I am including this review for one reason only. Look at him:
I know it’s discomfiting, but do it for me. Note the manly open shirt, the manly sheen on his chest, the manly Coty cologne advertisement feathered hair and sideburns. The insolence. The seduction. The riding crop. The smolder. It’s not the book I’m reviewing, but Lord of Scoundrels is by the same author, and its cover is boring and staid. How could it not be in comparison to this wheel of Gouda? Not that Lord Perfect isn’t completely acceptable, it’s just that Lord of Scoundrels is a classic. It has a much deserved Amazon rating of 4 1/2 stars after 284 reviews. If I am embracing the historial romance genre, this book needs to be included as one of the ultimate romance novels: larger than life characters, operatic kisses in the rain, a battle of wills and, most of all, fun. It is thisclosetocamp, probablycloser, and the result is a delicious wet kiss of a book.
Our hero, full name Sebastian Ballister, Marquess of Dain, is 6’6″, black hair, black eyes, big nose, all man. Wealthy, arrogant, and clever, he meets his match in Jessica Trent, a pert, patient (she’ll need it), self-possessed spinster who has come to Paris to retrieve her gormless brother from the demi-monde Dain inhabits. He takes one look at Jessica and wants to lick her from head to toe. She takes one look at Dain and wants to rip all his clothes off. LET THE GAMES BEGIN! It’s beauty and the beast meets reformed rakes make the best husbands meets tortured hero, with a side of moustache twirling by minor characters trying to ruin everyone’s day. From Paris, the book moves to Dain’s ancestral home with machinations about a Russian icon and an illegitimate child, and an intense romance long on passion and blessedly short on maudlin.
Loretta Chase is, above all, an engaging and confident romance writer. She sets the scene deftly and excels at creating entertaining characters. If you like a touch of intrigue with your romance, she’s your gal. There will be chases, treasures and grand adventures. If you’re like me, you will revel in it despite the B story that does go on a bit. I find myself glossing over those parts hoping I don’t miss any major plot points. Truth be told, I can never tell if the subplot issue is with me (Why aren’t they kissing or bantering? When will they get back to the kissing and bantering? I DEMAND KISSING AND BANTERING!) or with the stories themselves, and I really don’t care.