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Your Scandalous Ways (spoilers)

 
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Kelly B



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 4:34 pm    Post subject: Your Scandalous Ways (spoilers) Reply with quote

I wanted to start a new thread since I wanted to go into some plot points that could be considered spoilery...

Quote:
in comparison to the earlier books by Loretta Chase (Lord of Scoundrels, Lion's Daughter, Captives of the Night, Last Hellion), I think it lacks the depth, insight and subtlety the earlier books had.


I had the same reaction. Sort of a big "ehhhhh." Not a bad read, but not stellar. As I was reading it, YSW felt rather like a watered down rehash of Captives of the Night (my favorite Chase). The unconventional heroine with a bad marriage, the treasonous (ex) spouse, the smooth intelligence agent who has bent the rules as needed. And yet, I never got a feel for these characters the way I did Leila, Beaumont and Esmond. I didn't really understand why the heroine in YSW was so in love with her husband, who seemed like a stock villain. In Captives of the Night, we saw what drew Leila to Beaumont in the first place and had something of an understanding of what made him such a worm, with desperation and human failings rather than just "French-sympathizing villain!" And Cordier. He remained something of an enigma, but not in the intriguing way Esmond was, just that never really got to know much about him and what we did seemed to feel like "Character Development Time" rather than an organic explanation, if that makes sense. "He was an out of control youth" (how? we're never given an inkling), "he was tortured because the heroine's husband betrayed information and now vows to avenge his fallen comrades" (very noble, but it seems to be treated as a throwaway line here and there rather than delved into, unlike Edmond's visible struggle with his past and moral quandaries). Even trying to find the hidden letters had an echo of CotN.

YSW also didn't work all that well for me as a romance--it seems to have become part of the "lust think" trend. I understood that the leads were incredibly attracted to each other, but that's about all. They spent most of the book playing a game of sexual brinksmanship and that doesn't scream "romance" to me. The characters even talked about it themselves--infatuation. That's what it felt like--something that would pass rather than develop in something deeper.

I didn't hate this books, despite all of the complaining above. I really like Chase as an author, but this fell a little flat for me. Still well done, but not really up to what I know she can do.

I thought the Venetian setting was great, especially with the glimpses into a sort of down-on-its heels Venice, with the social customs of the opera and the tension of Austrian rule. Some of the secondary characters--the not-so-gormless-after-all prince, after all--added a lot to the story and at times were more interesting than the leads. The writing was strong, and the dialogue clever, but the whole time, I just sort of wished I was rereading Captives of the Night, which played with very similar themes and plot but was much stronger to me.
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msaggie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 700

PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 6:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Your Scandalous Ways (spoilers) Reply with quote

Kelly B wrote:
...YSW also didn't work all that well for me as a romance--it seems to have become part of the "lust think" trend. I understood that the leads were incredibly attracted to each other, but that's about all. They spent most of the book playing a game of sexual brinksmanship and that doesn't scream "romance" to me. The characters even talked about it themselves--infatuation. That's what it felt like--something that would pass rather than develop in something deeper.

I didn't hate this books, despite all of the complaining above. I really like Chase as an author, but this fell a little flat for me. Still well done, but not really up to what I know she can do.

I thought the Venetian setting was great, especially with the glimpses into a sort of down-on-its heels Venice, with the social customs of the opera and the tension of Austrian rule. Some of the secondary characters--the not-so-gormless-after-all prince, after all--added a lot to the story and at times were more interesting than the leads. The writing was strong, and the dialogue clever, but the whole time, I just sort of wished I was rereading Captives of the Night, which played with very similar themes and plot but was much stronger to me.
Kelly B, you have totally nailed it - I agree with all that you say. Because Loretta Chase is such a beloved author, it is hard for any of us to be overly critical. I wanted to like this book better, and there is a lot to like about it, don't get me wrong. But you are right that Captives of the Night was a much better book - and all the characters had depth; their struggles were real to me. I thought Your Scandalous Ways had good dialogue and it was amusing in many parts - but it was all "infatuation" and lust; it never really felt like "love". I too loved the Venetian setting. I felt as well, at the end, it was wrapped up rather too neatly. Although the ex-husband was supposed to be so omnipotent, we never really saw the evidence of it. I was also disappointed regarding the old Count - (echoes of Heyer's Masqueraders) - I felt we could have heard more about how he came to be still alive, etc!!
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was somewhat disappointed with this book. It's certainly well written, with intriguing characters but I felt that most of them, including the villains, were underdeveloped. On the other hand, none of the other books by Ms Chase have been DIKs for me so she's probably the author who just doesn't work for me as much as she does for many others (I'm still buffled by Lord of the Scoundrels being constantly on top of the best romances list here at AAR).
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Em



Joined: 30 Mar 2007
Posts: 189

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I read the first accounts of this plot, I was really intrigued to see how Loretta Chase would pull this off,-- especially the fact that her heroine, a member of the nobility, had become a courtesan. Some other reviewers I read elsewhere waxed breathless at how Chase had successfully managed this titillating innovation.

Hmmm, I don't think that I'm a stuffed shirt about the courtesan/ heroine concept, but all in all, the whole thing didn't work for me. I just found it hard to believe that a woman raised in Francesca's milieu could so easily adjust to the life of a high-priced courtesan--or that if she did indeed "enjoy her work"-- she would be able smoothly to resume her life back in England with the hero. I didn't necessarily expect pages of "angst", but every time the hero (or for that matter, Francesca herself) referred to the heroine as a "whore", it drew me right out of the story as I tried to imagine what her life with these previous protectors must have been like. Chase glosses over it, or hints that our heroine had no problems with it whatsoever. Ohhhkay...color me skeptical.

Also, there was a lot of 'deus ex machina" in this book, especially at the end. I think Natalie had the correct take, this book was a luke warm read--enjoyable, but forgettable.
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1669

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:27 pm    Post subject: Your Scandalous Ways Reply with quote

While this was not my favorite Chase and I agree (somewhat) with the comments above, YSW did have one aspect I loved: the jaded hero who's bored and cynical and just plain tired of everything is brought back to life not by Innocence Personified but by a woman who is almost as experienced as he is. The all-too-common cliche is that he needs a virginal sacrifice (Eloisa James, much as I like your writing, this means you), but Chase turns it around and I'm grateful for it.
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Marion



Joined: 10 Aug 2007
Posts: 29
Location: Oxford, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
the jaded hero who's bored and cynical and just plain tired of everything is brought back to life not by Innocence Personified but by a woman who is almost as experienced as he is.


Yes I really like that too.

I actually reread Captives of the night just before this and much preferred this, but that is speaking as someone who just never really "got" that book, whilst loving virtually all Loretta Chase's other books.
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desiderata



Joined: 23 Oct 2007
Posts: 226

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't finished it ... and Loretta Chase wrote two of my all time favorite DIKS (LofS and Captives of the Night), plus I've really liked almost all of her other books. I can't say I actively dislike YSW, it's just that I put it down one night to go to sleep and haven't picked it up again. That was 3 weeks ago and I am half way through the book. I just haven't felt interested enough in what happens next to finish it. I'm honestly perplexed, because I find the hero and heroine interesting, and I enjoy the setting because it's something other than England. That said, I think the plot is just dragging along. So, interesting h/h, interesting setting, and nothing interesting is happening in the story. I'm very much surprised and disappointed.
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Terese



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 250

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally read this book this weekend. I hate to say I was disappointed, because there was a lot I loved about this book: The heroine, the setting in Venice with the gondolas and all, even the young prince vying for Francesca's favors and her best friend Giulietta. One of the best things about Chase's writing is that she is writing characters who fit. I mean you wouldn't take her characters for transplanted 21st Century people stuck in a historical setting. But I have to agree with other posters: the characters and the plot did not quite live up to its potential. BUT I would re-read this book rather than a dozen other historical romances by another author that just didn't click for me at all.
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clutterconqueror



Joined: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 103
Location: Elmhurst, Il

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kelly B and msaggie articulated so well how I felt about this book.

I kept waiting to be engaged, but it never happened.

No, I did not like the heroine at first, but after I learned how and why she came to be who she is, I was completely sympathetic and supportive. I came to see her choice as a form of feminism. So I don't believe it was her occupation that turned me off. I just never came to really understand her. We're often told of how she has a "joie de vivre," but I never saw it. I saw her as being very guarded. And at the end, when her feelings for James and their potential relationship caused her to fear her loss of independence, I only felt like she was stomping around emotionally and never dealing with it intellectually.

I felt James had a lot of potential and I really liked him. But my feelings never ran any deeper. When we learn of his painful past, it seemed so emotionless for me.

Then as a couple, there is a lot of fighting and lusting (because they're Italian). I'm tired of couples who constantly fight for control of the relationship--the constant power struggle. And I agree with the above statements that it never moved past the lust/infatuation stage.

And I hate to say even the humor fell flat for me. I think it's hard to pull off humor when a great deal of it is thrown out as insults or "arrows" in the power struggle game.

I agree with others who say Venice was a wonderful setting and the star of this book. I truly enjoyed Venice.

Joyce O.
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msaggie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 700

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:45 pm    Post subject: Venice as a setting Reply with quote

clutterconqueror wrote:
..I agree with others who say Venice was a wonderful setting and the star of this book. I truly enjoyed Venice.

Joyce O.
Just an aside - I recently finished reading Lord of the Night by Susan Wiggs (DIK-reviewed here at AAR) and it's also set in Venice - but during the Renaissance, when Doge Andrea Gritti ruled. It's a very good book, and highly recommended. I also just read Mary Jane Beaufrand's Primavera, set in Renaissance Florence, at the time of Lorenzo de Medici. This YA novel is based on the Pazzi conspiracy, and the author says it was inspired by Botticelli's famous masterpiece, Primavera. Compared to other books inspired by famous works of art (e.g. Girl with a Pearl Earring, or Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier), this book is less sumptuous; it is in fact a bit gory (how did Renaissance Italians get rid of their enemies?) - but it does have a HEA for the heroine. And Renaissance Italy comes to life...
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baseballmom5



Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 159
Location: Sunny Florida

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought YSW was awful. I took a long time to set up the story, and once the story was set up, I never clearly pictured it. Don't get me wrong, good idea, it was not executed properly. I am disapointed AAR gave it an A!
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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1474

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just finished reading this, and boy, was I disappointed. I personally do not care for romances where the couple bicker and fight their attraction throughout the whole thing, which is what the h/h did for most of the book. Chase did not convince me that they loved one another, although I think she had a very interesting angle on a jaded spy who assumes that an innocent young thing will be his best mate, but falls instead for a worldly woman. Like one of the comments above, every time Francesca called herself a whore, it grated and jerked me out of the novel. It's such a harsh word that when a woman calls herself one, it seems masochistic, which Francesca was not. I agree that the ending was deus ex machina, but that never bothers me. I WANT to see a Cinderella ending with all problems eliminated. The humor and fun of this novel was wanting, in spite of all the high jinks. Oh, well, maybe Chase's next book will be better. We can only hope. If you haven't bought it, you might want to get it at the library.
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