In Search of Scandal is a delightful, charming, and sweet historical romance from debut author, Susanne Lord.
Will Repton is a plant collector and sole survivor of a massacre in Tibet. He returns to Victorian London viewed as a hero, but all he wants is to raise enough funds to make a return trip to investigate whether or not a baby girl survived the massacre that he barely escaped. Soliciting the help of his friend, Ben, Will runs into Ben’s sister-in-law, Charlotte Baker – quite possibly the most beautiful woman (and the chattiest) he’s ever met. For Charlotte, her meeting with Will is love at first sight. If only this dashing hero could see her as something other than a frivolous female, and if only he was planning on sticking around for longer than a few months. Happily, events conspire against them both.
Charlotte and Will are complete opposites. Will’s a scholarly dude who has absolutely no clue that Charlotte has set her sites on him or why she even would – he’s a plant guy, not a lord.
No sensible woman looked at him like that.
Perhaps there was something wrong with her (p.11)
Little does Will know, Charlotte is intent on marriage as soon as she sets sights on him.
But thank God. Thank God! Here he was! The man who could redeem the family name. The man she dreamed of. The man she was destined to marry – even if William Repton was not yet away of the fact (p. 11).
Yes, Charlotte’s intentions towards Will are partially motivated by what he can do for her family (they are not well received among the ton). But, it’s all too clear that this is a very small part of what draws Charlotte to Will. From the start Charlotte sees Will as someone who is interesting; she is interested in his travels and the sights that he has seen. For Will’s part, he doesn’t really believe that Charlotte is actually interested in him – and I couldn’t have been more tickled by the fact that this hero is clueless. There’s more than rakes and rogues in romance land and it’s the incongruity between the hero and heroine that makes this a delightful read.
Complicating Charlotte and Will’s road to happily ever after is the fact that Will is leaving England, and even when he cannot possibly fail to notice that Charlotte is actually attracted to him, Will refuses to pursue something when he’s leaving the country. Honor and all that. Meanwhile, Charlotte does actually need and want to get married and she has no shortage of alternative suitors after Will refuses to come up to scratch. But, the more time Will spends with Charlotte the harder he finds it will be to leave her behind. Does Will really need to be the one that goes back to Tibet, especially at the cost of his own future happiness?
Well, I wont spoil the ending, but the journey to that happily ever after is sublime. The characters were well drawn and the writing was witting. Charlotte in particular is a hoot with her rambling thoughts and her flights of fancy. There is no question in my mind that I will be back for more fun this author – it’s just too much fun not to.
If you were entertained by the chattiness of Charlotte, you really can’t go wrong with Tessa Dare’s A Week to be Wicked. This has to be one of my favourite historical romances, and the hero, like Charlotte, never seems to stop talking. The heroine, like Will, is of a more studious nature and is completely thrown for a loop while on a disastrous road trip with her “hero”.
For another adventurous hero, try Suzanne Enoch’s The Care and Taming of a Rogue featuring a returning sea captain and a bookish lady. If you liked the setup between Charlotte and Will, you’re likely to also be intrigued by Enoch’s historical.
For another funny opposites-attract romance, give Susannah Ives’ Wicked, My Love a shot. I found this one hilarious and I loved how very different the hero and heroine were. See my full review to find out why this one should be on your to-read list.