historical romance · romance

First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn – Book Review

Title: First Comes Scandal (Rokesbys #4)
Author: Julia Quinn
Genre: Historical Romance
Publication Date: April 2020

She was given two choices….

Georgiana Bridgerton isn’t against the idea of marriage. She’d just thought she’d have some say in the matter. But with her reputation hanging by a thread after she’s abducted for her dowry, Georgie is given two options: live out her life as a spinster or marry the rogue who has ruined her life.

Enter option number three…

As the fourth son of an earl, Nicholas Rokesby is prepared to chart his own course. He has a life in Edinburgh, where he’s close to completing his medical studies, and he has no time – or interest – to find a wife. But when he discovers that Georgie Bridgerton – his literal girl next door – is facing ruin, he knows what he must do.

A marriage of convenience… (Goodreads).

Oh boy, this was a disappointing read.

Well, I should probably wait before writing this review as I’ve literally just finished reading the book but I have some pent up emotions that I need to get off my chest. The first being, where was the rest of the book???!!!! At a mere 288 pages this book was 100 pages shy of every other story in the series. Quite frankly (as this was not labelled a novella) it needed those extra pages.

The Rokesbys series (one that I truly adore from Quinn) has been a splendid mix of daring drama and adventure thus far, the likes of which you rarely see in historical romance. The previous book in the series, The Other Miss Bridgerton, is one of my all-time favourite historical reads. It involves pirates, an adventurous woman, a nomadic and witty man and a fast-paced plot of kidnapping followed by heroism.

When I compare that to this book… it’s like I’m reading an entirely different series and I didn’t get anything of what I had been after. I was expecting a reluctant marriage of convenience, built up tension, some medical emergencies (considering the ‘hero’ was a training physician) and a sweet HEA. What we got instead was a fast-tracked story with little to any conflict. It was purely boy meets girl, (almost) insta-love, then HEA.

This was such a shame as the story had so much potential. I really enjoyed reading the multiple POVs of Georgiana (a strong woman with an innate sense of curiosity and a wicked intelligence) and Nicholas (a man who values women’s intelligence and allowed Georgiana an almost unlimited amount of freedom). They were interesting separately and worked well together.

What I did not enjoy was the complete lack of a middle to the story. The beginning was so fun to read! I was hooked very quickly with Nicholas’ displeasure at having to marry for convenience (because he wanted to marry for love) and Georgiana’s great sense of humour in their interactions. After this, things very quickly progressed with zero conflict (between them or with others). Caught unawares I soon found myself at the ‘epilogue’. I mean… can you call it an epilogue if the story was severely lacking substance?

In this epilogue (without wanting to share too many spoilers) it became apparent that Georgiana’s fight for a woman’s right to an advanced education was never granted. That was it. WHY hadn’t Quinn explored this fight, Nicholas’ support of Georgiana’s plight and the resulting heart-break in the middle of the book? I’d have been happy with insta-love and outside conflict in the form of a fight for education. Instead we got none of this.

I’m sorry, this is turning in to a ramble. My disappointment is high and I just can’t stop. I’ve rated this two stars because there was some genuinely great potential here and Quinn’s characters were likeable (if not fully developed throughout the story).

A sad 2 Stars from me.

11 thoughts on “First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn – Book Review

    1. I was quite disappointed in this one too as I really enjoyed the series (and Quinn’s writing). I wish this had some more conflict, there was a lot of potential areas for conflict. I’m glad it wasn’t just me thinking this, Lili 🙂 – Jen

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    1. I know! I had such high expectations and this one was just a disappointment. Shorter stories shouldn’t have to sacrifice the inclusion of conflict and tension for the sake of page numbers. Thanks for the comment, Emer 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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