Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Review/Giveaway! A Scandalous Proposal, by Kasey Michaels (TLC Book Tours)

A Scandalous Proposal
(The Little Season, Book 2)
Kasey Michaels
Mass Market Paperback, 377 pages
March 29, 2016
Historical Romance, Humor, Mystery

The drama of London's Little Season continues in USA Today bestselling author Kasey Michaels's vibrant new series featuring three courageous war heroes surrendering at last to love…

Who would have thought a man could tire of being fawned over and flirted with? Ever since Cooper Townsend returned from France as a hero with a new title, he has been relentlessly pursued by every marriageable miss in London. Perhaps that's why the unconventional Miss Daniella Foster is so appealing. She doesn't simper or flatter. She only wants him to help unmask her sister's blackmailer, and Coop has never been so intrigued…

Let every other woman in London fight over His Lordship's romantic attentions. Marriage is the last thing on Dany's mind…at least until she samples his illicit kisses. Now, as a mutual enemy races to ruin Coop's reputation and Dany's family name, an engagement of convenience will spark an unlikely passion that might save them both.

Purchase Links
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I received a complementary copy from
 the author in exchange for
an honest review. My personal opinions, and
no one else's, are expressed herein.

This novel takes place in the Regency period, which is my favorite when reading historical romance novels. The manners and complicated intrigues of the ton, as the high society of the time was known, have always fascinated me, as they remind me of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Michaels has definitely followed in Austen's footsteps; this novel is full of wit and tongue-in-cheek humor. It was a total delight to read! The author pokes gentle fun at the customs of Regency society, while weaving a tale that, in spite of its serious side, is frequently downright hilarious, as well. 

The main characters are just amazingly wonderful! Their dialogues are full of snark and comical innuendoes. I found myself chuckling at times, smirking at others, and frequently laughing out loud. These two people manage to keep their goal in sight -- to catch a nefarious blackmailer -- while still enjoying each other's company to the utmost, falling in love in the process, thereby making this reader thoroughly enjoy the whole thing!

Cooper Townsend (known as 'Coop'), is The Hero of Quatre Bras, a battle in the war against Napoleon. His heroic reputation has been comically embellished through two chapbooks, written anonymously, which have then been circulated all over London. As a result, poor Coop has been besieged by young ladies and their mothers, eager to make a good match, as the Crown has rewarded him with the title of Baron, as well as a large estate. He has therefore decided to find himself a wife; he thinks this will put a stop to all the nonsense. How he will later get rid of the wife, however, (as this will be a marriage of convenience) has not quite entered his mind.

Here's a sample from one of the chapbooks that had me laughing out loud:

"The most Beauteous and Grateful young lady, her name always to be a mystery, her Cornflower Blue Eyes awash in Diamond-Bright tears, turned to our Modest and Abashed Hero, and, quite to his Astonished Surprise, flung her soft round body at his chest, so that he was Without Recourse save to Hold Her Close as He could feel the Frantic Beating of her Virgin Heart...." (pg. 13; capital letters are in the chapbook text) 

Miss Daniella Foster (known as 'Dany') is looking for A Hero. She needs to help her silly, vapid sister, Marietta (known as 'Mari'), escape the clutches of a blackmailer, before her husband Oliver (whose hilarious title is Lord Cockermouth) returns from a trip. 

Ironically, Coop is being blackmailed as well, and by the same person. In his case, though, his life is at stake.

When they fortuitously meet, Coop and Dany become partners in unraveling this mystery. Coop is immediately taken by Dany's indigo eyes, and she by his blond good looks. The rest, as they say, is history!

I loved the fact that Dany is no simpering, giggly 'damsel in distress', but instead, a very smart, resourceful young woman whose cool head and unconventional ways soon capture Coop's heart. 

Coop is not only attracted to Dany, but admires her, as well; thus, he never treats her in a condescending manner. In spite of his reputation for common sense behavior, he's not stuffy at all. In fact, he's not above laughing at himself. In a historical period full of rigid societal conventions, he chooses a woman who doesn't quite conform to the patterns of polite society. (As you will see below, he is definitely his mother's son!) In the hands of a less skilled author, this relationship might have come off as anachronistically unrealistic, but Michaels brings it off in a very convincing manner.

The secondary characters are no less delightful and hilarious! Coop's friend Darby Travers, who is also Viscount Nailbourne, is a case in point. He gives Coop very sound advice couched in witty comments that, again, highlight the silly conventions of the time. He's also an excellent sleuth, helping Coop and Dany to unearth clues regarding the mysterious blackmailer. 

Coop's mother is another great secondary character; she's a real trip! She's unconventional to the core (she has obviously had a great influence on her son), and all her comments are outrageously funny. Coop calls her by her first name -- Minerva. This, of course, is also the name of the Roman goddess of wisdom, and Minerva Townsend has plenty of that, which she liberally dispenses to her son and his friends, whether or not they wish to hear it. Her pithy, snarky observations of the society of her time are spot on, and highlight her quirky personality. In short, she can either be a Formidable Foe, or A Great Ally and Friend, as the case may be. Fortunately, she and Dany hit it off right away.

Here's the author's description of Minerva:

"Mrs. Townsend adjusted her spectacles on her splendid, hawk-like beak. She didn't need them, or so she swore, and only employed them as a prop to give her gravitas. Coop had to admit that whenever she looked at him overtop the gold frames (not to mention the hawk-like proboscis), gravitas commenced to spew out all over the place as would hot lava on the unsuspecting villagers below in the valley." (pg. 80)  

Rigby and his fiancée, Clarise, who is an American, are a secondary couple who also provide a barrel of laughs. Rigby is totally besotted with Clarise, who lovingly leads him along by the nose, getting whatever she wants from him. She does sincerely love him, though. These two have no hesitation about making out in public, as Dany and Coop soon discover when they go on an outing with them. Through the character of Clarise, Michaels also contrasts and satirizes British and American mores and manner of speech.

I have to be sure to mention Timmerly, who is Mari's butler. Surely no butler in the history of Regency romance has ever had the nerve to direct such sarcastic, pithy observations to his employers. He, too, brings a touch of humor to this novel.  

I don't think I've ever read a romance novel which so expertly interweaves mystery with romance and humor. This is wonderful escapist fare! At the same time, it's a very entertaining romp through the Regency period. Michaels succeeded in keeping this reader interested and in A Mirthful Mood throughout!

Summing up, I recommend that anyone wishing to spend some time enjoying the foibles and hilarious adventures -- as well as the Impassioned Romance -- of a pair of Well-matched, Witty, Smart, Resourceful Characters and their attendant Kooky Relatives and Various Interesting Friends, swiftly avail themselves of a copy of this novel. You will definitely not regret spending time with these terrific characters, and will thoroughly enjoy the romance, humor, and kooky mystery!      


Kasey Michaels is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 100 books (she doesn't count them). Kasey has received three coveted Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly, two for the historical romances, The Secrets of the Heart and The Butler Did It, and a third for the contemporary romance Love to Love You Baby (that shows diversity, you see). She is a recipient of the RITA, a Waldenbooks and Bookrak Bestseller award, and many awards from Romantic Times magazine, including a Career Achievement award for her Regency era historical romances. She is an Honor Roll author in Romance Writers of America, Inc. (RWA)

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  1. I also enjoy Regency novels so much, they're just so entertaining :3 and I'm a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice! :D

    This one sounds really nice, I don't know why, but I always love female characters who don't want to get married, but then find a guy who changes their mind <3

    Gotta love this man's title by the way hahaha

    Lipstick and Mocha

    1. Hi, Carla!

      Oh, they're definitely VERY entertaining! As for "Pride and Prejudice", I like it a lot, although my favorite classic romance is "Jane Eyre".

      You have GOT to read "A Scandalous Proposal". It's SO funny! And the romantic couple -- Dany and Coop -- are just GREAT together! I agree with you way about female protagonists who don't want to get married, and then meet a guy who convinces them to marry him!

      Yeah, that was one of the very funny things in this novel! When I first read the name, I burst out laughing!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!! :)

  2. These characters sound like an absolute delight! Thanks for being a part of the tour.

    1. Hi, Heather!

      Indeed they are! I highly recommend this novel, especially for all the Regency lovers out there!

      You're very welcome for my participation! As you can see, I greatly enjoyed writing this review! Thanks for commenting!! :)

  3. Fantastic review, Maria! This books sounds so entertaining, and the characters sound wonderful! You had me at snark and comical innuendos :) I love a book that makes me laugh. I'm adding this to the TBR. Thank you for your review and for the giveaway.

    1. Hi, Michele!

      Oh, thank you so much!!

      This book is definitely VERY entertaining, and yes, the characters are wonderful! As you saw from the quotes I included in my review, there are lots of funny moments in this novel!

      I hope you enjoy it when you read it! I'm looking forward to your review!

      You're very welcome for the review, as well as the giveaway! And thanks to you for dropping by and leaving such a lovely comment!! :)


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