Prelude to a Scandal is the first book in Delilah Marvelle's Scandal series. It is a mixed bag of a historical romance but it does have its strong points.
Lady Justine Palmer may be the daughter of an Earl but she is definitely not the belle of English society. In fact, she really does not have much chance of surviving in society because she was raised far from the ballrooms of London. Instead, she grew up in the wilds of Africa, as her father studied nature and animals. Now, her father has been imprisoned due to his scientific studies, the most recent which promotes homosexuality as natural in nature, therefore it is natural for humans too. If it wasn't for his title, he may already be dead. Justine has a plan to rescue her father though and it all centers around her father's benefactor, the Duke of Bradford. She offers herself to him in several nights of passion in the hopes that he will secure her father's release. But Radcliff, the duke, has a better idea. He offers Justine marriage.
Marriage to the Duke of Bradford means respectability and honor. It means the Ton will finally have to take her seriously. And, it means Justine finally gets the chance to show Radcliff just how strong her ardor for him is. But as she discovers, they have a lot to learn about marriage to each other and it is not nearly as easy as Justine imagined. The lust and attraction is there, but can it turn to mutual respect and love?
Prelude to a Scandal is full of spontaneous passion and explosive desire, but it is also filled with personal fireworks and a heroine who is a bit too immature for my liking. Justine, much as she adored Radcliff, did not give him much room for mistake. He was learning to be married, just like she was, and I really wished she wasn't quite so mean about his efforts at times. Not that he was perfect, of course. Radcliff definitely held parts of his heart back from Justine but he did it with more honorable intentions.
Fortunately, Delilah Marvelle still made me believe in this couple, in the hope that they brought to each other. Their marriage may have started off with a scandalous proposal but I think they found a measure of respect and trust in each other by story's end.
Prelude to a Scandal is sexy fun, but perhaps not for historical purists. Nonetheless, Justine and Radcliff find true companionship with each other.