Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Julie Anne Long - It Started With a Scandal

Lord Philippe Lavay once took to the high seas armed with charm as lethal as his sword and a stone-cold conviction: he'll restore his family's fortune and honor, no matter the cost. Victory is at last within reach--when a brutal attack snatches it from his grasp and lands him in Pennyroyal Green.
An afternoon of bliss brings a cascade of consequences for Elise Fountain. Shunned by her family and ousted from a job she loves, survival means a plummet down the social ladder to a position no woman has yet been able to keep: housekeeper to a frighteningly formidable prince.
The bold and gentle Elise sees past his battered body into Philippe's barricaded heart...and her innate sensuality ignites his blood. Now a man who thought he could never love and a woman who thought she would never again trust must fight an incendiary passion that could be the ruin of them both.

Comment: Here's one of the remaining installments in the amazing Pennyroyal Green series by Julie Anne Long. This has been one of the historical series I've enjoyed the most in the recent times, even despite the stories I've liked the least. After this book, there's only one left and I'm curious about it, as I'm sure many readers have been. As for this one, I've heard good things about it, so...
This is the 10th installment of the series and presents us Elise Fountain, a former teacher at Miss Endicott's School  - an establishment familiar to the reader - and how she's applying to be the housekeeper in the house Lord Philippe Lavay is occupying now. Elise knows she has to keep things under control because she needs to take care of her son, because no one else will help her.
Lord Philippe is a man recovering from an ambush, dealing with problems about his lost estate in France, the need to marry a heiress and the worry about his sister and grandfather. Living in Pennyroyal Green, where his friend Earl of Ardmay now resides, Philippe wants to get back on his feet but time is not on his side. The new housekeeper, however, seems to understand his needs and how much he misses home...
I liked this book. After the ones I preferred, this is one of the best. I think the relationship between Phillipe and Elise is perfect and the final scenes before the epilogue are wonderfully romantic.
I keep thinking this author knows what she's thinking when she writes because her words make sense, her characters feel like real people with credible thoughts and ideas. It would be great if everyone behaved like the heroes and heroines of her books when it comes to be in love with someone, but every love story in books must have an almost fantasy-like environment to it...
The story is easy to read, engrossing and I kept turning the pages because I really liked what I was reading about. Elise has had a challenging life, especially after she makes a mistake. The fact she loves her son isn't enough though, to feed and clothe him, so when she is let go of her position as a teacher, only a favor gets her the opportunity to apply for a job at Philippe's house. I thought she would feel more angry about everything but deep down, Elise is very practical and I liked that about her. She still dreams, but she faces life now with a sense of practicality I envy, she seems centered in her goals and the need to be there for her son. It was fun to see her interact with Philippe at first and how they started to fall in love...
Philippe isn't a blood relative to anyone we've met before, he's only friends with some characters but I was as interested in him as I was in others. In fact, more so than with a couple of past heroes. I felt his sense of loss, his regret he couldn't change his status and the lack of possibilities to get his estates back or the inheritance he used to have. I'm glad he could find friends and love because that eased up his worries. I think the emotional and personal issues he had - and Elise too - were well presented, developed and included in the story line.
The romance was sweet because it didn't start as an insta-love, so they had to create a sort of rapport before acknowledging their feelings. I liked the path they took towards love. I also liked how they addressed their problems and fears and how much that revealed their character. It felt believable they were falling in love and they were special people to one another. The HEA was amazing and I even liked how Philippe took the notion of Elise being a mother and well he got along with her son.
I always feel amazed by how warm it makes me feel when the heroes defend the heroines in the right times against bad/jealous/sad people who try to attack them or bring them down. It was wonderful to see Philippe do that and sticking up to Elise and how much she meant to him. It does make me want to sigh happily.
All in all, a great romance. Not perfect because I'd change some details in their courtship. Not that they were bad, but done differently it might make the book feel even more emotional and perfect for my tastes. But I consider this book positive and good.
Grade: 8/10

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