A Proper Scandal
By: Esther Hatch
Publication: May 1st 2019 by Covenant Communications
Genre: Historical Fiction, Regency
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!_
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Goodreads description--Grace Sinclair has been callously cast out of her home. And though taken in as an orphaned child by the vicar and his wife, her unsurpassed beauty makes it impossible for her to remain in the vicar’s household—with two daughters of their own about to enter Society, the vicar and his wife see Grace as nothing but competition. Thankfully, Grace’s estranged Aunt Bell has agreed to take her in to her home in London. But Grace soon learns her situation has just gotten much worse.
It takes only a moment’s acquaintance for Grace to ascertain that her aunt has married a detestable rake. And Aunt Bell, recognizing the danger of having her lovely niece too near her husband, gives Grace an ultimatum: the young woman has two weeks to find a man to marry, after which she will be turned out. With no experience in the art of attracting a husband, Grace quickly realizes that a worthy suitor might not be so easy to ensnare.
A Proper Scandal is my second Esther Hatch book. I have been pleasantly surprised by both of these books even though neither has been perfect. I'm excited to see more from her in the future.
Usually I start my reviews by discussing the female lead, but this time I'm going to start with Nate. Nate is about as trustworthy as they come. Despite an immediate attraction to Grace, he does all he can to keep interactions between them above board. Even though Grace basically tells him that she plans to trap him into marrying her, he can't seem to stay away from her completely.
Grace was so easy to get attached to. I felt sympathetic towards her situation almost immediately. Her parents are both dead and she's basically being kicked out of the home that has sheltered her for the last several years because she's too pretty. She's very naive and innocent considering she grew up at the vicarage. She longs for a stable home and a family who will love her. Unfortunately, she doesn't get that from her aunt's house either. Her aunt's second husband is barely keeping his hands off Grace. She's not safe in this house. Her uncle only keeps his hands off her because he needs her to ensnare a man whose father her uncle owes quite a bit of money to.
I get a little frustrated with this time period because so much could be fixed between the characters often with just a frank conversation. Yet this is one of the driving conflicts of books from this time period. Grace and Nathan actually do breech etiquette on several occasions with some rather frank discussions. Only they just don't get around to all of the conversations necessary. On the other hand, I love this time period because it's pretty much love stories without the modern day sexual content (although certainly, those books exist as well).
That being said, I feel like the story could have benefitted by Uncle Bell making it a bit more clear that if Grace failed in her task to ensnare a husband that can clear his debts with the man's father then he would attempt to act on his own personal attraction to Grace. I mean I knew he was slimy and all, but I often got confused with why Grace couldn't have found a workaround of some kind. Knowing there was an almost constant threat to her other than innuendo would have done more to help me feel her desperation as much as she did. I understood her Uncle's motivation, but her's felt sometimes unclear. I feel like I'm not explaining this well, but I'm trying to avoid specifics.
A Proper Scandal wasn't a perfect read for me, but it was really close. I didn't want to put it down. I read like 80% in one day which is awesome for me. I can't wait to read more from Esther Hatch as I have a feeling that her writing will just get better and better. A Proper Scandal gets 4 Stars. Have you read A Proper Scandal? What did you think? Let me know!