Review: Scandal at Almack's by Gloria Gay - .Red Wine & Books

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Review: Scandal at Almack's by Gloria Gay

  

Print Length: 120 pages
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group (May 26, 2020)

From Goodreads.com:  Jenny Longtree is temporarily saved from her fate: marriage to her father's choice of husband for her--a man older than her father but rich enough to save the family from impending doom. Then Jenny's uncle in London offers her a London season.

Can Jenny find a husband even though she has no dowry? Her father doubts it but her mother thinks she should be given that option. Besides, her mother assures her father, there will be few girls in that season that can rival Jenny's beauty.

Then on the last night at Almack's, Jenny is embroiled in scandal and as a crowd gathers around her and the Earl of Corville with whom she has fallen in love at first sight, Jenny wonders if it's too late not only to save her from doom but to save her heart from heartbreak...

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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

The characters were all very one dimensional, and while the story did have it's sweet moments, the majority of it for me, just fell incredibly flat. It was a shame because it started off strongly enough, introducing us to Jenny, her parents and the much older man she was to marry in order to pay off her father's debts. We get a glimpse into her home life, and how she is willing to do whatever it takes in order to save her family from destitution, even if it means marrying a lecherous man old enough to be her grandfather. We also learn that her uncle is willing to sponsor a season for her in London because she reminds him of the daughter he loved and lost. 

So far so good. Jenny arrives, and quickly realizes that her Uncle's second wife despises her as the woman uses every opportunity to criticize her for something (even if the something hasn't occurred yet).  Alright, that's fair - after all every story needs a bad guy. However, this is a novella which means in a few scant pages, it's already the end of the season and our dear Jenny hasn't found anyone who sparks her interest. Somehow, despite having no title of their own (although her Uncle was knighted), they manage to obtain vouchers for Almack's just in time to attend the very last ball of the season. 

Where Jenny meets, and shares one dance with the incredibly drunk Earl of Corville. Of course it's a waltz, and of course, she falls head over heels in love immediately. Luckily for her, in his drunken state, the Earl blacks out and actually draws circles on her upper breast around a mole she has. This causes Jenny to go into shock or something, because she passes out in his arms, only to blurt out that he touched her inappropriately when she comes to. Of course, no one actually saw him do it, and the Earl doesn't immediately remember doing it, but because he often drinks to the point he blacks out, he takes her word for it. 

I'm still trying to figure out how in an overly crowded ballroom with other dancers on the floor and the eagle eyes of not only the chaperones, but the likes of Lady Jersey and her cronies absolutely no one saw him touching her breast. 

Of course this means he does the only honorable thing he can think of and offers for her. An offer that her uncle accepts (as does she) on the condition they write to her father and he also accepts. Obviously, an Earl is a much better choice than an elderly mortician, and her uncle is acting as her guardian so I see no reason she needs her father's permission, but whatever. They agree to keep things a secret and not be seen together publicly (although how that is supposed to help her reputation is beyond me). However, they can go on outings together in places the ton doesn't frequent. Jenny tells him the truth - both of his actions that night and the fact that she would do anything to escape marrying the man her father has chosen. This understandably makes him leery of trusting her, but then of course, he suddenly "remembers" that he did indeed touch her. 

Umm okay? Funny how that works. I would rather have seen this spark of mistrust between them for awhile at least until she proves her intentions are pure. Especially considering what happened to him in the past. It was all entirely too convenient. 

The rest of the book focuses on them sneaking around because again, no one can know they are engaged until her father gives his approval. Meanwhile, his ex-mistress is skulking around trying to cause problems and claiming that he was on the verge of proposing to her, and somehow the man she was supposed to marry back home is suddenly in London to "rescue" her, despite her telling him multiple times it was unnecessary.  

It all comes together in an ending that is as implausible as it as laughable. Somehow, once again, a small town nobody (in this case the elderly mortician who was to marry Jenny) manages to obtain an invitation to a ball where of course, Jenny and her Earl are supposed to attend. In true comedic form, with the help of the Earl's former mistress, the man makes an utter fool of himself just in time for the Earl to stand up and make a public declaration of his love for Jenny and to officially ask her to be his wife (her father finally, conveniently, got back to them just in time - although honestly I have no idea what outcome the two villains' were expecting. He could spout his words all he wanted to, he could not force Jenny to marry him). 

If you like quick, clean regency romances then I'm sure you will love this one. However, I need a bit more from my stories than what was offered here. 

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                                Scandal at Almack's
 is available from Amazon.com
                                      (for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)

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