Jewel, Carolyn. Scandal. (New York: Berkley, 2009). ISBN – 9780425225516.
Main Characters: Gwilym, Earl of Banallt & Sophie Evans
Description from book:
The Earl of Banallt is no stranger to scandal. But when he meets Sophie Evans, the young wife of a fellow libertine, even he is shocked by his reaction. This unconventional and intelligent woman proves to be far more than an amusing distraction – she threatens to drive him to distraction. Unlike the women who usually fall at Banallt’s feet, and into his bed, Sophie refuses to be seduced. And soon Banallt desires her more than ever – and for more than an illicit affair.
Years later, the widowed Sophie is free, and Banallt is determined to win the woman he still loves. Unfortunately, she doesn’t believe his declaration of love and chivalrous offer of marriage – her heart has already been broken by her scoundrel of a husband. And yet, Sophie is tempted to indulge in the torrid affair she’s always fantasized about. Caught between her logical mind and her long-denied desire, Sophie must thwart Banallt’s seduction – or risk being consumed by the one man she should avoid at all costs . . .
While I don’t generally make resolutions every year, this year I am making a conscious effort to cut down on the number of romance novels that I buy by browsing book store shelves. I have a large pile of books that are to be read – and most of them ended up there because I wasn’t excited about reading them. I have been trying to read these books, and I have found that I wished I hadn’t bought many of them. So, I’m trying to be more careful about books that I just pick up. A couple of weeks ago, however, I did just pick up Carolyn Jewel’s Scandal while at a bookstore. I hadn’t heard about the book, but bought it after reading the blurb on the back cover. I wasn’t expecting much, since I can’t quite remember the last time that I enjoyed an impulse buy. Fortunately, my experience with this book did not go as expected. I very much enjoyed the story of Sophie and Gwilym, the Earl of Banallt.
Sophie is a widow who has survived a heartbreaking marriage with a man who cared more for partying and other women than he did for her. Banallt was one of the men with whom Sophie’s husband caroused – one of the few that he actually brought home with him. Banallt was intrigued by his friends wife and tried to convince her to have an affair. After all, she knew her husband wasn’t faithful to her. However, Sophie, despite being tempted by Banallt, was not interested in breaking her marriage vows.
Years later, Sophie is a widow. Banallt comes to visit with the intention of marrying Sophie. Sophie, however, remembers Banallt’s wild ways and is not about to enter into another marriage with someone she doesn’t think can be faithful. I can’t blame Sophie for being skeptical about Banallt. After all, the first time they met Banallt had his current paramour with him – and still made a pass at Sophie. And, he readily admitted that he cheated on his wife even though he loved her (I don’t really believed he did, but he said so).
Sophie is indeed a wounded character who is determined to keep her heart emotionally shielded. Banallt is an interesting character. No one can doubt his rakish character at the beginning of the book. Despite this fact, I did have sympathy for him from the start of the story. I truly believed that he loved Sophie and that he would be a faithful husband. His experiences with Sophie while she was married seemed to have a profound effect upon him. I admit at certain points in the story I wanted Sophie to just get over herself and be able to see Banallt how I saw him. However, Sophie’s journey to get over her past and be able to accept Banallt did make sense. It wasn’t easy for Sophie, but she does finally embrace her HEA.
I really can’t believe how much I enjoyed this story!!!
Read first February 2009