The Scarlet Corset

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A Perfect Scoundrel by Heather Cullman

Posted by Mistress on August 4, 2008

The Redemption Of Scum

Jane Wentworth is a shy, mousy, and all around pathetic creature who happens to be in love with Lord Quentin Somerville. Unfortunately, Quentin is besotted with perfection itself, perfection being her step-sister Clarissa. Now if you’ve read “For All Eternity” you know that Quentin is the pus that infects the mucus that cruds up the fungus that feeds on the pond scum. So poor, sad Jane is very unfortunate indeed. Jane and Clarissa have a very good relationship, they truly like each other and I’m utterly grateful for that cos if I read one more book with an evil step-sister I’m going to throw a bitch fit. In Quentin’s pursuit of sunshine, he treats Jane with a modicum of respect which of course leads our heroine to think that this is her time to shine. When Clarissa falls ill one fateful day she makes Jane attend this masqued ball in her costume. Jane of course is both mortified and thrilled by the idea of going as her dazzling step-sister. She goes in pursuit of her first foot popping kiss even if the gentleman in question thinks she’s somebody else. Wonderful.

Unbeknownst to all, Lord Sack of Shit has plotted and schemed with his bestfriend to trap Clarissa into matrimony. See, he whines and whines about how he’s just an untitled second son. No matter that he’s prettier than all of ton-ville. No matter that he’s so rich, he’s convinced that every marriage-minded miss is only after his fortune. He’s a bitter, envious, son of a – err – gun that he’s positive that only Clarissa will do and that the only way she’ll marry him is if she has no choice. Do you see where we’re going now?? What a catch.

At the grand ball Lord Slimebag traps Clarissa-costumed Jane in the garden and makes out with her. Like every unproper lady, Jane doesn’t put up a fight and starts declaring i love you! i love you! like a half wit deb. With his audience in place he unmasks her and that’s when the shit really hits the fan. Long story short, Quentin’s daddy (who controls his purse strings) forces them to marry, but not before he calls her a lying, mercenary bitch. It wasn’t the blissful union she expected. On the happiest day of her life, he (overcome with lust and rage) rapes her then sends her away to his decrepit estate somewhere in the wilds of England-ville. To do what? To wither away in misery of course!

Quentin’s character has been so thoroughly brutalized and mutilated that by the time the author was done with him there was no chance in Hades he could be redeemed. Or can he? dum dum dum dum…

During their estrangement, Jane flourishes and grows a spine. She discovers her excellence in estate management and turns the once floundering town into a prosperous disney-like village. She even sacks his jack-ass thief of an estate manager. So when Quentin comes to take her back to London (under Dear Papa’s strict orders) he’s bitchsmacked to discover that his once meek doormat of a wife is now Queen Supreme in his barely recognizable estate (replete with dancing animals and adoring townfolk). His discovery makes him furious (of course!) How dare she make his estate self-sufficient! How dare she nurse the ill! Jane is none too happy to see the dickwad she married either. However, not long after his return Quentin, with much consternation, realizes what an ingrate scum bag he’s been and begins to walk the straight and narrow into the path of redemption.

Quentin’s repentance was executed pretty well if not too quick. His reformation was truly fun to watch and the courtship of his wife a joy to read. It was infinitely satisfying when he realized that he was utterly useless as a human being and pushed himself to be a real man. Upon realization the he didn’t know jack shit, he rid himself of his lordly airs and prejudice against the unwashed masses. He even asked farmers about things he doesn’t know jack about and got down and dirty (working around town! – get your mind out of the gutter) with the rest of them. He also realizes what a scum bag he was to Jane and works extremely hard to woo and win her over. Admittedly, he doesn’t grovel as long as I would have liked him to. He went from biggest.jack-ass.slime-bag.ever to male mary sue for the masses of all time in almost a split second. I do, however, like the fact that they become friends first and learn to trust each other before jumping right back into the sack. It’s just that, I don’t know, I suppose I would have enjoyed a little more nut-cracking.

Other than the initial nastiness between Quentin and Jane in the beginning of the book there are no big misunderstandings or any other stupid plot devices. The prose flows very easily but it gets a bit dragging in the last couple of chapters. Everyone is so damn nice to each other that I found it overly-saccharine, cloying, and trite. I mean, ok, you love each other, we get it, enough. All that said, this book is on its way to my keeper shelf. It’s rough at the start but if you stick with it, it grows on you. Like a fungal infection.


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