Ten Kisses to Scandal by Vivienne Lorret
Barbara rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Misadventures In Matchmaking #2
Publication Date: 12/24/18
Number of Pages: 384
This is a mesmerizing read that kept me smiling, giggling and laughing as I saw these two lovely people wend their way to their HEA. It sucked me in from the first page and just wouldn’t let me go. The writing is outstanding, the plot unique and interesting, and the characters just couldn’t get any better. This might very well be my favorite book of 2018.
Briar Bourne’s life has been both coddled and traumatic. Her father left them and started a new family when she was very young and her mother mourned herself to death after that. Briar and her two sisters (Jacinda – book one and Ainsley – book three) then went to live with their doting Uncle Ernest where they proceeded to ‘protect’ Briar from any of the unpleasant details. Basically, they shielded her from life – even into her adulthood. Briar very much wants to be an active contributor to the matrimonial agency her uncle has opened, but she feels she’s been relegated to doing nothing but pouring tea and filing papers. Well, if they won’t give her a chance, she’ll just make her own chance by finding matches for her very best friend, Temperance and her brother, Daniel.
Nicholas, the Earl of Edgemont is an unrepentant rake, but he is NOT a libertine and he lives by his own code of honor. Nicholas is disillusioned with life and, with very good reason, has an exceedingly poor opinion of marriage and women, but he is very caring and loyal to his family – he will do anything to protect them. What he has done may find him estranged from them for the rest of his life if they ever find out. With his cousin Daniel suffering from a debilitating case of melancholia because of his broken betrothal, Nicholas will do whatever he can to bring him out of it and get him back into life again – maybe even with a new prospective bride.
Nicholas is intrigued with Briar from the first moment he meets her, but she is forbidden to him – she is a virginal debutante. However, as they come into each other’s orbit more and more often, the attraction grows. If she is going to be a successful matchmaker, she needs to become more astute at reading and understanding body language and what goes on between men and women. Who better to teach her what she needs to know that Nicholas. When they strike a bargain – he teaches her in return for a small payment. Her rule is no hands – his rule is – don’t fall in love with him.
You’ll find yourself smiling, giggling and outright laughing throughout most of the book as you are reading Briar’s outrageous scenarios and inner dialogue. She certainly manages to throw our hero off center with some of those scenarios she describes to him. I love that she can leave him absolutely speechless.
Lorret did an excellent job with the character development – especially the two main characters. Briar is twenty, very naïve and protected from life, but her outlook is bright, light, open and hopeful. She can always find something good about a person or situation. Authors usually write that Pollyanna(ish) type of character as much too saccharine and usually too reckless and TSTL. That isn’t the case here. Lorret managed to merge the Pollyanna qualities with a smart, humorous, self-contained, well-centered young lady that you can’t help falling in love with – and neither could our hero – no matter how hard he tries not to. With Nicholas, she didn’t make him come to heel too quickly or give up his deeply held aversion to marriage too easily. She also showed the very caring man he was to his family – and his deep remorse and anguish when he thinks all is lost. The author just did an excellent job.
The only thing I wondered about was Briar’s father’s other family. They are talked about – the brother is even featured somewhat, but we don’t really learn much of the dynamics of that second family and Briar never seemed to make contact or get to know the brother. Certainly, nothing to ding the book about, but just makes me curious. Like – how did that brother come to have possession of the properties, etc.? Maybe we’ll learn more in the third book.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Definitely an enjoyable read!
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Ten Kisses to Scandal by Vivienne Lorret