Oh my goodness this review is so late it's not even funny. I started this post a looooonnngggg time ago, like when the book first came out. It wasn't until I was doing my review for Jeannie Lin did I suddenly thought to myself "hey, this book (My Fair Concubine) kind of reminds me Meredith Duran's book" and I went a-searching... so yeah, this was still a drafts in a word file for so...very...long...ago... As you can tell, I much loved it when I read it. Sad thing is, I can't seem to find my copy recently so I can't provide an updated review and what's worse, I can't even buy a copy anymore. They're all gone. Sad...
Surprisingly, I seemed much more optimistic years ago...
Anyways, so *coughaftertwoyearscough* Here is it!
A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran
I love you, Meredith Duran. Please do what you will with me, I hold no resistance. Ever since the day at RWA years ago when we first met due to the mutual friendship of Ms. Katiebabs…and when you bravely “acquire” a nice chocolate dessert for me? I knew you were special. Sadly enough, Duke of Shadows was too intense for me, as were a few subsequent books. I rarely have time to sit down for emotionally intense books these days and have not really revisited. Even so, I silently waited in the lurky shadowy world of bookish nerds for the day when the perfect book shall fall into my lap. And here it was… A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal. I had half a mind to just lay back along the pillows and let you have your way with me, twisting the world this way and that while I trembled with delight reading this mind-blowing awesome book. Ok, so this book turned me rather pervy. I can’t help it, this book was that great.
Nell was wonderful. I loved her in the beginning. At the end, she made me want to cry, smack her and cry some more. She was such a strong character with an equally brilliant personality. So independent minded, yet honest. Nell did not shy away from the grittier part of her life. She was so realistic, yet optimistic. Her internal conflicts before and after – her will for survival. This was not a Pygmalion story. This was more than any fairytale. Nell encompassed the story of something so unique I have no name for.
Simon was wonderful. I was annoyed at Simon in the beginning. How dare he try to use Nell! But then…then…oh my gosh, you saw how he started falling for Nell. How good of a person he was (and even had Nell noticed it herself). Simon was just so perfect. He was smart and kind, intelligent and caring. He had the greatest sense of humor and he was able to admit things others would have cringed to. At the end, he was the most awesomest top notch ever ever.
The setting was wonderful. Wonderful I tell you. This was a brilliant novel. Brilliant!!!
One of the most mindblowing aspect was the contrasts of the world of the haves and have-nots. These aspects were so seamlessly written as part of the characters, it was incredible. The research…wow. At no point did I felt lectured at, but was shocked at how half the world of the glittery regency world did we all miss out in other books. The actual discussions of what life was like beside the frivolly flop of the ton. Problems of poverty and industrialization. Two brilliant characters illustrated something more in this world – the deep unshakable love between two people. I might almost say I like Simon better than Sebastian from Devil in Winter…but no one beats Derek. *sigh*
I wanted to know more about Simon and Nell. I think it has become evident that I have a soft spot for stories with a large part taking place after the wedding. Books where we see more of the interactions between a couple after the supposedly happily ever after. Do they really have a happily ever after? Can two people now living together, faced with the conflicts day-to-day, their personalities clashing…just seeing each other at their very worst, can they really create a forever together? In this book, a resounding yes! I wanted to see more of them together, doing nothing more than lounging around the library or cuddling in the bedroom. And the wedding night? Morning after? *fans self* They were equally hot and tender it was insanely good. No mere mortal could have written such wonderful scenes. Gosh dangit, I’m out of adjectives.
Even though the big misunderstanding/mistake between the two annoyed me to no end, it was only because of how realistic these ideas were based. I completely understood why Nell acted the way she did given the world she had inhabited for most of her life. I just wished Nell gave Simon more credit even though if I had been in her position, I would’ve done similar. This was also when we truly saw the strength of Simon’s love for Nell. It was so sweet, I could’ve cried.
The weakest part, if there was such a thing for this wonderful book, would be the ending. It was a pack-load of action, but was too rushed. It’s not really this book, but a lot of the books I’ve read these days were all doing this. Great development, great characters, but still used that last “event” to shove them back together. Or after the awesome progression of the story, the last climax was so short you shouldn’t blink too much in case you accidentally missed it. Although Simon laid the foundation for the last turnabout for Nell, I felt maybe the page number limit made Nell’s sudden change seem too abrupt. Nell would have always gone down that path at some point, so it was all good.
I would have loved it if there was a book about the sister, mostly so I could see Nell and Simon again and we can catch glimpses of our happy couple. Hehehe. Actually, that would have been cool. Ended this book with the H/h happily together. Then the next book would’ve been about the inheritance thing. Oh, I know, I’m such a dreamer. Hehehe. Loved this book. Love it love it love it!