The promise of a scandal seemingly sells. In fact, scandal seems to be one of those publisher buzz words that is used over and over again whether there’s a real scandal in the story or not.
In fact, judging by the number of times the word has blazed across book covers, scandal has been used, abused, and reused, I think almost to death. Amazon lists 276 paperback romances with “scandal” or a version of it (scandalous, etc.) in the title, as well as 27 hardcover and 50 Kindle titles. Worldcat lists 578 romances with the word in the title. And AAR has reviewed five pages with it or variations in the title. So far in 2011, four books with that title have been reviewed using the word in their titles. If the trend continues, this year will be a banner year for scandal.
But how much scandal do most of the stories include? Take Scandal in Scotland by Karen Hawkins which will be published in June of this year. A sailor and an actress, whose protector is trying to hide his homosexuality by providing for her, scramble to get hold of a mysterious antique onyx box. So what’s the scandal? Her having a protector? Hardly! Weren’t actresses during the Regency supposed to have them? Wasn’t part of a young man’s “wild oats” to be spent hanging around actresses? Having a liaison between a sailor and an actress, under the circumstances, isn’t scandalous at all! But the title indicates there will be one somewhere in the 384 pages.