Many months ago, Malin and Mrs. Julien got me reading Julie Anne Long’s Pennyroyal Green series. I read and reviewed What I Did For a Duke and then I went back and read the series from the beginning. I marathon read all but the penultimate book in the series. I always fully intend to review each book I read, but when I marathon a series like this the books blur together and I no longer have specific thoughts about specific books. Sometimes I’ll try to review a chunk of the series, which works better for some series than for others. I decided to put off reading It Started With a Scandal until I felt more distant from the rest of the series. Naturally, I began reading a bunch of other things and forgot that I had It Started with a Scandal. Until yesterday. Yesterday Malin published her review of the long awaited story of Pennyroyal Green’s tragic lovers, Lyon and Olivia, and gave it 5 stars. Obviously, I needed to get back on the Pennyroyal Green carriage.
I began reading It Started With a Scandal last night, and then had a bout of insomnia, so opted to finish the book rather than lying resentfully in the dark. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but again, my other option was not sleeping.
We met Lord Philippe Lavay as The Earl of Ardmay’s charming French sidekick in I Kissed an Earl. When we meet him here, he is considerably less charming while stuck recuperating in Pennyroyal Green. Elise Fountain is desperate for a job as her former employer has just been forced to fire her. Elise is the disgraced daughter of a gentleman physician and single mother of a 6 year old boy. Rather refreshingly, Elise was neither ravished nor seduced, she just fell in love with the wrong man in a time when premarital sex was not tolerated. Philippe hires Elise as his housekeeper, thus putting them in proximity to one another.
I had to suspend some disbelief that even a dispossessed French prince would partner with the “fallen” daughter of a gentleman physician. If you ignore the historical accuracy of the class disparity, Elise and Philippe are pretty perfect for each other. The story is a bit Beauty and the Beast with a gender flipped Gaston. Elise and Philippe’s relationship begins to build when Elise chooses to be kind. That act of kindness begets other acts of kindness and emotional intimacy. Along with Beauty and The Beast, there’s also a dollop of Gift of the Magii. In the end, I found their story a satisfying read though certainly not a classic.