Maybe if I'd known them a bit better I would have found it funny? Not sure.
I also thought it was a pity that Benedict and Bathsheba were merely shadowy background figures. Having created such wonderful characters that we know so well it seems a shame not use them.
All in all, nothing special.
Almost a decade after their original Quest, the pair are thrown together again. I do love it when a plan comes together for a fun romp!
Olivia is more than a pretty face. In an era when women are first treated as daughters, then wives, then mothers, she wants more. She longs for adventure.
She also knows that the attraction she feels for her dear friend Lisle is not going to do either of them any good.
Lisle hates overemotional dramatics. His parents emotional ups and downs drive him mad. And Olivia stirs up all sorts of emotions for him. None of them brotherly.
The book is just a delicious read. With two friends struggling with attraction while trying to do the best for each other, ghosts, treasure, and the best pair of little old ladies, a great time was to be had by all.