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In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

1 John 4:9

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Romance P.S. is an entertainment blog about two of my very favorite things — movies and books.

The title actually stands for Romance with the page and screen so it's not just about romance alone but all kinds of movies and books. Though I will confess that my favorites always seem to be romances in some way ;)

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August 14, 2014

Book Review: A Scandal to Remember by Elizabeth Essex

Book 5 in the Restless Brides Series

BLURB: For too long, Miss Jane Burke’s father has taken advantage of her painstaking research. Heading to the South Seas to make her own name as a scientist despite the crew’s insistence that a woman aboard is bad luck, she isn't prepared to be championed by a handsome ship’s officer who rouses longings inside her as wild as any storm…

For Lieutenant Charles Dance, a post on His Majesty’s survey ship Tenacious is just one more dutiful rung on the ladder of his career. Even a headstrong bluestocking on board is less troubling than the ship’s drunken captain—and the ferocious gales that drive the ship off course. Stranded on a remote island, passion blazes between them as hot as the sun, but it’s Jane’s love Charles wants forever…

REVIEW: I had to try this one when I read that it had the main couple shipwrecked together on a desert island. I am a sucker for stories with those premises always have been.

This is the first book I have read by Ms. Essex. And although it is a part of series, the fifth book in fact, in her restless bride series I had no problem reading this one as a stand alone book at all.

Lieutenant Charles Dance has received the assignment from Hades it seems when he is assigned to his His Majesty’s ship Tenacious with the mission of transporting a group of naturalists from the Royal Society to the South Seas for an expedition. But to his horror he finds himself aboard a ship that is both literally and figuratively falling apart. The ship has been left in a state of horrible disrepair, the crew a disorderly mess, and the Captain seems to only have interest in finding the bottom of a gin bottle not in commanding his ship. It seems that it will be up to Dance to command the ship and get it shipshape enough to even make the voyage they have been ordered upon. But that isn’t the extent of his problems everything seems to keep going from bad to even worse for poor Dance as the man in charge of the ships funds skips out in the middle of the night leaving him and the rest of the dwindling crew (some of which also desert in the night) with no money to even purchase the timber to repair the ship or to buy the much needed provisions for the voyage. But Dance is a man who believes in duty above all and takes charge of the crew, and even goes so far as to pay for the supplies out of his own pocket. He will not be derelict in his duty to royal navy even if his Captain is!

But even more surprises are in store for Dance when the naturalists for the expedition arrive and one of them is a very prim and proper 26 year old woman! Everyone is shocked at this revelation that the esteemed conchologist J.E. Burke is actually Jane Elisabeth Burke. And from the moment that she sets her tiny little foot on deck she turns Dance’s world even more upside down than it already was! Sailors are notoriously superstitious and the crew immediately balks at the mere mention of a woman being allowed on the voyage, it’s bad luck in the extreme! The others in the group of naturalists all accept one are also astounded by the true identity of J.E. Burke and insist there must be some misunderstanding because it would be nothing short of scandalous for one woman to be allowed on a 2 year expedition among a group of men! But Jane Burke is more than a match for them all. She maybe a woman but she has a spine of steel and is prepared to fight tooth and nail for her position on the expedition. They finally relent of course and have to bow to the fact that she was granted permission for the study, as well as her being the great granddaughter of a duke, and in the end they have no choice but to let her come along.

Jane and Dance are drawn to each other immediately and the chemistry between them grows steadily over the course of a very difficult voyage for them all. Then when the ship is caught in a tremendous storm and sinks Dance and Jane find themselves in fight for survival together. They eventually wash ashore on a desert island which is nothing short of paradise. Are these two very different souls meant for each other? Will they be able to survive the raging seas, nature, and several devious and cutthroat villains that have it out for them or is their fledgling loved doomed from the start?

I enjoyed this novel. It was very obvious that the author has done here homework and knows quite a lot about sailing and the time period that she has this one set in. And I know they were sailors and there is a reason there is a saying “cursing like a sailor” but I thought there was way to much cursing throughout the book. It would have been just as easy to say that they swore or let out a string of oaths instead of having to spell them all out so often. That got on my nerves more than I little as I don’t like strong language personally and try not to use it. So that detracted from the story to me quite a bit at times and I would have rated this one higher if there hadn't been so much cursing and foul language. That wasn't needed to make the story realistic.

I did like the romance between Jane and Dance. I loved the way that his harsh exterior softened around Jane and how they complimented each other’s characters so well. And though they were stranded on a desert island together that was actually a very short stretch in the book, a larger part of the story was actually spent on the actual voyage up to the time that the ship was caught in the massive storm that lead to the shipwreck rather than the time they spent together on the island. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if more of the story had taken place between them together alone on the island itself.

But all in all this was a good little historical romance. And anyone that loves stories involving naval officers and the sea this one would be right up their alley.

A solid 3.5 hearts read.

 * I got this one as a pre-release copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *


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