A Scandal to Remember was an adorable little read featuring a very sweet romance between a smitten, yet gruff hero and a not-so prim spinster.
Jane Burke has long stood in the shadow of her father’s career. She’s an accomplished scientist on her own, but her father has always taken the credit for her work. At twenty-six, Jane has had enough; she wants to be known for her own accomplishments. To achieve these career aspirations, Jane finds herself aboard the Tenacious as the lady scientist for an expedition. The other members of the team, and those who staff the ship, are not thrilled to have a woman aboard, but Jane will be damned if she’ll let anything or anyone stand her in way.
Lieutenant Charles Dance is also a new arrival to the Tenacious and he’s gotten more work than he bargained for. It was supposed to be an easy appointment, and it’s turned into anything but. The captain is a reclusive drunk and the majority of the crew panders to the conniving bosun, Mr. Ransome. Dance doesn’t have a problem taking Jane aboard, but he doesn’t have time to deal with the distraction of this prim-and-proper spinster who has a fascination with shells. But it seems that Dance simply cannot help himself. A Scandal to Remember was a nice, quiet, sweet read. If you’re going into this one expecting high-seas adventure, you might be disappointed. While adventure does happen, the bulk of this novel focuses on the budding relationship between Jane and Dance. What’s great about this relationship is how attuned each were to one another as well as to themselves. There were multiple instances when the reader is treated to the internal thoughts and happenings of Dance and Jane, and it was clear that they knew themselves and in turn, recognized a bond with the other. Jane in particular was an interesting character. She had been complacent for most of her life, but joining this expedition was her way of breaking out of her shell. She wanted to be something more. She knew it would be a challenge for her, and she did it anyway. Having such self-assured main characters was an interesting change from the usual romances that I read, but it was a nice and contributed to a less muddled and less angst ridden narrative.
What I thought was particularly sweet about the romance was how quickly Dance was smitten with Jane. From the first, he liked and respected Jane. But what made it so sweet was the fact that Dance was a gruff, rough-around-the-edges kind of character. He swore all the time, but then he would think such adorably endearing things:
He had to do better. He had to be more equitable.
Because Jane Burke was counting on him. And she was still holding his hand. And he liked it (p. 193).
A hero that’s empowered by holding someone’s hand? Kinda sigh-worthy.
Arguably, the romance may have been a little over the top with the sweetness factor, but I honestly didn’t find it a detriment. Sometimes you just need a really cute read and I found and appreciated that in A Scandal to Remember.
What I was somewhat disappointed about was the short span of time that Dance and Jane spent on a deserted island. The book blurb promised me a desert island and I wanted this element of adventure. While getting stranded certainly did happen, it didn’t happen until after the half way mark, and it didn’t really become a major part of the book, other than serve as a means to get the hero and heroine alone (if you know what I mean 😉 ).
Ultimately, A Scandal to Remember is the perfect pick for readers who enjoy characters that are attuned to themselves. It’s a lovely, sweet story of two characters thrust into roles that they would have not originally pursued and come out stronger because of it.
If your interested in a historical romance situated in a tropical climate, I’d recommend Candice Proctor’s Beyond Sunrise. While I had some issues were certain aspects, I loved the fact that it was set in such a unique locale. I had hoped that there would have been more of an exotic locale in A Scandal to Remember, but the deserted island simply did not play that large of a role.
For another lady scientist, it is absolutely essential that you read Tessa Dare’s A Wick to Be Wicked. It’s heroine, Minerva, has discovered a fossil and there’s no way she’s not going to bring it to the Royal Geological Symposium to get her academic credit for discovering it. She bullies the hero into accompanying her, hijinks ensure and romance happens. It’s marvelous.
Lastly, if you, like me, enjoyed the sweet tone to the book, I think Anne Barton’s Scandalous Summer Nights is an excellent choice. A tale of unrequited love and an on-the-road romance. Not a lot of action, but the romance is actually quite nice. See my full review here.