Reviewed by Mary Lu McFall
Foley’s regular readers of this series about the men of The Inferno Club must surely be surprised by this recent addition. However, My Scandalous Viscount was my first book by this author, and I tried to keep an open mind. It was a struggle to keep reading.
The hero and the heroine are, in the beginning of the novel, supposedly at odds since he is a rakehell (what else) and she is a nosy innocent. She goes about her usual business of gathering “information” then goes ahead to warn him of a trap which she has misinterpreted. She is shot by a member of the group Beauchamp belongs to and he, oddly enough, panics and takes her for treatment of the wound to the Dante Club, a cover for the Inferno Club—assassins and spies all. Carissa recovers enough to snoop and finds herself trapped after going too far behind a secret panel. Carissa is not only trapped, she is ruined, Beau is trapped, and they are left with no choice but to marry. Neither keeps up the front of being reluctant for long, and soon decide they love each other.
Carissa is no innocent, having lost her virginity already. The chickens come home to roost soon enough on the wedding night, but Beau decides to allow her to be honest and tell him how it happened. Balderdash; wishy-washy Beau waits in vain. The plot thickens, or so it seems, when he banishes her to the country when she disobeys him and goes out against his orders. She ends up in the country safely with the wives of the other “warriors” who are on a mission.
The true villain is obvious from the beginning and is plotting against Beau and the entire group. Carissa decides she still wants to help even knowing she is putting all of them in danger. She waltzes away from the manor with little detail of her escape and right into more danger with a creepy artist owner of a wax museum. Carissa compounds her lack of rational or sensitive thinking and plows ahead with determination but little skill or good sense.
She stands and watches Beau and the returning spies walk into a trap with the real villain having convinced Prinny that the club is a threat to the government. The plot is too contrived and obvious to be suspenseful even though it is only until the last part of the book when it all becomes evident. The scene where Beau stands and upbraids his monarch is nearly ludicrously impossible and even Prinny behaves with an unusually moderate response to being upbraided by the irate rakehell. Humph.
The dialogue doesn’t ring true between the two lovers. The author uses far too many modern words (one spy begrudging not getting “laid”), and even uses the term celebrities for the spies who become heroes when they save the silly Monarch’s life. Crude and/or inappropriate language is not effective for this period in English history; even the overuse of the word “warriors” for the assassin/spies calls forth a much earlier historical period. If you prefer more depth, more accurate historical detail and some description beyond a few sentences, this romance is better left on the shelf. If you want a slight, light puffy story with a hero of little backbone and a heroine with no trace of good sense, then this book is for you. It is admirable, however, that the words “swollen lips” to imply near seduction are not used even once.
Mary Lu is the author of Passports to Change Revisited 2012, now on Kindle. She lives in Newnan, Georgia and does research and customer service at an independent bookstore in Peachtree City. She is the author of another two novels which will soon be available on Kindle.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Avon. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.