Lord Scandal – Kalen Hughes

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The last thing the Portrait Divorcée needs is to have her name connected to that of the equally infamous Brimstone. But the infuriating rake has made it very clear that he’s bent on nothing less than her complete surrender. Rich widows take lovers. Poor divorcées become mistresses. And those with powerful families tread carefully, lest they incite their family’s wrath, a tragic outcome she’s all too familiar with . . .

Gabriel Angelstone, the handsome scourge of the ton, has taken one of life’s lessons to heart: Love ruins everything. But the irresistible challenge of seducing Imogen Mowbray, a woman whose past is every bit as scandalous as his own, quickly has him rethinking that conclusion. Perhaps the only women worth loving are the fallen ones . . .

A “scandal”, as always blown out of proportion by the Ton, leads Imogen Mowbray to a life in poverty when her husband divorces her and her family wash their hands from her. Meeting Georgianna (George), Lady Somercote, changes her life in many ways she never could have imagined.
Gabriel Angelstone (love that name!!) has scandal written all over him. He is the great-grandson of a Duke and grandson of a Turkish Pasha. Combined with his exotic charisma and his loose behavior with women this makes him a welcome subject of the Ton’s gossip and now he finds himself adding fuel to the fire by pursuing the epitome of scandal: Imogen.

Gabriel and Imogen are drawn to each other but they are both reluctant to acknowledge their feelings. Their attraction is instant and their love grows slowly but deeply. However they are not willing to give in to it, Imogen because she fears scandal will be tied to her name again now that she’s trying to get her life back together and avoid any more scandal. Gabriel is reluctant because he’s content with his flirtations and affairs and he’s not the marrying kind.

Although I enjoyed both the main characters I do have the feeling they could have been fleshed out a bit more in terms of background and depth. I would have liked to see them more rounded. Both Gabriel past and Imogen’s so-called scandal relied a bit too much on the reader’s imagination to fill in the blanks.
But overall I liked their characters and their story. I loved it when Gabriel stood up for Imogen and confronted first her brother and then her ex-husband. A true knight in shining armor.

Again there’s a multitude of secondary characters: family, friends, society-members and children. They definitely give the book more body and provide reference for the main characters but it’s hard to keep track of them all throughout the book and it’s a bit confusing trying to get the connections between them and the main characters. But this is really minor point since despite their great numbers they don’t take the focus away from Gabriel and Imogen.
Imogen’s family (her parents and brother) are just horrible, they are cold-hearted, society-ruled snobs.

One prominently present secondary character is George (the heroine from book 1, LORD SIN). She not only plays a crucial part in both Imogen and Gabriel’s lives but also in their decisions towards each other. I did not expect her to have such a big supporting role after her own book and it was a nice and pleasant surprise. She was as wonderful a secondary character in this book as she was a heroine in her own. It was a bonus to see how her life continued after having her HEA (happily ever after).

With LORD SCANDAL, from the first scene I was thrown back into the sentiment I had when I closed LORD SIN: a sentiment of satisfaction, enjoyment and recognition. Though the overall story didn’t have the impact on me that the first book had, I still indulged in a beautiful historical love story. Rich in detail and description, pure and simple in characters and plot.
There were some very little errors (if I can call them that) but the only one worth mentioning is that Imogen’s brother is called Richard at one moment (p. 146) and later in the book his name is Robert (p.236).

The love scenes are original and refreshing in a simple way. In this case the phrase “less is more” certainly applies. There’s a lot of variation in them and they absolutely fit Kalen Hughes’ writing style that is equally refreshing and unique.
She has a keen eye for historical detail and the habits and ways of the time-period her stories take place in. This is something you notice in her books immediately and is the reason I hope there will be more wonderful installments in this Rakes of London series. It’s certainly not a question of finding heroes because in George’s environment there are enough intriguing bachelors left who need the firm hand of a lady to keep them straight. I have my suspicions as to who will be the main characters in the next book, but I’ll have to wait till it comes out to see if my guess is right.

Kalen Hughes’ LORD SCANDAL provided me with a rich and great written novel of acceptation, redemption, soul mates and subtle matchmaking that kept me entertained and enthralled to the very last satisfying page.

After years on the town he could tell when a woman was ripe to fall en when she wasn’t. Miss Mowbray had already fallen. She was just lying there, waiting for someone to pick her up.

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