Signet, Jan 2003, 6.50, 352 pp.
In 1798, after twelve years making a fortune in India, commoner Gideon Harwood returns home to help his family. Though he has his two sisters at hand, Gideon's brother Caleb is missing. Lady Stanwell informs Gideon she has pertinent information involving Caleb, but when he visits her she is dead from an accidental fall. Gideon visits the grieving Lord Stanwell, but he offers nothing, as he has no idea what his deceased wife knew.
In London, Gideon runs into Lord Stanwell, catching him in a scandalous situation. To insure he gains Gideon's silence, Stanwell bribes him with the hand of his daughter in marriage and entrance amidst the Ton for his sisters. Gideon agrees to marry Lady Julia, currently in her third season and the recipient of twelve proposals all rejected as she plans to wed for love, on the condition that she pretends to love him in public. Given no choice, Julia and Gideon marry, but that sham turns into real thing if the commoner and the lady can learn to trust in the love of their partner.
SCANDAL is an enjoyable Regency romance with a twist not often seen in the genre. The story line contains delightful subplots to include the snail game, Gideon's investigation for his missing sibling, Stanwell's secret, and other pleasant foibles. Gideon's dilemma is intriguing. He fears telling Julia the secret about her father because he thinks that could end their relationship; yet he panics over not revealing it to her for fear if she learns the truth elsewhere that would end their relationship. Heather Cullman entertains the troops with this wonderful historical.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner