Lord of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase

>> Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I've no idea why I haven't reread Lord of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase more.

Tough minded Jessica Trent's sole intention is to free her nitwit brother from the destructive influence of Sebastian ballister, the notorious Marquess of Diain. She never expects to desire the arrogant, amoral cad. And When Daines reciprical passion places them in a scandously compromising, and public, position, Jessica is left with no choice but to seek satisfaction...

Dawn the minx for tempting him, kissing him...and then for forcing him to salvage reputation! Lord Dain can't wait to put the infuriating bluestocking in her place -- and in some amorous position. And if this means marriage, so be it -- though sebastian is less than certain he can continue to remian aloof...and steel his heart to the sensuous, head strong lady's considerable charms.
This is one of most readers' favourites, and it deserves it. I know it's my favourite, but until I reread it this time I didn't quite remember just how wonderful, how perfect it was. An A+.

As I said above, I hadn't reread LoS for some time, so I had some impressions not supported by concrete memory. One of these was that while the first part of the book was amazing, the second part, once Jess and Dain get married, was a little less so.

That was one impression I'm glad to report was wrong. There are two pretty distinct halves, yes, and the first one is superb, but the rest of the book is just as good!

In the first part we see Jess and Dain's very unusual "courtship". I loved the way they danced around each other, it was so witty and full of sexual tension. I especially enjoyed the way Dain found it so absolutely incredible that Jess could be attracted to him. Both main characters are introduced and fully fleshed out here, and their personalities grow during the book, and yet they remain true to who they were. There are absolutely no instances of Jess or Dain behaving out of character simply to move the story along.

Jess is, in a word, amazing. She's proof that a virgin heroine needn't mean a stupid, naive or ignorant one. She's strong and independent and intelligent and sensible. She knows her own female power and didn't hesitate to use it. She knows her own worth, too, and is perfectly able to defend her own honor. The scene where she gives Dain exactly what he deserved was incredible!

I liked that she was proud, but not stupidly so. She's simply not one to insist on living a martyr's life, poor and exiled from all she loves solely because she's not being offered a love match.

As for Dain, he's also a fascinating character. Chase doesn't make him a larger-than-life perfect character, not at all. She shows us exactly how the immature, insecure child inside him is making him act like an idiot. And this works, because the author is so good that she can make Dain and his actions funny and poignant at the same time. An excellent example is the way he talks to himself during the whole book, going on and on about his monstrous hands and his horrible brute body. This was at the same time LOL funny and sad and touching.

Another reason this worked so well was because Jess was so terribly perceptive in what she saw in Sebastian. She saw quite a bit more than what he showed, pretty much realizing from the beginning that there's a hurt little boy inside and that this is what sometimes makes him act like a jackass. Jess could come across as a little manipulative, in fact, if it weren't for the fact that she needed Dain as much as he needed her. Together, these two are just wonderful to read. Their banter, which turns into verbal foreplay much of the time, was superbly written, and so were their love scenes.

Surprisingly, the subplot near the end of the book, about Sebastian's son, who he'd pretty much abandoned, worked very well for me. I say surprisingly because it was something I didn't have very positive memories from the last time I'd reread the book, but this time, I wouldn't have changed a word. The consequences of this part of the book was basically what finally kicked the little kid out of Dain, what made him finally complete the process and grow up all the way.

Perfect, just perfect!


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