So here's a big thank you to the lovely ladies over at Romance Reviews Today for sending me this book for review! Here's the link to my review on their site: A Scoundrel's Surrender by Jenna Petersen
Alright, so this is generally something that doesn’t matter to me, but still annoyed me greatly with this book – the cover. THE COVER DOES NOT SAY HISTORICAL ROMANCE – at all. In fact, it broadcasts contemporary, what with the highlights in the girl’s hair, its modern-esque layered cut, and her heavy eye-makeup which I am certain did not exist in the 1800s. Let’s face it, even the way they’re postured screams contemporary! So boo and hiss, Avon, for your idiotic cover. You normally do so well. However, let us not hold the cover against the author and her writing when there are so many good parts of this book. I mean, really, this book could’ve been covered in saran wrap and it wouldn’t have affected my reading experience.
So what was bad? The book was underwhelming, and a little disjointed – a series of photographs rather than a panorama view. The setting was poorly done, so I found myself floating around in the space of Petersen’s London without an anchor. I found myself watching dances at balls when there wasn’t clear context or reading about tea at random. To be honest, however, the floating effect was only a lingering annoyance – like a flying buzzing around while you watch TV. It definitely wasn’t overwhelmingly distracting, and I found, for the most part, I enjoyed the book and its scenes even though I had issues following the protagonist’s London life. The passage of time was also a problem in that it wasn’t marked clearly, but again it wasn’t overwhelming. However these were simply minor annoyances.
For most of the story, I found myself struggling with the humanity of our protagonists. I truly didn’t like Caleb at the beginning of the story – he was rude, selfish, and wallowing in self-pity. I didn’t particularly like Marah either, though I empathized with her and felt her pain, so I was less annoyed with her. I was worried about how much I could possibly enjoy the book – after all, if I don’t like either of the main characters can I really like the book? Yes, it turns out. Yes I can. What made this book so incredible is that Marah and Caleb made each other better. I liked them better together than apart. Marah helped Caleb become less selfish – more thoughtful and compassionate – and Caleb helped Marah stop hiding from herself, her family, and the world in general. Together, I grew to like them for their combined strength and it was a unique, touching approach to romance. I also found, as I reflected on the book, that I appreciated the human faults that Caleb and Marah have because while they made the romance less whimsical and more realistic.
The best part of this book, the part that really made it for me, was the happy ever after. Caleb’s considerate behavior showed he was finally focusing his energy on someone else and their needs, wants, and desires. He’d finally let go of his hurtful selfishness and I could really see his inner beauty. I was sold, during the happy ever after, and finished the book very confident that Caleb and Marah had many, many gloriously wonderful years ahead of them. I was also confident in the strength of their relationship – one thing that Petersen shows really well. Other positives worth mentioning are the well-written emotions, fun secondary characters, and really hot sex scenes. Overall, there was a lot of good in this book – but while it was good it wasn’t fabulous, and its underwhelming nature makes it a bit unmemorable. An ‘eh’ read.
Justin was on his feet in a moment and Caleb couldn’t help but stare. His normally dark and dangerous brother had just lit up like a candle glowed within him.
“Victoria,” Justin breathed…
“Sexy”ness rating: Really, exceptionally hot
Overall Rating: B-
Bottom Line: The book was enjoyable, but not great. Unmemorable with exceedingly annoying characters that somehow became less annoying together making for a wonderful HEA.
Published: July 26, 2011