Monday, April 22, 2013

A note of Scandal by Nicky Penttila

What’s the harm in a little white lie?
Especially when it could carry so much good: a new life for a wounded soldier, catharsis after long years of war—and an opportunity for lady composer Olivia Delancey to finally hear her music played in public.
Newspaper publisher Will Marsh refuses to compound the sins of his father’s generation by taking money to print propaganda. But with the end of the wars in France and America, he needs something new to drive Londoners to grab his paper first. Why not publish the score of the “Tune That Took Waterloo,” by a wounded vet, no less?
As Olivia struggles to keep her secrets from this unsuitably alluring publisher, and Will fights to find the truth without losing his hold on this bright-eyed angel who has descended into his life, both discover another sort of truth.
Being the talk of London can be bad—or very, very good.
Interesting elements:
The newspaper-publishing setting is very rare in regencies but fascinating to the author, a former newspaperwoman.
Music plays a big role: Olivia plays pianoforte and Spanish-style guitar; there are three very different concerts in the story.
Water also is big: the hero falls in the sound and nearly drowns; the heroine surprises the hero during a steamy bath.
Olivia lies to help a wounded veteran and he is a strong secondary character. Services and conditions for war veterans were poor at this time.

My Review:

I have never read an historical fiction/romance that involved waterloo before. This was a great twist.  You get wounded soldiers, newspaper publishers, a variety of social levels, and women hiding behind men so that they can “create” art or in this case music.

I must say the first 5 chapters were a bit difficult to read. Maybe it was me but there seemed to be a lot of vocabulary I had to look up. But once I hit about chapter 6 it was smooth sailing.

I found myself cheering for Olivia and Will, wanting to slap Olivia’s parents into reality, hold Martin to make him feel better, and just plain annoyed with the self absorbed, selfish upper classes.

Olivia is always trying to help others and never seems to be appreciated; her project so to speak in this book is to help Martin and Mary so that they can be married.  Olivia is also a very talented composer.  Problem is Olivia lives in a time when women were not allowed to do things like create art in any way. When Olivia sends Martin a piece of music she has written he plays if for his regiment as a march an everyone falls in love with the tune. This gives Olivia an idea, let Martin pass the music off as his own and the lies and deceptions spiral out of control from there.

I truly enjoy this romance and you will too. 

Nicky Penttila writes stories with adventure and love, and often with ideas and history as well. Her favorite settings are faraway cities and countries, because then she *must* travel there, you know, for research. She lives in Maryland with her reading-mad husband and amazing rescue cat. She’s chattiest on Twitter, @sunshinyday, and can also be found at and on Facebook.

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