Friday, April 18, 2008

Lord of Scoundrels LOVEFEST

Great Moments from last night's reading
Book: Lord of Scoundrels
Author: Loretta Chase
Spoiler level: HIGH (Sarai and Lone C: beware!)

Oh, wow, can I be any more in love with this novel? Hardly.

Everything is so unexpected here. I richly enjoyed the engagement scene with the lawyer. And the non-starter wedding night. And how the seduction worked!

Later Jess says, “But getting you into bed—you, the greatest whoremonger in Christendom—gad it was worse than the time I had to drag Bertie to the tooth-drawer.” And they have this laugh, and Dain sees how it’s been for her, how he’s been. (Like his father!)

Anyway, last night I hit the part where she gives him the icon as a late birthday present. So lovely. To be honest, I had been worried Dain’s friends might do something to screw up their nascent relationship, more bets and things. Who knows, maybe they still will, but this is more a novel of emotions and weighty internal obstacles, not externally generated misunderstandings, and that icon, all I can say is OMG.

I didn’t expect it to come back. When it first appeared in the story I thought it was more a metaphor for a larger tale of disguised and discovered value. Dain admired it, I thought because the woman looked like his mother, and then Jess had an instinct about it and bought it and had it cleaned and it turned out to be beautiful and valuable, just as Dain would later.

But then that scene at the breakfast table where she gives it to him, and it turns out that Dain is the baby! And the little icon, at least to me, stands in for Dain’s heart, or more, a time where it was last whole, before it was destroyed. Oh, I just loved that. And his description, not realizing what he’s revealing:

'"She’s half-frowning, yes. Mildly irritated, perhaps, because the boy’s being troublesome. Yet she wears a glimmer of a smile, as though to reassure or forgive him. Because she understands that he doesn’t know any better. Innocent brat, he takes it all for granted: her smiles, reassurances, her patience…forgiveness. He doesn’t know what he has, let alone how to be grateful for it. And so he frets and scowls…in blissful infant ignorance."

Dain paused, for the room seemed to have grown too quiet suddenly, and the woman beside him too still.'

And he tries to cover, but without meaning to, she looks at him with pity, because she realizes.

And there’s the new obstacle. It’s not his stupid friends screwing them up, it’s something raw and emotional that scares real people - the exposure of your deepest wounds, and that somebody might view you not with love and admiration, but pity. Reading this, I literally thought to myself, Sheeeesh, this fucking story just gets better and better.

Maybe Loretta Chase consciously selected this icon to carry all this baggage, but really, the play of the icon feels like something the subconscious delivers up to an author, like a gift. This whole book is so wonderful for the way the obstacles are largely internal, but they’re mirrored and echoed externally.

Even the shooting scene, which is so wonderful, feels like that. His defenses are so thick, she just has to shoot him. And it looks like this blundery thing, but in fact she is an expert markswoman and very strong and smart, with a strong and smart heart.


kim said...

Ooohhh I love this book. Did you like Dains mental dictionary? I love that part. I read this book really fast the first time and then went back and savored every lyrical line the second read. Just loved it.

Carolyn Jean said...

Oh, right! I meant to mention his dictionary, too! Yes, I love that.

lisabea said...

I now have to go back and read this again! See why it was number one? Thanks CJ. You are brilliant. I heart you. You served that moment up to me on a silver platter. Perfection.

MaryKate said...

Ah CJ, I'm so glad you're enjoying it. I do love how Jessica forces Dain to re-evaluate over and over -- she just constantly surprises him. She's probably my second most favorite romance heroine ever.

Ana said...

I love your insight about the icon and what it means and how it is brought again to the story. I had never thought of that!

I heart this book so much and I am loving seeing you falling in love with it little by little.

And gosh, there is still so much to happen! : )

Ana said...

Sorry forgot to mention: Marykate, I am curious: which is your top favorite heroine? Jessica is mine - I can't think of anyone that could top her. Oh, wait a minute. Maybe Eve Dallas!

Carolyn Jean said...

LB: I totally see why it's number one. Such a great recommendation, Missy!

MK: Yes, Jess keeps pushing deeper like that, surprising him. And me! And like Ana, I want to know your fave heroine.

Ana: Thanks, and you know, it's really fun for me to read a book that is so embraced, and be able to talk about it and know people know!

MaryKate said...

Marykate, I am curious: which is your top favorite heroine? Jessica is mine - I can't think of anyone that could top her.

Merry Patricia Wilding from Tom and Sharon Curtis's The Windflower. It's my favorite romance of all time, and her evolution as a character is absolutely breathtaking.

Carolyn Jean said...

Ah! I suspected it might be her.

Katie(babs) said...

When Jess gives him the icon, Dain is holding back tears.. awwww...
I adore these two to pieces!!

Carolyn Jean said...

KB: me too, me too.

lisabea said...

Who are our favorite heroines? Wonderful question. Mine is, of course, Savitri Murray. But Jess is right up there.

Carolyn Jean said...

LB: did you see that Meljean posted her first chapter of her new book on her blog? In the comments section.

lisabea said...

WHAT!!!! OMG!!!

Sorry. YAY!

Kristie (J) said...

Although I know some people don't really get this book - it was the number 1 all time book for a reason in the AAR poll. I have two copies now - the original with the very bad cover and the newer release. I'm so glad is was reissued so that a younger generation of readers can get a chance to read this real treasure of a book.

I'll be looking forward to further thoughts 'cause there is better ahead *g*

Katie(babs) said...

I am going old school with my heroines. Jane Eyre :)

Carolyn Jean said...

KJ: well, I'm not exactly a younger generation, but for this book, I'm new. From last night's reading, yow, that ARE more things going on now!!

KB: An excellent choice.

Sarai said...

Okay didn't read the post but had to thank ya for warning me ;0)
This is on the shopping spree list!

Tumperkin said...

And don't you just love the way Jessica sticks up for Dain's mother and really goes for him when he speaks badly of her?

I love that.

Jessica is possibly my favourite heroine. Other big faves are Lily Doyle from One Night for Love by Mary Balogh, Mary Challoner from Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer and OF COURSE Annique from the Spymaster's Lady.

ames said...

I'm so glad you're reading this. This is my fave historical romance. :P I love when Jessica shoots Dain.

Yes, I'm bloodthirsty that way. LOL

Stacy~ said...

I read this for the first time last year, and loved it. I have 2 copies of it, one from Ms. Chase herself. A definite classic.

naida said...

wow, love your blog!
I'm going to have to add this book to my TBR list.