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Ava Stone fans: Review of A Scandalous Past

Review: A Scandalous Past

by Ki Pha 

Note: Ki Pha is a guest reviewer for Coffee Talk Writers. This review was originally posted on doingsomereading.wordpress.com

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A Regency Historical Novel – Book Four of the Scandalous Series…
After years of abuse at the hands of her mother, Cordelia Avery knows the only way out is marriage to the perfect man. A man who will allow her all the freedom she has ever craved. And she has the perfect man picked out. The scandalous Marquess of Haversham might not be perfect to anyone else, but taking the man’s black reputation under consideration, Cordie believes she’ll enjoy all the freedom she’s always wished for in his disreputable arms. If only she could get her heart to go along with the plan and to stop leaping whenever Lord Adonis…er…the Earl of Clayworth is nearby. But the very proper earl is most assuredly the wrong sort for her purposes.

Brendan Reese, the Earl of Clayworth, has no intention of ever marrying again. He’s still trying to clean up the mess his first wife left him, even years after her death. To all the world, Clayworth is the epitome of the perfect English gentleman, and he so wishes that image was the truth. But the truth, as it often can be, is ugly. After all, a perfect English gentleman would never have a traitor for a mother. And unless Clayworth can find the evidence his late wife hid, he could face the gallows himself. But a chance encounter with the reckless Cordelia Avery gives him the best lead he’s had in years to finally putting his family’s past to rest. Unfortunately, focusing on anything other than Miss Avery seems a nearly impossible task.

REVIEW

A Scandalous Past (Scandalous book #4) By Ava Stone

Audible Narrated by Stevie Zimmerman

Published: 2011   Publisher:  Night Shift Publishing     POV: Third person

Setting: London and Derbyshire, England; 1814

Wow! I was really surprised by this book! I got an audio version and gosh it was fantastic.

This was filled with lots of action, humor plus suspense. I was surprised there were some POVs from the secondary characters. It was great to have a view into their heads/thoughts and a different perspective.

So our heroine, Cordie, is miserable without her best friend Olivia (Livvie). Ever since Livvie created a scandal and got married to the Duke of Keltfield, her mother has banned her from seeing Livvie ever again. So Cordie is banned and practically imprisoned in her home except when being dragged to teas and boring social events. She endures endless reprimands at the hands of her mother. Everything Cordie does is wrong. Not being pretty enough, not catching a gentleman, dancing with the wrong dude, talking with people beneath them… yady yady yada.  She’s always getting backlashed from her mother’s blundering mouth. The worst possible person ever!!! And there is a secret too!!! Argh~ I was so not seeing that coming and hated her even more! She should be punished by the hands of Cordie’s husband! But anyways….

That’s why Cordie decided to find a mate, and fast! After ditching a certain Captain seeking for her hand, she planned to find a husband just like Livvie’s; a rogue, a rake, a man whore! She will finally then get her freedom and do as she pleases and get to see her friend without being dictated and controlled. But when she meets the Earl of Clayworth, everything about him is wrong. He doesn’t know his deceased wife was her elder sister’s best-friend! He is a controlling, scrooge, stuck up, uninteresting but very very handsome; Lord Adonis! She knows he’ll never give her the freedom she craves and from what she’s heard, he’s a cold and heartless man! He will never do. But Marcus, the Marquess of Haversham is a wildrake, full of passion and energy, and will do immensely. She will get her fill of adventure and freedom when she marries him. At least that’s what she thinks.

Our hero Brandon, the Earl of Clayworth, is broken and has demons of his own. Plus he has a sister and nephew to look after and is happily widowed. Except for fruitless search for his mother’s traitorous letters his dead wife spoke of. First, he must find ‘the Lion’ who supposedly holds the letters Second, will “they” return the letters to him once he found them? And now the Little minx, Miss Avery, is catching his attention and not in a good way.

She’s interesting and the first lady to ever diss him, and for that overbearing rake Haversham! But she holds the clues to his lost letters and he’ll use any means to get them back. He just wasn’t expecting to fall so hard for her during his time escorting (and stalking) her. But she makes things very difficult indeed, being wild and all.I love how Brandon is very protective of Cordie even though she hates him. He’s not going to stop shadowing her; she keeps putting her life in danger with scandalous and compromising situations. He’s focused and determined and well, I love it when he’s jealous because of Haversham.

However, Cordie can get on my nerves when it comes  to annoying Brandon with her escapades. But then Cordie is a very bold and determined character. She’s not going to fall prey to her true feelings for Brandon because she knows he’ll never give her leeway if they’re married. Although she feels for Marcus (Haversham) and wants to be with him for “good” reasons, her feelings towards Brandon are even more dangerous every time he’s around her. I found that very fascinating because she really likes Marcus when they first meet. There was an immediate attraction between the two, which gave me pause and confused me at the same, because I didn’t know who was going to be the hero. That and the POVs of Cordie, Brandon, and Marcus got my mind swirling. They worked but I thought it was going to be some ménage or something because both dudes wanted the girl and well, she liked or was confused with both dudes.

I can honestly say that I was hating Marcus as the story hit the halfway point. I really loved him in the beginning and then when he admits his feeling towards Cordie, I was lost. Like the heroin, I didn’t know whom to love more, Marcus or Brandon?! But as the story went o,n I just wanted him to leave and do as he promised: wait till Brandon was through with his two weeks with Cordie.  SPOILER: And then that scene when he brought Cordie to his house and his reaction when she bailed!!! I thought I was going to have to beat him up, especially with his own secret out! Sheeesh~ But my love came back around for him because well, he was a gentleman to the every end, so it’s all good and repaired.

Maybe my anger should be directed at Cordie. Even in her naiveté, she was leading the poor man on a leash. She was pretty good at making herself look, err act…. experienced in the realm of flirting and…… such….. This is what caught Marcus in the first place. If only he knew! But I really did like Cordie and her witty, humorous banters and thoughts. I wouldn’t do as she did but it was practical, I guess. What I found hilarious was when she didn’t know what the “bulge” was when Brandon kissed her. It was the out most hilarious thing ever!

Oh, the lovable secondary characters. If you didn’t read the past 3 books you might not know who they are or how huge of a role they play in the series. But they were a fabulous bunch of guests and really did have a great part in driving this story forward.

There is a suspense element to the story concerning the letters and Brandon’s ex-wife’s secret, but the main focus is on the courting and growing relationship between Brandon and Cordie. Brandon did forget about those two troubles because of his determination to get Cordie but all is well.

So over all, this was a very enjoyable read and listen. And well, Stevie Zimmerman with her accented narration of the book is just fantastic! I wouldn’t mind listening to her read more Regency romances.

This audiobook was won as a gift by the author.

5 Mugs from CT – A sip of divinity, very near perfection.

5 mugs copy

AVA STONE

Ava Stone

The author of several Regency Noir Romances, Ava Stone first fell in love with Mr. Darcy, Jane Austen and Regency England at the age of twelve. And in the years since, that love has never diminished. If she isn’t writing Regency Era romance, she can be found reading it.

Her best-selling Scandalous Series is filled with witty humor and centers around the friends and family of the Machiavellian-like Lady Staveley, exploring deep themes but with a light touch. A single mother, Ava lives outside Raleigh NC, but she travels extensively, always looking for inspiration for new stories and characters in the various locales she visits.

Together with Tammy Falkner, Ava makes up 1/2 of the Lydia Dare Paranormal Regency writing team.

Feel free to contact her at ava@avastoneauthor.com

Picture and author bio taken from Julia Quinn’s Amazon author page: 

http://www.amazon.com/Ava-Stone/e/B005VUIJB6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

If you liked this review, visit Ki Pha at doingsomereading.wordpress.com