by Karen Robards

February 2001
ISBN: 0-7434-1059-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Pocket Books
Mass Market Paperback

After Gabriella Banning’s father, the Earl of Wickham, passed away Gabrielle couldn’t help but feel relief that she and her two sisters were finally out from under the thumb of such a cruel, miserly man. Her father did not provide for his daughters in his will so all of Gabby’s hopes rested upon her half-brother, Marcus, who would be the new Earl. So after sending for Marcus in Ceylon, she eagerly awaited word from him. Unfortunately, when word came – it wasn’t good news. Marcus was dead and with him all of Gabby’s hopes were likewise spent.

Gabby, being twenty-five years old, was beyond the marriageable age, but she had aspirations that if her beautiful sister Claire could have a season, something her tightfisted father had never sprung for, she could be married well enough to provide for them all. But without Marcus, it didn’t seem possible that could ever happen now. Thankfully, Gabby had a plan – since no one in London knew of Marcus’s demise, she and her sisters could go on as planned until Claire had caught herself a rich husband. Unfortunately, Gabby was in for a nasty surprise once she reached London where she was informed that “Marcus” was in residence at their townhouse!

Gabby was in a terrible quandary. She knew that the man claiming to be Marcus was an imposter, but to reveal his secret would also expose hers! Even worse, Gabby found herself becoming unwillingly attracted to “Marcus” and he to her – a situation in the eyes of London that was quite Scandalous, given that they were supposed to be siblings!

Scandalous was a lighthearted fun read! I thoroughly enjoyed the premise behind the plot with Gabby stuck in a situation of her own making and “Marcus” definitely took advantage of her position. Gabby wasn’t the usual perfect heroine, but had flaws and a definite bossy side! Her devotion to her sisters was admirable and those sisters, along with the other supporting characters, supplied the story with a well-rounded cast that was interesting and realistic.

“Marcus” was a bit harder to get to know, his character was more in the shadows than Gabby’s since the plot decreed that we weren’t quite sure why he was pretending to be Gabby’s brother. That brings me to the only complaint I have regarding Scandalous. It was that “Marcus” didn’t trust Gabby with the true reason behind his charade and instead let her believe the worse of his motives until the very end. If I were Gabby, I would have had a hard time forgiving him for his deception, seeing how she almost made a huge mistake that could have ruined the rest of her life. Of course, this did add drama to the story even though the happy ending was never doubted.

Otherwise, Scandalous was full of humor, passion and is sure to please any fan of historical romance.

Reviewed in March 2003 by Nicole.

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