passion rating: hot
Like Ms. MacLean's series, this review is by the numbers. Here are eleven reasons for my disinterest in Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart.
1) The title is overwrought. Ms. Maclean’s trio of linked books is the Love by Numbers trilogy, and the titles all contain a little rhyme. I found this one to be particularly odd. I rarely think of scandals as something one starts. Every time, I picked up the book, I lapsed into thoughts of other titular options. Eleven Secrets to Tell to Marry Very Well. Eleven Scenes to Throw to Catch a Duke as a Beau. Eleven Kisses to Bestow to Become a Noble’s Ho. I suspect had the book been more engaging, I wouldn’t have been so distracted by its silly name.
2) The writing is breathless to the point of annoyance. Ms. MacLean relies on italics and/or sentence fragments to show her characters’ drama-laden inner thoughts. Paragraphs like this one made me wince.
“No. They were in a public place. He had to stop. She deserved better. They had to stop.Before he ruined her."3) The book is written with the assumption the reader has read the two novels that proceed it. I hadn’t and thus had a hard time following the plot and the lives of many of the characters.
4) The heroine, Juliana Fiori, the daughter of a dead Italian merchant and a disgraced bitchy English aristocrat, is so stereotypically Italian she’s almost a caricature. She’s tempestuous, wild, impulsive, and voluble. She, twice, knees a man in his inguine. She is, just by being, a scandal. Juliana didn’t seem real to me — I felt as though she were symbolic, a representation of passion, rather than a genuine woman.
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