Review: Prelude to a Scandal

I read this book in early December, and I’ve been trying to decide since then just how to review it, and whether I even wanted to.Prelude to a Scandal cover The concept behind the story was really interesting and pretty unique as far as I’ve seen, and I wanted to love it.  I really, really did.  I mean, just look at the cover!

But I just couldn’t.

My first problem is pretty trivial, but it cropped up enough to be annoying: I noticed in both Prelude and Once that the author seems to enjoy using the word verdant – and I can’t blame her, because it’s a fabulous word.  My problem is that I can’t tell from the context quite what she intends for it to mean.  I’ll make the obvious assumption that covered with plant life is not a serious possibility (though fun to speculate), so does she mean it as green or fresh or as some strange synonym for luxurious?  There’s no ‘sapphire’ for blue, and so on, and other references to something obviously green are just green.

But now there’ my big problem.  As I mentioned earlier, the premise of the story – the story of a sex addict before it was recognised as a condition and long before there was effective help – was immensely interesting, but to be honest, I don’t feel that it was effectively carried out.

I am not a therapist, but the ‘solutions’ to the hero’s sex addiction problem seemed to my mind to likely be ineffective.  The heroine vacillated between being understanding, unsympathetic and almost disgusted, and the whole ‘love story’ just didn’t convince me.

The side-story with the brother and his mistress felt excessive and unnecessary, and I feel it should have been left out all together.

An interesting concept, but ultimately the book fell flat for me.  I know other reviewers have loved the book and happily recommend it, but I just don’t and can’t.

Trigger Warnings for: Violence, rape, addiction, domestic abuse.

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  1. So wow. Not what I expected from the book cover or the title. Here I was thinking it would be some normal Regency romance with a rake and a virginal heroine. Not a sex addict. You’re right it is an interesting premise–very unique–but I could see how the author would have a hard time selling the hero to readers. You have a warning for violence, rape, and domestic abuse. Could you explain those a little more?

    • You have a warning for violence, rape, and domestic abuse. Could you explain those a little more?

      Sure thing. I can explain that part of the story with spoilers, if you’d like, but otherwise… one of the secondary characters was attacked and raped before the story began, and later (before and during the story) abused by her partner. The secondary character and her history play quite a large part in the book, and are the source of some issues and motivation for the hero.

      None of the domestic abuse happens ‘on-screen’ except at the end of the book, though it is clearly mentioned. There is a rather grim and vivid flashback/description scene with both the rape and other physical violence, and lots of mention of it before the flashback scene takes place; I recall knowing the backstory quite clearly before the flashback, and found it quite gratuitous after all of the previous references.

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