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    Book Review: Lord Scandal by Kalen Hughes
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  • Published: Jul 30th, 2008

Reviewed by Kati Dancy

4 stars

hughes_lordrev.jpgI’m going to say this up front, I think Kalen Hughes might be among the brightest new authors out there. In her second novel, Lord Scandal, she demonstrates a veteran deftness with characterization, description, and dialog. Lord Scandal is the story of Imogen Mowbray, the portrait divorcee, who was summarily divorced by her husband, a rising star in British politics, when she had a mildly scandalous portrait painted.

Allegations of adultery and licentiousness followed her for ages, and she was divorced by her husband and disowned by her family. Her life takes a drastic change when she meets Lady George Somercote, who invites her to move into the dowager house on her estate. George runs with a bit of a fast crowd, including the scourge of the ton, Gabriel Angelstone. It is when George decides to throw a house party for that fast crowd that Imogen’s life begins to change.

Imogen and Gabriel meet one day in the garden. They begin a verbal jousting match filled with quotations from Shakespeare. He flirts wildly with her as she tries at first to gently set him aside, and then a little more forcefully, finally culminating in her stomping on his boot when he kisses her. Gabriel, completely unaccustomed to women not throwing themselves at him, is both offended and intrigued. He resolves to capture his “garden nymph” immediately and sets out on a campaign to seduce her. Imogen, no wilting flower herself, realizes she is being seduced and yet feels helpless against his pull. She decides to engage in a torrid affair with Gabriel that will end at the conclusion of the party.

But at the end of the party, both Imogen and Gabriel are still strongly attracted and can’t seem to stop thinking about each other. When George decides that she and her cousin will reintroduce Imogen to the ton and help her regain her respectability, she takes Imogen back to London with her. For Imogen to regain her social stature, she has to remain completely respectable, which of course means she must stay away from Gabriel. But can Imogen fight her attraction for Gabriel? And will he respect her wishes?

I liked almost every single aspect of this book. The dialog sparkles with intelligence and wit. Ms. Hughes has created two immensely likable characters that are smart and funny. The secondary characters do a seamless job of adding description without detracting from the main romance. Only one thing jarred me on occasion, and that’s the rapidly changing points of view. I know that head hopping is something some readers are very sensitive to. It did not detract from my enjoyment of the book at all, but readers sensitive to it may find Ms. Hughes’ style not to their taste. All in all though, this was a terrific book, and I think that Ms. Hughes is an author to watch.

7 Responses to “Book Review: Lord Scandal by Kalen Hughes”

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  1. Natalie
    on Jul 31st, 2008
    @ 9:17 am

    I saw this book in the store and almost picked it up, I’ve never read a Kalen Hughes book before. I don’t know why I hesitated. After reading this I think I think I’ll go back and get it. I like the idea of a heroine who has to go through many ‘trials and tribulations’ before she comes to the other side. Thanks Kati for the review.

  2. MaryKate
    on Jul 31st, 2008
    @ 9:48 am

    You bet, Natalie! I hope you enjoy it. It’s a good price point to try a new author. She’s really got a great knack for story telling.

  3. Buffie
    on Jul 31st, 2008
    @ 11:34 am

    MK, I have been hearing some great things about Ms. Hughes and this book. Maybe I should pick it up. What’s the “steam” level on this book? You know I like them hot ๐Ÿ™‚

    BTW — I’m reading a book now that has a hero with several tattoos. One of which is in a very *ahem* sensitive area. I can’t wait to see what the heroine does with that ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Gannon
    on Jul 31st, 2008
    @ 2:05 pm

    This sounds like a good one!

  5. MaryKate
    on Jul 31st, 2008
    @ 2:25 pm

    Huh, Buffie, I read the book about three or four weeks ago, and nothing really sticks out about the steam level. That’s probably not hot enough for you.

    Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t like some books where all I remember is how freaking hot they were! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Marisa
    on Jul 31st, 2008
    @ 4:01 pm

    Hey MaryKate – I’m loving this review and looking forward to reading the book. I’m with Natalie – I love the whole outcast women scenario, love how they find their way back, or in, or over the whole social mores thing.

  7. PJ
    on Jul 31st, 2008
    @ 4:52 pm

    Yet one more book to add to my tbr mountain. Great review, MK!

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