cover image Love and Other Scandals

Love and Other Scandals

Caroline Linden. Avon, $5.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-224487-1

Joan Bennet is a respectable young lady worried that she’ll never find a husband. She’s also addicted to a not-so-respectable publication called 50 Ways To Sin. When her brother’s cheerfully disreputable friend Tristan Burke becomes his houseguest, Tristan and Joan strike up a flirtation that neither of them expects to go anywhere. Of course, that’s before her parents have to leave town and her scandalous Aunt Evangeline comes to “chaperone.” Linden somehow makes the Regency romance feel new again with this warm, likeable novel. With less chaperoning, Joan and Tristan become closer, letting attraction take its course. The obstacles to their love are simple but real: curvy Joan doesn’t know how to love her body or dress to flatter it, and Tristan’s unhappy family life gives him good reasons to fear marriage. Yet the simplicity of Linden’s plot is its strength, making the romance feel real and natural and allowing her great skill at characterization to take the weight of the story. Joan and Tristan genuinely enjoy each other, and their chemistry is sparkling. A quiet gem. (Aug.)