"Lady of Scandal"
by Tina Gabrielle
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Athena Smith, the costume curator for a Chicago museum, is elated to finally see the legendary vintage gowns worn by a city icon, Bertha Palmer. But the gowns are owned by the Clayworth family, who are not on good terms with Athena's family. The Clayworths just fired Athena's father from their company for unknown, but scandalous, reasons. So Athena has little hope of gaining the gowns for an exhibition at the museum. While looking at the gowns, she inhales a toxin which acts as a truth serum. Wh...more Blake Mallorey holds a lifelong grudge against Charles Ashton. It's his fault that Blake's family was sent to the poor house, ultimately where his parents and sister met their untimely end. Blake believes humiliating him by forcing Charles' daughter to become his mistress is the start of his plan for revenge. Victoria Ashton knows there's no other way out of debt than to go with Blake and be his mistress. Otherwise, she and her family will be sent to the poor house where she knows her mother and brother won't survive. Unknown to anyone, she does have a secret stash of money from stock investments, but even that won't be enough to buy them out of the debt owed to Blake.
I recommend this book to romance readers who like "a dominating hero." Everything in the tone and language of this book reinforces the fact that the man is the one in power here. The author describes even inanimate objects as "dominating" the room, etc. This seemed really old fashioned to me. I like a strong historical hero who has modern notions of equality between the sexes, so this dominant male thing wasn't my cup of tea. The writing was good and the heroine didn't really seem weak, I suppose she just liked the idea of an overpowering man in her life.
These two both do some pretty bad things to each other. Blake generally treats Victoria like a possession and of course he's immediately sorry afterward. Then Victoria spies on Blake for her father, which leads to all kinds of problems for him financially. But he instantly forgives her because he thinks of her betrayals as clever.
My favorite character was Victoria's brother, Spencer. I just love a cute, hapless sidekick. Spencer was always in trouble, mostly from gambling, but I couldn't help but love him just like Victoria did. She always helped him out of his debts and he was her only confidante about the stock trading.
Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5
Uniqueness: 3/5 (I liked the stock trading plot line)
Bottom Line: This book was well paced and I loved Spencer, but the two leads weren't nice enough to each other for my tastes.