Your Scandalous Ways (2008) by Loretta Chase is a romance that follows an English divorcée and demimonde residing in Venice, Italy. The subplot of the story involves her possessing some important, incriminating letters belonging to her ex-husband, Lord Elphick, a man who is ambitiously climbing the political latter in London.
James Cordier, an agent for his Majesty, is assigned to get the letters back. He decides after meeting Francessa Bonnard, in his many disguises, that the best way to get at her is to play hard to get. After all, Ms. Bonnard’s admirer’s are men of power and repute and include a popular poet, a French count and a prince. The task of having her fall at his feet proves difficult. The two take up playing games with each other because they are fighting down each other’s alleged upper hand read as “mutual attraction.”
There is some suspense here because someone attacks Bonnard at her polazzo. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure who that might be. Most likely, it would be ex-husband, Lord Elphick. He wants his letters back since he is trying to become prime minster. He employs the half-mad, half-crazy Marta Fazi to this mission. Fazi was recently imprisoned after having the emeralds she’d stolen, confiscated and returned to the rightful owners.
The world weary, dust yourself off and try again theme is not a new one nor is the heroine’s profession. I liked the setting of the story a lot more than anything else in this book. I must have erased or misplaced the gene I used to have that allowed me to enjoy romance novels like this because now I get bored easily when the plot seems to be decidedly missing. I started reading this book last summer and never finished it and wondered why I put it down. Taking up where I left off, now I see why I put it down.
I dislike stories that lack substance and this is story is a fine example of that. The book has some good points such as the fact that the setting, the mood and atmosphere are well done. Your Scandalous Ways just never fully engaged me. Dare I say it? The story was boring and flat. I felt that the complexity of the plot was transient, thin and the romance didn’t work for me. So, this is not a book that I would want to be stranded with on a deserted island, for obvious reasons.
Out of fairness, Loretta Chase has a bad track record with me. I’ve yet to enjoy anything she’s written and I’ve tried three titles from her thus far (this one included). Other dislikes I had, the mind games between the characters: those scenes were skim worthy and the chemistry between them was a fail as well. My feeling about her work is the same and that is that I find Chase’s writing dry compared to other romance novelists like Laura Kinsale and Judith Ivory, who I deem better writers of historical romance. JMO.
The wonderful thing about romance is that there is something for everyone. I’m just a picky reader who like certain elements in my romance reading like…well fleshed out characters, smoking hot chemistry, plenty of h/h interactions, good dialogue and a strong plot. Your Scandalous Ways gets a C from me. The book wasn’t all bad but it didn’t rate a DIK status for me. I know this means nothing to anyone else out there so of course, take this reader’s opinion with a grain of salt.
This review is apart of the TBR Challenge that many readers including myself are participating in this year. Please visit this page to see all the other reviews posted today for the TBR Challenge 2009. Thanks.