Prelude to a Scandal: Delilah Marvelle

Feeling adventurous as I picked up milk, salad, and dishwashing detergent, I stopped over to peruse the shelves of the new releases.

This beautiful cover caught my eye almost instantly, and a quick glimpse at the back cover suggested it was right up my aisle.  Rakehell Duke?   Headstrong heroine?  Giddy up!

I cracked open the spine my eyes traveling routinely to the thank you pages and foreword.  And my, what a saucy forward it was.  Marvelle explains how she delights in the true scandalous events of the past…and how that and the predeliction for randy rakes suggested to her that, although undiagnosed, at least one of these Regency Bucks must have been a sex addict.

Okay I thought.  She is a new author to me but so far so sensible!

Cracking from the first pages, Marvelle’s heroine sparkles with humor and something that reminds me of my beloved Francesca Cahill.  As if twisting together the plot of Mean Girls with Marquis de Sade, she takes a heroine straight from the bush of Africa to the harrowing halls of the Ton…and launches her right into the arms of the most disreputable rake of them all.

Like Tina Fey’s witty observations of high school girls acting like wild animals, so does our heroine Justine recognize the feral foundations of Society.  And having been raised by an unconventional forward thinking father, she is not afraid to act according to her own standards.

I absolutely loved everything about the lightening pace of the introduction, the interplay between hero and heroine, and the spanking dialogue.  I am a bit unconventional myself, so I never mind when authors stray into controversial and liberal territories (although readers who are strictly vanilla should steer clear).  I also loved how there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot of contrived plot twists in the beginning to create genuine character based conflict.

I finished the book quickly…staying up a bit too late on two nights, I might add, until my eyes drooped shut reminding me of work the next day.

However, my third day (and final chapters) I was a bit…hungry.  Somewhere in the third act it just sort of went sideways on me.

I don’t want to give anything away, so I won’t speak specifics.  I just felt like maybe the conflict she created in the late second and third act wasn’t really what the characters deserved.  I wanted to see the heroine challenged more….heck, the Duke was trying to self-rehab a major sex addiction–so where was her character arc?

Nevertheless, its going in the reread stack.  I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style, and will definitely be on the hunt for more.

I am trying, for the benefit of my many diversely palate-d readers to institute a rating system based on content.  I have drafted a little key on the sidebar to explain, but if you would prefer a graphic system (I think I would…but haven’t decided) please let me know.

And let me know if its helpful to have the rating or if you would like it expanded…etc.

Rated: E

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