Marriage Most Scandalous by Johanna Lindsey
Publication Date: May 1st 2006
Genres: Romance, Regency
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With the dazzling blend of romance, humor, and poignant storytelling that has made her one of the world's best-loved authors, Johanna Lindsey presents the passionate Regency-era tale of an earl's daughter who dares to pose as the wife of a deadly mercenary in order to save her former guardian.
Lady Margaret Landor first met Sebastian Townshend as a child, when he caught her peeking into her older sister's engagement ball. Tall, dashing, and charming, Sebastian was one of the most sought-after bachelors in Kent and cut a romantic figure she would not soon forget. Never did she dream that one day she would be living at his family's magnificent estate with Sebastian's father, the eighth Earl of Edgewood, as her guardian - while Sebastian is banished from his family due to the tragic results of a duel.
When life at Edgewood takes a sinister turn with the earl suffering a suspicious number of life-threatening accidents, Margaret wonders if Sebastian's younger brother and his wife have grown impatient to inherit the earldom. Setting out to find the one man she believes can set the situation to rights, she discovers that Sebastian Townshend has forged a new identity for himself on the continent. Now known as The Raven, a deadly mercenary, notorious for accomplishing any mission no matter how seemingly impossible, he has vowed never to return to England.
Not until Margaret meets his outrageous monetary demands does Sebastian agree to return home, reluctantly posing as her husband in order to facilitate his return to society. When he learns she cannot afford to pay his fee, he suggests a scandalous trade. As Margaret and Sebastian work to uncover the intrigue at his father'sestate, a fierce passion blooms that neither of them anticipated and neither can resist. But can Margaret persuade Sebastian to abandon the dark path he believes is his fate and claim the life - and love - he deserves?
Breathtaking in scope and wondrously passionate, 'Marriage Most Scandalous' is Johanna Lindsey at her finest.
Before I start my review of this book, I’ve gotta say this…that cover would be great if “Margaret” wasn’t sitting in a tub full of…COTTON! I know it’s supposed to be bubbles in that tub with her but even with my bad eyes and no glasses I can see that it’s cotton in there with her.
But moving right along…
I was surprised the other day when I was struck with the need to read a historical romance. I was surprised because if you know me, I’m not a historical girl. I used to be but I haven’t wanted to read a historical in quite a long time so I jumped on the chance to read something different (atleast for me) and chose this book to kick off my historical reading.
I can’t say that I was sorely disappointed in the book as a whole because I was thoroughly enjoying the story of Sebastian Townshend and Maraget Landor, well up until the end but I’ll get back to that a little later. I was utterly absorbed in this story right from the very beginning because the story starts off with a bang!
The story starts off with our hero, Sebastian in a duel with his…best friend. Sebastian slept with his best friend’s wife, not knowing that she was Giles (the best friend) wife. You see, Giles got married on the sly without saying anything to anyone and when he returned to England, the wife went out, seduced Sebastian and then went home and blabbed about it to her husband…Sebastian’s best friend. Sebastian didn’t even know that Giles was married, let alone to the woman he got busy with the night before but Giles was still furious, so furious that he didn’t listen to reason and demanded that Sebastian meet him at dawn to get their duel on.
And get their duel on they did.
Sebastian didn’t mean to kill Giles. He meant to shoot in the air but then Giles went and nicked him in the arm, an action which caused Sebastian’s hand to jerk down in the middle of pulling the trigger, thus, catching Giles square in the stomach and ending up with Giles sprawled out on the floor with blood everywhere and deader than a door nail and leaving Sebastian devastated…
..and disowned by his father, Douglas Townshend.
His father disowned him and then said, “Don’t ever darkened the shores of England again.” Or something like that, I can’t quote verbatim since I don’t have the book with me right now. But, the words struck something in Sebastian because he loved England so and he didn’t mean for any of that stuff to happen but he was already guilt stricken so he took off for shores unknown and vowed to never return to England.
Haha, oh the drama. Anyway, so he leaves England and travels all over Europe making a name for himself as a mercenary…they call him The Raven. He’s taken on jobs of doing things that others can’t do themselves, finding stolen items, lost wives, you know, that kind of stuff and he’s got a perfect record so we all know that he gets the job done. He’s not the same Sebastian he was before he left England, he’s something more sinister, menacing and mean. He’s also downright sexy with his dark hair and darker personality.
His vow never to return to England is nipped in the bud when his neighbor from his life in England, Margaret Landor comes a searching for The Raven, hoping to hire him to find Sebastian…she’s pleasantly surprised to find out that The Raven and Sebastian are one and the same, only they’re not because The Raven is something far darker than the Sebastian she remembered from her youth…the reason she went in search of Sebastian in the first place is because she thinks that someone is trying to off his father. She thinks it’s his brother, Denton and his wife, the same whore of a woman who caused the scandal and the disownment of Sebastian, that dirty tramp, Juliette. Yes, Giles wife. She ended up married to Sebastian’s brother, Denton.
I KNOW, I was thinking the same thing, WTF Denton? But yes, he did in fact marry that stupid girl.
So anyway, Sebastian is drawn into going back home and look into the “attempts” on his father’s life…but there’s no way that he’ll be let back into his childhood home because he was disowned and everything so they come up with the scheme of Sebastian coming back as Margaret’s husband. That will get them in the doors, so grudgingly, Sebastian agrees.
And off they go back to Edgewood.
I really enjoyed reading this story, Johanna Lindsey did a great job of creating a world in which I could feel apart of. I wasn’t just merely reading the book and watching a story unfold, I felt very much apart of their world. I could see Margaret and Sebastian so clearly in my mind that I heard their arguments, I laughed and shared in their joys and their despairs and that first part of the book when Sebastian is trying so desperately to make things right and to explain his actions totally ripped me apart because I couldn’t imagine ever doing something as horrible as killing my best friend and then having to live with that knowledge, sigh Man, I felt for the poor guy.
But as much as I enjoyed the story, the ending was really disappointing for me. I mean, I got that Sebastian was this mean mother brother who was gone for 11 years and hated himself and didn’t think that he could offer Margaret anything in the ways of a real marriage but for him to do the right thing by her and marry her and then ride off into the sunset …BY HIMSELF, leaving her at the altar, seriously ticked me the heck off.
And then he’s gone for two weeks without ONE WORD, without a reason for being gone or leaving Margaret at the altar, he’s just…gone. By this time, Margaret is already in love with him and sad beyond reason because of the way she’ll always remember her wedding and then poof He’s back and she turns to mush.
All it took for her to forgive him was for him to say those three little words, “I love you” and she completely forgot about him leaving her at the altar, deserting her in frickin’ Scotland of all places, it wasn’t like she was in England, down the street or anything, she was in FRICKIN’ SCOTLAND, but meh, whatever about all of that, he loves her.
I don’t effing think so.
And the other thing that pissed me off was Giles. Seriously, ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME? 11 YEARS AND NOT ONE WORD?
I can’t even talk about that part of the book, I’m so frickin’ pissed off about it, I thought it was so lame-o!
Denton was dumber than a box of rocks and Juliette, oh gosh don’t even get me started on her retarded behind, I wanted to choke her the heck out.
I really enjoyed Sebastian’s father and his grandmother though, they were fantastic additions to this story and so was little Timothy and John. I loved how loyal they were to Sebastian when nobody else was. I loved the beginning of this book but the ending of this book, I didn’t care for at all.
Which leaves me wondering if I should recommend this book to you guys or not…I’m thinking yeah, check it out and form your opinions of the book but then the ending is just so dumb that I don’t know if reading the whole book again would be worth it.
So…I’m gonna say this, the beginning of the book rocked my socks but the ending took a big crap on my shoes. =) And even though the ending sucked, I still give this book a B+ because I enjoyed the rest of the book that much, the ending gets a big fat D+ but yeah, you know what I mean.