Review: How to Survive a Scandal by Samara Parish - .Red Wine & Books

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Review: How to Survive a Scandal by Samara Parish


Print Length: 332 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing - Forever (May 25, 2021)

From Goodreads.com:  In this whirlwind regency romance, a near-death experience leads to a marriage of convenience for two unsuspecting strangers, but will their unusual meeting lead them to true love?

Lady Amelia was raised to be the perfect duchess, accomplished in embroidery, floral arrangement, and managing a massive household. But when an innocent mistake forces her and the uncouth, untitled Benedict Asterly into a marriage of convenience, all her training appears to be for naught. Even worse, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to this man no finishing school could have prepared her for.

Benedict Asterly never dreamed saving Amelia’s life would lead to him being shackled to the hoity Society miss. Benedict was taught to distrust the aristocracy at a young age, so when news of his marriage endangers a business deal, Benedict is wary of Amelia’s offer to help. But his quick-witted, elegant bride defies all his expectations... and if he’s not careful, she’ll break down the walls around his guarded heart.

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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I WANTED to like this story. But.... so much just fell short and flat for me, that I struggled to finish. While I liked the idea of these two characters together, I didn't believe in their marriage or their supposed love. I would have liked to have seen more chemistry between the pair, and I feel they definitely needed more communication as well. 

Amelia is ... a bitch. And while some of her thoughts and behaviors could have been explained away at the start of this novel when she was still reeling from how much her life had changed from what she expected, there is no reason why she should still be acting this why when the novel is almost finished. In fact, for me it was even worse when she realized how much her words and actions hurt people, but still engaged in them to try and impress the members of "society" that even she had found useless and shallow by that point. I also didn't care much for the fact that she went behind her husband's back numerous times because she "knew what was best". 

Sadly, Benedict is no better. While he may have had a perfectly good reason for hating the aristocracy when he was younger, he kept fanning the fire of that hatred (and his unreasonable assumptions) even after he claimed to have fallen in love with Amelia (and certainly after he had had the time to get to know her better). Of course, this was all immediately forgotten when he decided to make amends with his grandfather, come to London and partake in everything he hated (attending a ball and dressing in colors) just to try and win Amelia back. 

I feel like the separation and many of their other problems could have been resolved had they simply been able to talk to each other instead of falling back on their default behaviors of being cruel to each other. In fact, while I originally enjoyed their banter, it soon grated on my nerves as it seemed that was all they did. With every one step forward they took, they took a dozen back. 

Another issue I found with this novel is the fact that the secondary plot overshadowed the main plot on more than one occasion. I understand that his business was an important part of his life and who he was, but it seemed like he made some very questionable choices in this part of his life as well (although it was nice seeing Amelia help him navigate some of those choices). 

Despite these things, the author had a strong writing style and I definitely think this novel will appeal to fans of historical romances that don't take place in London, and that involve marriages of convenience. I would give this author another chance. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

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                                                              How to Survive a Scandal is available from Amazon.com

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