by Christina Dodd

March 2003
ISBN: 0-06-009265-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Madeline de Lacy, duchess of Magnus, has spent the last four years trying to forget her feelings for her ex-fiancé, Gabriel Ansell, the earl of Campion. Madeline, the daughter of a careless gambler who has suffered because of her father's reckless ways, had good reason to hate games of chance. So when Gabriel won a fortune in such a way she called off their wedding in a very public and scandalous manner. But now Madeline’s father’s habit has once again landed her in a predicament and she must impersonate her cousin and companion, Eleanor, in order to gain entrance to a high-stakes gambling party to stop her father from losing any more of their fortune. Unfortunately, her mission brings more than Madeline bargained for and Gabriel once again back into her life!

Madeline is eager to believe that Gabriel has spent the last four years behaving in a dissolute manner, involving careless gaming and who knows what else! But Madeline doesn’t know that Gabriel is at the party on a mission involving vengeance for the death of his brother and in hopes of possibly saving the lives of many of the families attending. The two are soon involved in more than a game to win riches, but are gambling for their very lives! When danger surrounds them in this remote and heavily guarded fortress and help seems impossible, will Madeline be able to trust Gabriel this time with her heart and her future?

While Scandalous Again has a fast-paced plot, lots of action and adventure and a wonderful hero, it took me over two weeks to finish (three times as long as I normally take to read a novel) and I just couldn’t seem to get involved in the story. I lay that problem mainly on the heroine - Madeline was a character I had a hard time liking. She is controlling, distrustful and entirely too stubborn for her own good. While I understand the difficulty she had in trusting Gabriel because of her father’s gambling habit, I thought her reaction to his one night of gaming during their betrothal a bit extreme. Additionally, throughout most of the story Madeline seemed determined to view Gabriel in the worst possible light and used her father’s irresponsibility to lump all men into one category - a narrowminded and prejudiced characteristic, which she thankfully did try to amend by the conclusion.

The saving grace for Scandalous Again was the nail-biting, suspenseful ending that kept this reader on the edge of her seat until the last climatic page. The tension was masterfully written and drawn out, and successfully combined danger and the question of whether or not love would prevail. Also, the love scenes were wonderfully hot enough to make me forget about Madeline’s character flaws - and I guess being “controlling” in the bedroom isn’t a fault! *wink*

Since I found Eleanor’s character to be intriguing and a bit more to my liking than Madeline, I kept waiting for Ms. Dodd to bring Eleanor back into the story after the first couple chapters. However, barely any mention of her was made until the very end, but then I was pleased to note that it appears as if Eleanor is to have her own story, which I will be sure to pick up!

Reviewed in April 2003 by Nicole.

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