Book Review

Lil’ SBiT Patrick Reviews: Lord of Scoundrels, Part II

Title: Lord of Scoundrels
Author: Loretta Chase
Genre: Historical: European

Book CoverAnother snarktastic chapter-by-chapter account by Li’l SBiT Patrick. I know many of you are reading along with Patrick – how are you liking the book so far?

Being a bit of a blow-by-blow by SBiT Patrick, Part the Second: Chapters 3 through 5

Chapter 3: The Bluestocking Does Some Blue-Balling

“Dain felt extremely reluctant to enter any room with a fille de joie, which created a serious problem, since he was just fastidious enough to dislike having a female in a reeking Parisian alleyway.”

For over a week after his first encounter with Jessica, Dain has been unable to get his rocks off, making him one of the most ornery sumbitches in all of France.  Bertie Trent picks the perfect time, therefore, to drop in and let Dain know that the moldy old chit Jessica’d taken off of Champtois’s hands for ten sous has turned out to be an extremely rare Russian icon of the Stroganov school (there’s the beef!).  Dain sends Bertie off to find a wild goose and sits down to haggle with Jessica for the trinket.

The next several pages contain a hilarious pissing match pitting Dain’s shrewdness against Jessica’s quick wit.  There are some great zingers in here, ranging from Dain’s assessment of the faces on unhappy Madonnas (“They look exceedingly ill tempered.  I suppose it’s on account of being virgins—of experiencing all the unpleasantness of breeding and birthing and none of the jolly parts.”) to Jessica’s ability to parry his quotations from Publius Syrus with snippets from the same.  Zing, indeed!

This is good stuff; Chase is clearly in her element.  By the chapter’s end Dain has resolved to ruin Jessica’s reputation, and Jess’ll be damned if she won’t let him try.  All the while they’ve been arguing, they’ve been undressing each other in their minds, only as a prelude to the actual disrobing that begins the next chapter….

Chapter 4: Said the Spider to the Fly

…Button by tiny pearl button, off comes the glove from Jessica’s slim hand.  Dain coos to her in Italian, saying nothing more than non sequitur, but for all anyone else in the tea shop knows he’s got her verbally on her back with her bluestockinged legs high in the air and his own ogreish body placed squarely between them.

Cool as he tries to seem, he’s inwardly tormented by his first physical contact with the virgin vixen: “he couldn’t believe his untoward state of excitement—over a damned glove and a bit of feminine flesh.  Not even one of the good bits, either—the ones a man didn’t have—but an inch or so of her wrist, plague take her.”  Chase’s knack for steamy suspense makes this scene sexier than anything I’ve yet encountered in my admittedly short journey through romantic literature.

Once he’s unhanded her hand, Jessica points out Dain’s undoing: in his attempt to destroy her reputation, he’s set about the ruination of his own.  Surely once it’s gotten around that he’s been seen wooing a woman (a virgin, no less!) of her repute he’ll never live it down.

His only defense is a strong offense: it’s now Dain’s mission to bring Bertie Trent to his knees.

By the end of the chapter he’s well on his way.  On the evening of Madame Vraisses’s party Bertie has stayed too long at Dain’s den of sin, and his porter, whom Jessica had sent to retrieve him, has been rudely ejected before straggling back to the Trents’ to lick his wounds.  Jessica is furious, and makes her own way to Satan’s lair.

Moments after stepping inside, she hears a shot.  “If Bertie was in the vicinity of a ditch, he was sure to fall into it.  If Bertie was in the vicinity of an open window, he was sure to tumble out of it.  Ergo, if Bertie was in the vicinity of a moving bullet, he may be counted on to walk straight into it.”

Bertie’s unharmed, but sprawled, drunk and unconscious, on the parlor floor.  Dain sits upon his chair as though it were the throne of Hell, a prostitute on either arm, a smoking pistol in one hand.  He’s beside himself with glee, seeing that Jessica’s near the breaking point, right up until the moment when she stands and coolly takes her leave: “do carry on, monsieurs.  And mademoiselles.”  With this she’s out the door onto the darkling streets of Paris.

Jessica: 1, Dain: 0.

Note to authors: “baconbrain” is surely one of the most delightfully original calumnies one can lay upon another’s head, second, perhaps, only to last chapter’s “sapskull.”

Chapter 5: Singin’ (et Cetera) in the Rain

Coachless and umbrellaless, Jessica sets out for home as the storm clouds gather overhead.  Like a gentleman, of sorts, Dain comes along to escort her.  “It’s very chivalrous of you, Dain.  Rather sweet, actually.”

“‘What did you say?’ he asked in ominously low tones.  ‘Sweet,’ he said.”  He’s a hair’s breadth from knocking her block off.  But is it really anger?

Jab for jab they pick away at one each other’s calm composures until Jessica’s all but forced to kick Dain in the ankle and beat at his breast with her bonnet.  That does it!  As the rain begins to fall, they share their first kiss, a passionate, three-page-long affair that backs Dain up against a lamppost and turns him weak in the knees.

Damn.

Who in the hell has ever had a kiss like this?

Jessica goes home to bathe and prep herself for Madame Vraisses’s party, to which she’s determined to go, late or not.  Dain slinks back to his own home only for the time it takes to get rid of his whores and his whoring friends.  Then it’s off to dinner at his club and a nice night of stalking the woman he’s secretly falling in love with.  From a distance he spies her taking her leave of the other party-goers: “He wanted to rip out the pearls and plumes and pins…and watch the silky black veil ripple over her shoulders…white, gleaming in the lamplight.”

Yup, he’s hooked.

I’m nearly a hundred pages in now, and all I want to know is how Chase is going to maintain the rolling boil to which she’s now brought these characters’ passions.  How much more obloquy can they heap on one another’s heads?  How much more white-hot sexual tension can they withstand before they melt away?  How’s this going to play out for another two-hundred-plus pages?

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    MaryKate says:

    Thanks to Patrick, I learned a new word today: “obloquy” meaning state of disgrace. Thanks Patrick for both reading LoS and for expanding my vocabulary. You rock!

  2. 2
    JaneyD says:

    “Dain felt extremely reluctant to enter any room with a fille de joie, which created a serious problem, since he was just fastidious enough to dislike having a female in a reeking Parisian alleyway.”

    As a writer and an editor I cannot read a book containing that sentence.

    Finish the damn sentence, Loretta!  “having a female in a reeking Parisian alleyway…. DO WHAT?”    ;>)

    And oh, hey, since Dain dislikes doing the deed in alleys, it’s a sure bet he has done it more than once, thus resulting in his preference to avoid it. His clever new lady friend better check his wang for suspicious discharges.

    Ew.

    Yeah, baby, this is so NOT my kind of read.

    I’m going to dig up my Oscar Wilde books and read how words are supposed to go together in a clever and entertaining manner. 

    Ditto for my Baroness Orczy. When she went over the top, chewing the literary scenery like Gary Oldman on crack, it worked.

  3. 3
    chrocs says:

    It only gets better.

  4. 4
    Jane says:

    The best part of the entire book has yet to occur.

  5. 5
    Holly says:

    Janey:  For some reason, I’ve always liked “having” or “taking” as a synonym for screwing, like it is here.  It can be both satisfyingly primal alpha male yet kind of romantic at the same time.  (except when you’re talking about having a steet whore in an alley, of course).

    I’m only a little bit ahead of Patrick in this story right now, and the only thing that bothers me about Dain so far is his (so far) dismissive attitude to the child he fathered.  Of course, that’s entirely a function of my modern sensibilities.  A man of that era would not have felt any particular paternal attachment under the circumstances.

    I laughed when I read that Byron is considered an angel compared to Dain.  Byron was truly an asshole.

  6. 6
    Mary Beth says:

    Just wait, Patrick. The best scene is yet to come!

  7. 7
    Strategerie says:

    I love this book. I want to reread it (for the tenth time, but who’s counting?) just so I can experience The Big Plot Twist one more time. Ahh, Dain. Despite myself, I can’t quit him.

    Did I mention that I love this book? Loretta Chase, you are a goddess amongst romance authors.

    -S

  8. 8
    Madd says:

    … the only thing that bothers me about Dain so far is his (so far) dismissive attitude to the child he fathered.

    But he’s not dismissive. Dismissive implies he could care less. What Dain feels about the boyis far from that. He’s got, as they say, more issues than a newsstand! He thinks himself a monster and thinks the boys mother is the whoriest whore in all of whoredom. He therefore can’t conceive that there is anything good about the boy, who is a combo of them both. Not to mention that when he looks at the boy he sees himself and everything he hates about himself .. which is pretty much everything.

  9. 9
    Shelley says:

    For some reason, I’ve always liked “having” or “taking” as a synonym for screwing, like it is here.

    I do too.  I don’t know what it is about that word, but it makes me squirm (in a good way).

    Nobody does it like Loretta Chase.  I also really, really liked The Last Hellion.  Prettier hero but almost as much of a butthead, if not more so.

    This is one of the very, very few of these silly books I have gotten misty eyed over.  I just wanted to hold Dain to my heaving bosom and comfort him…all…night…long.

  10. 10
    kittyfischer says:

    Ha.  That scene with the glove is one of the most memorable scenes I’ve ever read.

  11. 11

    This was one my first romances as an adult.  What a lovely atidote to all those wretched, poorly written romances my girlfriend has passed on to me in high school!

    Put me down in the column that prefers “having” as a synonym to “screwing” or “fucking.”  Would the use of /to screw/ have even been correct slang for the period? Regardless, it just sounds too modern to my ears. And well, /to fuck/ just sounds too crass in this kind of story.

    Chase is certainly no Wilde or Orczy but I think that’s okay since she so clearly has a strong writterly voice of her own.  Don’t give up on her, JaneyD, until you’ve tried her. 

    And now, I think I’m going to have to re-read this one… if for no other reason than to re-visit the glove scene!

  12. 12
    closetcrafter says:

    It was so fun reading this and seeing that he likes it and gets it, and it’s true!!!  He hasn’t gotten to the best parts yet!!! Dude you so get it and you are either going to love or HATE the feelings he goes thru. The best part is that she isn’t able to perceive the effect she has on him.  IT’S PRICELESS.

  13. 13
    Lita says:

    I haven’t read this one in a few years, but it has to be my all-time favorite historical romance.

    I hate the new cover, though.  It’s actually worse than the old one – which was way old-skool:

    He looks too civilized and pretty to be Dain, and she looks like she’s getting poked up the butt with a thorny weed. 

    But the new cover – just ugh!

  14. 14
    Terry Odell says:

    This is SO not the sort of book I’d pick up.  But I just bought it and downloaded it to my ebook reader.  Had to do it.  Thanks for the great commentary.

  15. 15
    Smartty says:

    Hmmm… JaneyD, I think a dictionary is in order.
    That sentence is perfectly “finished”.
    Even if you take the word “have” back to the basic meaning “to partake of”.

    It must be difficult to find good books to read if you only allow definitions 1 or 2 to apply.  :-)

  16. 16
    Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    Put me down in the column that prefers “having” as a synonym to “screwing” or “fucking.” Would the use of /to screw/ have even been correct slang for the period? Regardless, it just sounds too modern to my ears. And well, /to fuck/ just sounds too crass in this kind of story.

    Well, both words certainly existed at the time, but would likely have been used only in a “just men” context such as the naughty Hellfire Club.  I recommend The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue by one Captain Grose (!) for anyone in want of a crash course in Regency slang.  It’s an eye-opener—many words that didn’t appear in mainstream fiction until the more permissive 20th century were in fact well-known about a century and a half earlier.

  17. 17
    Anne H says:

    As a writer and an editor I cannot read a book containing that sentence.

    Finish the damn sentence, Loretta!  “having a female in a reeking Parisian alleyway…. DO WHAT?” ;>)

    Finish what?  The sentence seems clear to me and I understand completely what she meant.

    Hmmm… JaneyD, I think a dictionary is in order.
    That sentence is perfectly “finished”.
    Even if you take the word “have” back to the basic meaning “to partake of”.

    It must be difficult to find good books to read if you only allow definitions 1 or 2 to apply.  :-)

    LOL, yes!!

    and the only thing that bothers me about Dain so far is his (so far) dismissive attitude to the child he fathered

    Not so much as dismissive, but as you have said, that is how people normally behaved at that time.  And that Dain has lots of issues, as pointed out.  One of these issues was his feelings of abandonment.  His mother left him and he did feel that maybe the child (Dominic) might not want to be separated from his mother.  He did tell Jessica to consider this, which she did.

  18. 18
    krsylu says:

    That glove scene! Got me all kinds of hot and bothered, I can tell you!

  19. 19
    mrshankly says:

    Ahh, I love this book and have really been looking forward to the review.  I’ve got the old school cover too, and I can never see anything but Johnny Castle, baby.  I can’t be the only one!

  20. 20
    Silver James says:

    Ditto for my Baroness Orczy. When she went over the top, chewing the literary scenery like Gary Oldman on crack, it worked.

    Oh I do love me some Scarlet Pimpernel. A friend in England sent me almost the complete set from her mother’s library. I gorged on the goodness that is the Baroness. She is my guilty pleasure!

  21. 21
    Susie Lee says:

    Ohhh, loved that glove scene. And the lampost part with Jessica trying to do Dain some damage by whacking him with her bonnet.  And Dain’s reaction.  That had me laughing.  But there’s more to come Patrick.

    Re Dain’s attitude towards his son – I agree with what some has been saying in defense of Dain.  I also want to add that he also provided for the child in what Jessica termed as generous.  I also thought that his reluctance to separate the child from the mother shows how deeply scarred he was by his mother’s desertion.

    As a writer and an editor I cannot read a book containing that sentence.

    Finish the damn sentence, Loretta!  “having a female in a reeking Parisian alleyway…. DO WHAT?” ;>)

    And oh, hey, since Dain dislikes doing the deed in alleys, it’s a sure bet he has done it more than once, thus resulting in his preference to avoid it. His clever new lady friend better check his wang for suspicious discharges.

    Ew.

    Yeah, baby, this is so NOT my kind of read.

    Okay, at this point, I really get what you’re saying.  This is indeed NOT your kind of book though I’m baffled as to why you are saying that it is not finished.  It’s not as if you didn’t understand what Chase was saying.  But there’s no need to“name drop”  Oscar Wilde and Baroness Emma Orczy in the process.  What has Chase got to do with them anyway.  Why the need to measure Chase’s writing with that of Wilde or Orczy?

  22. 22
    Appomattoxco says:

    JaneyD, I think I will follow your fine example of public service. I’m going look up a Doctor Who book blog and tell everyone that I only read Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.

    Well, maybe not since it would make me sound like a snob and troll. I’m not a writer/editor and can’t express myself as clearly as you can.

  23. 23
    corrine says:

    I don’t know how many times I’ve read this book, and yet re-reading it through Patrick’s POV, I’m on tenterhooks to get to The Best Part. I can’t wait! In fact, I might have to pick it up and re-read before my head explodes out of anticipation.

  24. 24
    Brenna says:

    I’ve always thought this was a gem of a book and wondered what would other people think about it, especially those who don’t read romance.  I’ve always felt that Loretta Chase is such a smart and witty writer and her book, LoS in particular, should be read by others outside the genre.  But I didn’t think about men readers at all because that would be such hurdle IMO.  But lo, here’s a non-romance reader and a male at that who had to be challenged to read romance giving a thumbs up to LoS.  Hooray for LC and for Patrick!

  25. 25
    Trumystique says:

    I love Loretta Chase but I am going to say something unpopular. Lord of Scoundrels is not my favorite, nor is Mr Impossible. I am squarely in the Lord Perfect camp. The repartee and banter of LoS is hot. I adored the scene in the antique/pawnshop/whatsit called with the glove. And the palpable sexual tension kept building… and I too was like Where will this end up? I think I was a bit disappointed to discover that Dain was a Man of Feeling.  At turns I felt like Shelley

    I just wanted to hold Dain to my heaving bosom and comfort him…all…night…long.

    and at other just wanted him to shut up about his man-xieties. My thought was : Put fangs on him and this could be a vampire romance with all the angst floating around! But thats the magic of Chase’s writing that she can take you to the extremes of emotion. She makes you care about Dain and Bertie even as you find them infuriating. Everyone has someone in their family who gets married and you always thank the God that someone wanted them and took them off the market. I felt exactly this way at the end of LoS and even more so after Captives of the Night. Chase is pretty brilliant that way IMO.

    Anyway Patrick’s blow by blow review makes me want to pick this up and read it again!

  26. 26
    Madd says:

    Everyone has someone in their family who gets married and you always thank the God that someone wanted them and took them off the market.

    Sadly, in my family, that was me. lol

    I laugh, but it’s true.

  27. 27
    Joanna says:

    Just picked this up, thanks to you, and I’m really enjoying it! In fact, I’d be reading it now if I weren’t at work. Lamesauce.

    As for the fangs on Dain – good as this book is, that would be a huge improvement!

  28. 28
    Suze says:

    What happened to the rest of the book?  Patrick?  Are you out there?

Comments are closed.

↑ Back to Top