Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Almost a Scandal by Elizabeth Essex

Almost a Scandal (Reckless Brides, #1)
Bold, brazen, and beautiful, the Reckless Brides refuse to play by society’s rules of courtship. But—come hell or high water—they  always get their man…

For generations, the Kents have served proudly with the British Royal Navy. So when her younger brother refuses to report for duty, Sally Kent slips into a uniform and takes his place—at least until he comes to his senses. Boldly climbing aboard the Audacious, Sally is as able-bodied as any sailor there. But one man is making her feel tantalizingly aware of the full-bodied woman beneath her navy blues…

Dedicated to his ship, sworn to his duty—and distractingly gorgeous—Lieutenant David Colyear sees through Sally’s charade, and he’s furious. But he must admit she’s the best midshipman on board—and a woman who tempts him like no other. With his own secrets to hide and his career at stake, Col agrees to keep her on. But can the passion they hide survive the perils of a battle at sea? Soon, their love and devotion will be put to the test…

I thought it would be better than it turned out to be. Almost a Scandal was okay, but not as good as it could have been. A tale of a woman masquerading as a man, falling in love while disguised, it's a familiar plot. But while others were well done, as much as I hate to say it, this one wasn't.

Let me start with what I did like. I loved how strong Sally was. As she masqueraded as her brother and joined the crew of the ship he was supposed to join, she kept with the toughest of the sailors. She proved herself as a fine sailor, better than most of the men on the ship.

The ending was sweet and appropriate. The adventure was never lacking. 

But I still couldn't enjoy this book.

For one thing, there is almost no development of the romance. Sally and Colyear knew each other from when they were young but their relationship as a couple wasn't developed-I didn't get to see their casual friendship turn into love. They met on the ship, Colyear recognized her, the got hot for each other, and they got together the first time they were alone. That's basically it until the very last few pages of the book, when some relationship development is seen. It just felt very unrealistic. The focus was more on the Navy aspect, the battles and politics. That's okay, in fact I usually find such additions to be interesting, but those aspects overtook the entire plot until I became disinterested. I ended up having to skim a few times because I was uninterested in the multitude of politics and war swallowing up the plot. 

I liked Sally, as I said, though I did get frustrated with her on a few occasions. She had the tendency to always assume the worst from Col and never bothered to consider the other possibilities.

Col was okay. He could be sweet sometimes. Most of the time, he treated Sally as he would any trainee sailor in order to keep her disguise secure-one of the reasons why romance was kept on the back burner. I was only okay with him for most of the book, but after the way he acted at the end, I decided I did like him. 

Overall, Almost a Scandal was just okay. There were some redeeming qualities that saved the book, but I found myself disinterested too many times to truly like this book. If you're interested in the politics of war, you might like the focus Almost a Scandal gives that subject. But if you're like me, and like a nice batch of romance with every book, you might be disappointed at the general lacking of romance.

For an okay book: 2/5

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy

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