Jessica Trent is a determined young woman, and she's going to drag her imbecile brother off the road to ruin, no matter what it takes. If saving him--and with him, her family and future--means taking on the devil himself, she won't back down. The trouble is, the devil in question is so shockingly irresistible, and the person who needs the most saving is--herself.
Comment: This is the third installment in the Scoundrels series by author Loretta Chase. It's also one of the books more often placed in the top lists of best romances, of best historicals and best books by many romance readers. The fame of this book is certainly known to many people who enjoy being in "romanceland" which means, even aware that everyone has different takes on everything, I was very eager to be impressed by this book.
I'm absolutely marveled that I was!
In this book we meet Sebastian Ballister, marquess of Dain, a man who has had a challenging childhood and lack of affection from his father although he was eager to be cherished. He grew up learning he couldn't count on anyone so he became a very famous man for his wit and cold demeanor.
One day he meets Jessica Trent, the sister of one of the silly men who sometimes flock around him for his money and status.
She is unlike any other lady he met before. She is intelligent, fierce, witty and someone who can be at his level. Their interactions start as a means to get the upper hand on the other but, as time passes by, they both realize they found the right person and not even the obstacles in their way stops them from protecting and challenging each other until only happiness matters.
I'm very glad I loved this book. I can see it's really true how many people have labeled it as the best romance because I loved every moment of it.
I think the author reacher her full potential here and the writing, the pace, the whole plot worked out in such a perfect manner that it feels as if a puzzle whose pieces fit effortlessly.
The story isn't complicated in terms of plot. We have a man who has been told he wasn't good enough, he wasn't good looking, he wouldn't be loved and a woman who doesn't pity him and challenges him in all areas. The reason Jessica has to be so daring isn't just a matter of personality, she wants to protect her brother, so easily influenced by others, from becoming someone without a path in life.
The way she and Dain clash is both realistic and fun to watch, if one considers the fact she doesn't want her brother to be caught in the middle.
This gives all clues she is extremely clever and I really liked how likable and smart and caring she was because underneath all that daring persona, she did feel sorry for Dain over some things and she acted as best as she could to let him realize he was worthy of affection after all.
I think the author did a good job letting the reader be aware of all the little details that convince us they are a good pair and are caring for each other and falling in love.
Throughout the novel, some things come to light about - mostly - Dain's past. I really appreciated the fact nothing was taken into silly misunderstanding levels, nothing was done in a way to create a gap between them, to sever or damage the beginning of their relationship.
I think it was considerate how all the other elements, including the secondary characters, so perfectly fit what was happening and how everything helped to create the perfect atmosphere for Dain and Jessica to bond and to develop their quirky personalities around each other.
It does feel as if the author thought about every single word and how she could maximize what was happening in a flawless way.
Jessica and Dain talk, they slowly uncover parts of themselves to the other and I also liked the inner monologues they had and what they thought about the other one. I think the author did a great job in creating the right equal field in which they faced each other, she did great in letting us see how much chemistry they had and how perfect they were for one another, perceived flaws included.
I especially loved the fact Dain is a wonderful man under all his apparent negativity.
I think there was one or two situations I'd remove or change, there was one thing I could have done without but honestly, nothing in this book stopped me from enjoying the story, from enjoying these two falling in love and comparing to the other two books I had read, this one felt a lot more confident, precise, the pace worked out better, the characters much more appealing. I can't explain but it does feel the stars aligned when this boo was written.
I'll certainly re-read my favorite scenes often.