Lady Laura Jamison uses her extraordinary olfactory senses to sniff out her perfect match, a husband who fits all her scientific criteria. But after she evades an assassin’s bullets, twice, while attending her sister’s wedding, she is forced to accept the protection of their family friend, and her nemesis, the Earl of Winchester. Richard evades marriage with someone as beautiful and intelligent as Laura, fearing she’ll uncover his shameful childhood secret.
The mismatched pair risks their wealth and reputations racing around London’s seedier areas in a desperate attempt to stop a madwoman before she recruits more criminals and rebuilds her illegal share trading syndicate. When they accept each other’s strengths and weakness, will Laura and Richard also discover a passion neither counted on?
Publisher and Release Date: Suzi Love, February 2014
Time and Setting: Victorian London, 1843
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by Maria Almaguer
There’s something so loveable about the bluestocking/rake trope, even though I’ve read it countless times. As long as writers can find new and interesting ways to make each story unique and original, I’m happy to read them. And a bluestocking scientist is even more fun. Pippa in Sarah MacLean’s wonderful One Good Earl Deserves a Lover and Minerva from A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare come to mind. Here, in Suzi Love’s very amusing Scenting Scandal, we encounter another smart young woman (along with her educated and scientifically-minded siblings) who is determined to find her perfect mate by his scent. Yes, you read that right – by his olfactory qualities. Lady Laura Jamison is an aromatherapist who uses herbs and carefully documented scientific experiments to conduct her tests but the one man to whom she is inexorably drawn doesn’t match her olfactory trials, darn it! If this sounds a bit silly at first, you won’t be laughing long when you read this thoroughly charming love story.
Richard, Earl of Winchester, is an old friend of the Jamison family, a typical gentleman aristocrat who has taken mistresses over the years but is now charged with acting as protector to the two youngest Jamison daughters, while his cousin and the ladies’ sister are on their honeymoon. He doesn’t relish the idea, but he doesn’t mind in the least being close to “Luscious Laura.” He is terribly attracted to the raven-haired beauty and their good-natured and provocative sparring is the best part of this sweet romance.
But Richard has a shameful secret that he’s terrified Laura will discover, so he pushes away all his feelings for her, desperately trying to not become too involved with her. But he cannot help himself as her fire, her intelligence, and her wit utterly fascinate and beguile him. And eventually undo him.
Laura is a strong and willful heroine, as astute as she is attractive. She has a lovely no-nonsense quality about her that allows her to pursue her scientific interests yet leaves her time to tend to her close-knit family, and her bravery surprises Richard at every turn, especially when they encounter danger. She is no man’s fool and can tell a simpering dandy from a mile away.
What is odd, however, but perhaps also in keeping with Richard’s determination not to deflower a virgin – not to mention her brothers would kill him – is that their love is never fully consummated! They do pretty much everything but the deed itself and this surprised me, considering how highly-charged their encounters were. I can’t help but feel a wee bit let down, but the story is so fun to read, and well-paced, and the hero, heroine, as well as all the minor characters, are all interesting and enjoyable to read, that I can’t mind too much.
Richard is a smooth, funny, and magnetic gentleman, the perfect strong and protective foil to Laura’s inquisitive nature, one that drives him to distraction. The very qualities that vex him – her keen curiosity, her meticulousness, and her desire to explore more of the world – delight and captivate him. He knows a life with her as his wife will never be dull, which makes his ridiculous determination to seek a dull and boring wife all the more silly. And her unwillingness to consider him as a suitor because he doesn’t match her scientific experiments makes for some hilarious moments.
The humor in this book is lighthearted and infectious. The Jamisons are a loving and close-knit bunch, despite the fact that the patriarch of the family prefers to be away on archaeological digs and their loyal and quirky servants are all former criminals!
The mystery element in this story is secondary but it becomes the impetus for our hero and heroine to fall in love. They are thrown together in their search and determination to stop a greedy woman from forming an illegal share trading syndicate and the dangerous moments make for an entertaining and exciting read. It also allows both Laura and Richard to see each other in a new and attractive light.
Though this is the second book in a series featuring a family of scientist siblings, I didn’t feel I was missing anything and it can be read as a standalone.
If you enjoy witty and sizzling conversation, a meeting of the minds of two people destined for each other, and a mystery to boot, you will find much to like in this engaging romance.