Sunday, December 03, 2006

Marriage Most Scandalous, by Johanna Lindsey

Johanna Lindsey
ISBN: 1-4165-0545-8
Historical Romance
Book #06-150

As a young man, Sebastian Townshend accidentally killed his best friend in a duel over Giles's wife. Disowned by his father, and grief-stricken over Giles's death, Sebastian retreated to the Continent, where he has made a name for himself as The Raven, a mercenary who will take on any job no matter how impossible, Sebastian is surprised to be approached by Lady Margaret Landor, the sister of Giles's former fiancee. Maggie has been trying to find Sebastian to get his help. Someone has been trying to kill Sebastian's father, and Maggie is afraid that Sebastian's younger brother is impatient to claim his inheritance. When Maggie agrees to pay Sebastian an exorbitant sum for his help, he has no choice but to accompany her back to England. Maggie coaxes Sebastian to pretend to be her husband, as that is the only way she can be certain he won't be barred from his father's estate.

Johanna Lindsey always writes an interesting story, full of twists and turns. Unfortunately, her language is so contemporaneously colloquial that it becomes a distraction to readers who prefer to immerse themselves in the Regency setting. Furthermore, the entire plot hinges on Maggie's agreement to be labeled a "divorcee" in an era when divorce was extremely rare and virtually ruined a woman's life, yet the characters act as though Maggie will simply be somewhat inconvenienced by the results of her charade.

As in previous books, much of the denouement reveals secrets that are jaw-droppingly improbable, but Lindsey's way with a one-liner may mitigate that for some readers. Lindsey's books are always enjoyable, and MARRIAGE MOST SCANDALOUS is no exception, but the author does her fans a disservice with her casual approach to the reality of Regency life.

No comments: