Monday, 17 November 2014

Scandal Wears Satin

Scandal Wears Satin (2012) (Avon)
Loretta Chase
Grade: A
Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: hot
Source: own
Dressmakers: (1) Silk is for Seduction, (2) Scandal Wears Satin
Romance RBC 2014: A Cabin/Road Romance 

The middle Noirot sister, it is said that Sophia ‘Sophy’ Noirot could sell sand to the Bedouins. As adept a dressmaker as her sisters, Sophy’s true talents lie in writing, and she’s depended upon to infiltrate Society’s grand balls and events, to take note of every last detail of who’s wearing what and who danced with whom to write her column for Fox’s Spectacle, the gossip that everyone in London is reading. Marcelline, Sophy and Leonie need to win over more-high-ranking names in society to their shop, in particular, Lady Warford, who just happens to be their greatest enemy after Marcelline married the Duke of Clevedon, the man who was promised to her daughter.

When Lady Clara, their best and favourite customer, is caught in a compromising position, she finds herself engaged to Lord Adderley, who has his eyes set on Clara’s fortune – not her beauty, intelligence or conversational talents. When Clara runs away, it is Sophy who tasks herself with the mission of tracking her down and concocting a plan to help Clara break off her engagement. With the Earl of Longmore, Clara’s elder brother for company, the pair set off on Clara’s heels with Sophy in one of her ingenious disguises. Despite their initial clash of personalities, Harry is surprisingly adept at taking a cue and drawing upon his inner actor, finding that he's rather enjoying this adventure, in spite of the gloomy circumstances that have led to it. As Sophy and Harry make their way south, the pair are faced with the prospect of another relationship that will shock society ...

Again, another read I selected to complete another square on my romance raeding bingo chart. As much as I love Loretta Chase and enjoyed Silk is for Seduction, I wouldn’t have let myself read book 2 had I not found a category to slot this read into the scant half-dozen-or-so categories I have left. I’m glad I did: I didn’t think that Loretta Chase could top Silk is for Seduction, but Scandal Wears Satin has done just that.

Sophy and Harry clashed several times in book 1 and it was delightful to watch as they stepped on each other’s toes – an indicator of an explosive and entertaining relationship to come. They’re really a great match and when occasion calls for it, Harry has just as much acting flair as Sophy. They make their way to Portsmouth with Sophy masquerading as Harry’s cousin, Gladys. In tow is also young Fenwick (Sophy’s choice of name, since he won’t disclose his real one), a young boy who had been intent on pick-pocketing Harry, but whom Sophy has since recruited to run errands. Again, it is Sophy who is more wary of what troubles their relationship will bring. Her main concern is getting the shop profitable, and with one wedding that has shocked society already, the Noirot sisters literally can’t afford any more scandal. Her devotion to Clara and Clara’s cause is admirable and over the course of the book, it’s clear that Sophy is willing to go to whatever lengths necessary, however elaborate (and expensive) to ensure that Clara gets what she needs.

What I really want is a book for Clara. Of course, she’s not a Noirot sister or anything close to a dressmaker, but Scandal Wears Satin is proof that you don’t have to share the same blood to be sisters. The three Noirots have adopted Clara for their own, despite her large and close blood family, and they’re not going to let her go. I’m sure that Leonie’s story with Vixen in Velvet will hit the mark just as Scandal Wears Satin has done, but I do feel that I’m less excited than I had been for this book. As a road romance, the reader spent between one third and one half of the book following Sophy and Harry’s adventures pursuing Clara on the road to Portsmouth, which meant less time with the charming Noirot sisters and getting to know Leonie, the financial genius. Regardless, I’m hooked to this series and can’t wait to see how Loretta Chase will follow the lives of these sisters and present her next challenge to society’s conventions.

Image courtesy of Fantastic Fiction

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