Review: A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal (The Lords of Worth #2.5) by Kelly Bowen
Released: August 4, 2015
Reviewed by Sheena
Lady Viola Hextall is bored—of the ocean, her chaperones, and the woeful lack of available dukes on the ocean voyage from London to New York. Scrambling for any diversion short of jumping overboard, Viola strikes up a conversation with the ship’s rough-hewn, blue-eyed surgeon—and discovers an immediate cure for what ails her…
To Nathaniel Shaw, Viola has the bearing of a lady and the spirit of an adventurer—an unlikely combination that he finds utterly irresistible. So he’s hoping to convince Viola to leave the stifling ballrooms of London high society behind because there is a big, wide world just waiting for them to explore—together.
It always guts me when jaunty little novellas are so good with so much potential that they are a missed opportunity of a really rocking full blown novel. Argh! Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this little novella. Steamy, smart and humorous, A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal was a breath of fresh air. After a shaming scandal involving a family friend, Lady Viola Hextall has found herself aboard a ship to New York with two overbearing chaperons hell-bent on ensuring Viola comes to no trouble on her voyage to America. Naturally, Viola is full of life and abhors her banishment, utterly preoccupied with her quest to land and marry a Duke and supremely miffed that she is going to miss London’s upcoming season where said Duke was sure to be found! Little does she know that the passions and adventure she would find aboard her voyage would change her life forever.
Nathaniel Shaw is an intriguing hero, he is a surgeon by trade and is taken with Viola. So much so, that he unknowingly insinuated himself into her thoughts and is unable to stop himself from challenging Viola to want more, reach for more, be more in life that a Duke’s pampered wife. Watching the consummate Lady Viola shed her superficial skins and reveal to Nathaniel that she is the perfect match for him was fun!
It was a shame, really, that this man was not a duke. Or at the very least, a marquess. Had he been one of those things, she would have pursued him. Would have gifted him her favor. Would have let him kiss her, for certain. Maybe even-
“My lady?” Mr. Shaw was looking at her expectantly. Viola blinked. “I beg your pardon?”
“I asked if you were feeling all right. You looked a little flushed suddenly.”
They bond over the most unexpected common ground and Viola’s bold and educated nature seals the deal for Nathaniel- he assumed she would be a squeamish and run from his bloody and “vulgar” lifestyle, naturally her girlish sensibilities would send her running. Ha! Did she show him!
“There are a great many things to be squeamish about in life, Mr. Shaw.” Believe me, maggots are the least of my concerns.”
Not only do we learn that this young woman who appears obsessed with climbing and being a ton darling has layers, we get a front row seat at witnessing the enchantment of a man who otherwise seemed doomed to lend his life to service without passion and life. In her own way, Viola saved Mr. Shaw in ways that he may not even fully appreciate. He too was on a trip that would change the trajectory of his life. His plans are to travel to the Missouri and settle down to become a frontier doctor; with Viola at his side it is all very Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman!! This is what I respected about this novella. It was short but packed a punch. Provided passion and hot historical sexy times, but there was a message if you cared to look deeper than two people thrown together on a ship. Kelly Bowen took the opposites attract trope and gave it another dimension and I totally dig it!
As the story came to its premature end, I could not help but wonder what could have been. Viola has fallen in love and thrown off her preconceived notions, and is ready to embrace frontier life as a doctor’s wife and physician’s aid? Do her old habits die hard? How did she fare in Missouri? The next book in the series features Viola’s brother, Heath Hextall, perhaps some of these questions will be touched on in his story as an aside. I found little lacking in Viola and Nathaniel’s story. It stands alone well and I have been successfully drawn into this series. If I had a gripe to give, it would be that an inclusion of a good flashback of her fall from grace the precipitated her forced journey across the seas, would have been the icing on the cake. This was a pointed omission as the brief synopsis we are afforded in the novella is delicious and dark- there seems to be some real meat of emotions and fall out surrounding the scandal that set off her journey to New York. I am looking forward to what book 3, You’re the Earl That I Want has to offer!