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The Rogue Files #2

The Scandal of It All

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It takes two to make a scandal…

What kind of woman ventures into London’s most notorious pleasure club? An outsider like Graciela, the Duchess of Autenberry, snubbed time and time again by society because of her Spanish roots. Ela longs to take a lover for a single, wild night, and within the walls of Sodom there are gentlemen to suit every forbidden taste. If only she were not so drawn to the smoldering Lord Strickland…a dangerous man who sees beyond her mask, and could ruin her reputation with a mere whisper.

Lord Strickland never permitted himself to fantasize about the sultry, off-limits lady, but then he never expected to find Ela in a place so wicked, looking for what he’s more than too happy to give. She may not be to the ton’s taste, but she suits him perfectly. First, however, he must convince her to trust in this dangerous desire—and in the promise of forever unleashed by one wild, scandalous night.

376 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published July 25, 2017

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About the author

Sophie Jordan

68 books7,983 followers
Sharie Kohler

Sophie Jordan took her adolescent daydreaming one step further and penned her first historical romance in the back of her high school Spanish class. This passion led her to pursue a degree in English and History.

A brief stint in law school taught her that case law was not nearly as interesting as literature - teaching English seemed the natural recourse. After several years teaching high school students to love Antigone, Sophie resigned with the birth of her first child and decided it was time to pursue the long-held dream of writing.

In less than three years, her first book, Once Upon A Wedding Night, a 2006 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Nominee for Best First Historical, hit book shelves. Her second novel, Too Wicked To Tame, released in March 2007 with a bang, landing on the USA Today Bestseller's List.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 325 reviews
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
1,987 reviews11.7k followers
July 23, 2017
Somehow, in a short time she had become his sole desire. He wanted her with an intensity that would not go away until it found its release.

This was my first book by this author and I'm an instant fan! The Scandal Of It All was wickedly delicious and sinfully swoony. Not having read the first book in this series (quit side eyeing me, OCD police), I wasn't sure how smoothly I'd be able to jump into the story. Turns out, I had no problem at all. The heroine of this book is the step mother of the Duke of Autenberry, who had a very big secondary character role in the previous book. And while you can definitely see the happenings of the previous book carried over into this one, the author gives plenty of background that a new reader wouldn't be even remotely lost.

Graciela, the Duchess of Autenberry, is a widow that's tired of having no passion in her life. Her daughter is almost of marrying age. Her step daughter and step son are fully grown. After a loveless marriage with a cold and calloused man that took every opportunity to put her down, she's not a woman of confidence. Her coloring and Spanish blood ensure that she always gets looked down at by the ladies of London's ton. Yearning for the touch of a passionate lover, she caves to her best friend's nagging and goes to a club known for it's darker pleasures. Only the man she meets the attention of is not one she expected.
She felt as though she were facing a stranger, contrary to the nonsense she was spouting. A man who was stripping her of her clothes with his eyes to see all that lay beneath.

Lord Strickland is her step son's best friend and several years her junior. But that never stopped him from fantasizing about the beautiful Graciela. Now that he knows that she's interested in the same darker desires, he'll stop at nothing to have her.

I fell hard and fast for Collin. This is a man that knows what he wants and goes after it with a single minded intent, damn the consequences. His grandmother is on his back to pick a finance but the one woman he craves is the one that he can't have.

What begins is a back and forth laden with enough sexual tension to really set things on fire. It was utterly delicious. As much as I wanted to be frustrated with Ela at her adamant refusal of Collin, I can understand why she was the way she was. This is a woman beaten down by what society expects of her and what her husband engrained in her to believe. It took a while for her to clear the fog. I loved the way that Collin goes after her and the passion brimming between them.

There was a little bit of drama at the end that seemed just a bit over the top, but it also served to tie everything together nicely. The epilogue even managed to make me tear up. And while I wished for a bit more closer with Ela and her step son, it looks like we'll be getting that side of things in his book next and I already can't wait!

ARC courtesy of publisher in exchange for an honest review

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Profile Image for Jessica .
2,014 reviews12.7k followers
June 29, 2021
TW for miscarriage

This was a lot of fun, though it did turn pretty serious at the end, so be aware of that. Ela has been a widow for about 10 years, but she's only 35. When a friend around her age dies, Ela decides it's time that she takes a lover and enjoys life. She doesn't expect to have feelings for Colin, her stepson's best friend, who is only 6 years younger than her. Ela is adamant they can never be together, but Colin is persistent and breaks down Ela's defenses. Of course, you know drama will ensue if anyone learns of their affair. I thought it was fun, but it was a bit annoying how taboo the relationship was seen by society because there was only a 6 year age gap between them. I did enjoy having an older heroine and how she was discovering pleasure for the first time. After talking to a friend, it was a bit annoying how the miscarriage/infertility plot line played out near the end, but I enjoyed the romance overall.
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,333 reviews1,825 followers
July 13, 2017
It was one thing to take a suitable lover and another thing to go about the motions of making that happen.

THE SCANDAL OF IT ALL wasn't all that I was expecting it to be. Despite some of my disappointment I would like to acknowledge that some of the letdown is my fault because of how I thought this story would play out after the tiny bit of foreshadowing in book one as well as my interpretation of the synopsis.

"Word of your engagement has reached me."
"Well, seeing as I arranged for the announcement to be in the paper, this isn't a surprise."

I loved the concept of this story. I loved Graciela from book one, and I totally loved Strickland too. I figured throwing them together in a situation that starts in a dark and scandalous pleasure club, with the added bonus of a bit of a forbidden romance element -- as she's not only older but also he's her stepson's best friend -- would hit all the right notes.

That was the dichotomy of men and women. Women had reputations to lose. Men merely had reputations.

But like book one Jordan has a lot of repetition peppered throughout this story. The same arguments over and over again. "I'm too old, you're too young, what about my stepson, this doesn't make you my lover, what about my family.." don't get me wrong, these are all valid points and concerns. I completely agree with her. But somewhere along the line you are just protesting too much and it gets frustrating and boring. I could totally sympathize with Colin's constant counterarguments even if he was pretty highhanded about a lot of things.

If ever a man exuded potency and vigor, it was he. He certainly was the very picture of virility. He could probably impregnate a woman if they waltzed too close together.

I also missed the fiery and solid Graciela from book one. She felt very.. weakwilled in this installment. Lots of stuttering and gasping and yes it's historical but come on. I wanted more Spanish fire and less wilted rose. I suppose it could be in keeping with all the revelations we're given about the truth of Ela's previous marriage but I just didn't like the personality change and her constant cowardice and attempts to flee her circumstances.

What she had in her life no longer felt like enough. She felt a void. A desperate itching need for more. For more now. And more tomorrow.

This is also the second book in a row where I feel the big love confessionals are just.. kind of out of nowhere. I don't know. The groundwork is there and some subtle moments do reveal hints but it just feels kind of awkward when it's finally all laid out there. I don't end up believing it. I definitely think Jordan should've built on all of Colin's repressed longing and had his inner monologue been more about fighting everything he's always felt and trying to keep from coming on too strong, to keep Ela from being spooked, instead of just pushing his desire for an affair.

"I'm not the bride you wanted."
"But you're the bride I'm going to have."

That said. This book had a very strong ending of which I refuse to even hint at or touch on. Suffice it to say I had my heart in my throat at one point and tears in my eyes at another. THE SCANDAL OF IT ALL starts out scandalously wonderful, peters out in the middle, and ends with a flourish. So you'll understand why my views are a bit mixed on this one.

"You don't have to hide from me. Hide from the rest of the world if you must, but not from me. Never me."

I'm definitely committed to the series and will absolutely read what comes out next but I do wonder if this is an author whose style just won't ever wow me. Time will tell.

3.25 "if I've an itch that needs rubbing, I'll find someone other than you to rub it" stars

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for Bookphenomena (Micky) .
2,346 reviews366 followers
July 5, 2017
This was simply a gorgeous book that thrilled me from cover to cover. After a few pages, when I realised there was going to be an age difference, with an older heroine, a sex club and forbidden love element, I was all in. Oh, and did I mention single parent? This book is like a beautiful marriage of themes that often don't feature in historical romance and it all worked so beautifully.

Graciela is a Spanish-born Duchess by marriage and disillusioned by widowhood. She is finally persuaded by her friend to live a little and this 'living' leads her into a very sticky situation with Lord Colin Strickland. Colin was man who didn't make assumptions nor prescribe to the prejudices around Ela's heritage. Colin was definitely an alpha but he listened and cared. Ela was on a journey of self discovery and all these elements were rich in terms of story. The heat and chemistry were perfection. At about 70% I thought I knew where the story was going but it twisted painfully, thrillingly and I was there for the writing.

I have previously read Sophie Jordan's NA series and really enjoyed it but I have now come to realise what I have been missing out on by not reading her historical works. I am feeling rather lucky to have a nice back catalogue to work through. Highly recommended for any historical romance fan.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through Edelweiss, in return for an honest review.

Reviewed for Jo&IsaLoveBooks Blog.
Profile Image for Lucy Qhuay.
1,168 reviews141 followers
September 21, 2017

I'm sad to say the best thing about this book is the cover.

In theory this could have been very interesting, starting with the heroine being older than the hero and ending with the hero being her stepson's best friend.

However, I soon lost interest when I saw that for all her 'matronly' years and wisdom Graciela was weaker than most women half her age and Colin was just a childish, horny little earl, sniffing around the heels of the woman who was like a mother to his best friend.

Also, I can't begin to explain the frustration I felt when they pratically ruined every meaningful relationship they had because of a relationship that, as far as I'm concerned, was all about lust and sex.

I think it's time to call it quits on Sophie Jordan's books.
Profile Image for Antonella.
3,081 reviews415 followers
September 29, 2020
here is some rambling!!

first; these covers are gorgeous

singing that Taylor song yup...

second; this book was better than book one, the steam level is much higher

third; I really don't like Marcus in both books so I really want to read his book to see how that turns out

fourth; I think I realized what is not working for me in this series..it is the transition from conflict to making up..it is just not there, missing & very awkward with the whole story...it is done very badly
Profile Image for Inna.
1,350 reviews158 followers
October 25, 2022
2 stars. I've been putting off writing this review; I was so disappointed that I didn't want to think about the book after finishing it. This author seems to have so much potential with her storylines, and then she squanders all that potential when it comes to details. There's a distinct lack of historical accuracy with Ms. Jordan's writing, but the historical details that she does choose to include are infuriating and often clumsily written.

This story has an older heroine and a younger hero. The heroine is the widowed stepmother of the hero's best friend (stepson is also the hero of book 3). This stepmother fantasy turned romance is likely to be a turn off to some readers, but it didn't bother me as she's really only a few years older than the hero. The story starts with the heroine choosing to take her sexuality in hand and go to a sex club to find herself a lover. And that's where the good parts of this story end. Unfortunately, this book may as well be a manual for double standards. And while some of these double standards are historically accurate, others were just character driven and garbage.

The heroine, upon going to this sex club with a good friend (another widow), immediately runs into her stepson and his best friend, the hero. She freaks out about the possibility of them seeing her there. Even though it's obvious that they both attend regularly, and other widows (like the heroine's friend) attend with no problems. Still, the heroine immediately decides that she made a horrendous mistake, questions how her stepson could ever look at her again, and tries to run away without being caught. This is also when the hero sees her, gets her out unseen, acts disgusted about her attending in the first place, and makes his intensions known that he wants to be her lover.

The heroine, WHO HAS BEEN WIDOWED FOR TEN YEARS, doesn't think that it's respectable of her to want a lover. She is ashamed of anyone finding out. However, when the hero awakens her sexuality, she once again considers finding a lover. In an effort to find someone more age appropriate, she briefly meets with an older gentleman who is also widowed. But she is STILL judged by others as being a whore for just talking to him. So which is it, Sophie Jordan?? Are widows allowed to have sex outside of marriage, or not? Why are your rules so different for the heroine and all of the other women in this book?

Oh, and then there's her first marriage to consider also. Her husband, who was many years her senior, married her at 17, and was immediately disappointed by her performance in the bedroom. He frequently told her how bad she was in bed, how much she displeased him, etc. WHY???? Why the fuck would a grown man expect a young virgin to somehow have skills in the bedroom? Ofc, he immediately runs off and starts fulfilling his needs with other women. There's a great scene where the heroine catches him fucking OW in his study on his desk, and he tells her to go away and shut the door. So what does the heroine do? She complies. When her husband passes, she stays celibate and pretends to mourn him for 10 years. She never once speaks a negative word about her dearly departed because she doesn't want to dissolution her children. Even when proof of her husband's infidelities comes to light in the form of a bastard son, she doesn't say or do anything to make her late husband seem anything less than a saint. This creates major issues with the stepson and his bastard-born brother, but the heroine still doesn't bother to step in and set her stepson straight. YESSSSS, THIS MAKES PERFECT SENSE! Another pathetic heroine who lives her life frozen and doesn't unfreeze until the hero essentially forces her to. 🤡🔫

There's more I could say about this book, but I'm annoyed enough after writing the above.

I have read 5 books by this author now, and these issues are NOT exclusive to this one. I keep thinking that the next one will be better, but keep being disappointed.

Safe enough for the safety gang, but not safe for my sanity. Non-virgin, widowed heroine, who has a daughter, celibate for 10 years, never had good sex. Younger (irrc by 6 years) manwhore hero, some OW drama because hero plans to find a suitable debutant to marry, some OM drama when heroine wants to find a lover who isn't the hero, both have known each other for many years, no scenes with OM/OW, no cheating between MCs.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,693 reviews777 followers
July 25, 2017
This review was originally posted on Addicted To Romance

Graciela, has been a widow for quite some time. She never had a positive relationship with her late husband, although she hides the truth from her daughter and step children. But one day, Graciela is tired of sitting in her drawing room, sipping tea and not trying out new adventures. She figures its time to accept her best friends invitation to an exclusive club "Sodom". Ela has never done anything so daring, but she has never known true desire or pleasure to be found with a man. While at Sodom, she attracts the attention of a man who is so wrong for her, who comes in as her knight in shining armor from some not so friendly gentlemen, the best friend of her step son. Ela knows that she is in trouble from the first moment that he touches her. Lord Stricklan, has had great affection for Ela since he was a teenager. But now he is older and more mature, and is more than ready to pursue her and show her of his desire. However the number of years between them, makes Ela believe she is "robbing the cradle" as it were, and she wants more than a mere affair. She wants to feel loved, but there are times when one doesn't choose who they love, it just happens.
She felt as though she were facing a stranger, contrary to the nonsense she was spouting. A man who was stripping her of her clothes with his eyes to see all that lay beneath.
What a story, and a book that really surprised me. It has been so long since I have read a "May-December" trope and Sophie Jordan did a fantastic job with this theme and the story overall. Now I first want to clarify that the years between Ela and Collin aren't that big of a stretch...six years. It's really not that bad to be honest. But it fits the story, since Ela's stepson and Collin are similar in age. So I can understand why our heroine really struggled with this aspect. Now Ela is of spanish decent, so at first I was curious why she wasn't more energetic and really more "spirited" type of heroine. But we see how her late husband's treatment of her affects her. He put her down and emotionally abused her throughout their whole marriage and made her feel like she was a "cold fish" but she does warm up the more she is around Collin, who accepts her fully. Now Collin is a hero that really has to work through his feelings honestly about Ela. At first, he just wants a sexual affair. But Ela wants more than that, and Collin meanwhile starts looking for a future bride, but realizes that Ela is the woman he really wants in his life.
I care about you. I have never wanted a woman more than I want you.
As a couple these two are like fireworks once they get together. The chemistry is off the charts, and they really connect on more than just physically. Collin really understands Ela and doesn't expect more than she can give to him. And there are other problems that add some conflict to the story. What I found interesting was even though at a glance I wasn't sure if this type of story was one I would actually like, Sophie Jordan just makes it work in such a way that you keep reading, because this pair is unique and their relationship has some complex dynamics to it that tugs at the reader's curiosity.

Overall The Scandal Of It All was a spicy tension filled romance with interesting complexities, engaging dialogue, and a love affair to remember....guaranteed to pull at your emotions!!

Click To Purchase On Amazon
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Profile Image for Maida.
Author 13 books438 followers
July 14, 2017
Four point five stars. Read it straight through during my flight from Dallas to London. Didn't sleep. Couldn't put it down. Fast, fun read. I loved that Sophie broke the norm of historical romances with a Spanish, widowed duchess getting involved with a younger English lord, who was her stepson's best friend. Ela is a sympathetic heroine, having been a neglected wife, a foreigner who was sneered at by high society for the darkness of her skin and having caught a member of nobility that should have been an English Miss's privilege. She had never experienced physical pleasure until Colin (a favorite HR hero name). When it comes to carnality, he is years more mature than her. With an interesting cast of supporting characters, this book makes for an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Luana ☆.
490 reviews73 followers
July 2, 2021
Simple and easy read, it took me only 5 hours of audiobook and it was enjoyable enough. Since the last book it was obvious that the hero had a crush on his best friend's stepmother and it was nice seeing them getting together, but nothing wow.

I loved the epilogue though.
June 12, 2021
Warning: miscarriage

I actually didn't want to read/listen to this book/audiobook. I was more interested in book 3 (The Duke Buys a Bride) of this series, but since both books are part of a series, I decided to read this book first in case book 3 wasn't a stand-alone book. I read the first book (While the Duke Was Sleeping) back in 2017 and recall just the general tidbits so this book can easily stand alone. It also helps that the first book is similar to the Sandra Bullock rom-com While You Were Sleeping. The H/h (Struan and Poppy) from book 1 do not make any appearances in this book, but they are mentioned a few times.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Probably because I've been disappointed by this author before and went in with no expectations. Maybe that should be my method from now if I want to end up enjoying a book.

Our heroine, Graciela or Ela, is a Spaniard, who married an English duke who was a widower with two children close to Ela's age. I think the children (Marcus and Enid) are about 5 or 6 years younger than Ela. Our hero, Colin, is also 6 years younger than Ela and he is best friends with the heroine's stepson Marcus!!!!! DUN DUN DUN! Ela also has a 14-year-old daughter named Clara from her marriage with the duke (and I believe 2 or 3 miscarriages). Oh, right, Ela is 35 years old and is a widow now with Marcus as the current duke. Marcus and Clara have their own books, but I wonder why Enid doesn't have one. Maybe it's in the works? Anyways, I digress.

Colin has wanted Ela for a few years now but has kept his urges at bay out of respect for his best friend and Ela, but all that changed when he shared a kiss with her at a pleasure house called Sodom. Now he wants to have a discreet affair. Ela refuses due to their age difference and the fact that he's a family friend. She tries to resist but eventually gives in to one night of passion. Some readers could be turned off by Colin's persistence and forced seduction. He should have backed off when she said that she didn't want to carry an affair with him.

I like forbidden romance, especially when they're doing naughty things and could get caught at any moment. Sophie Jordan can write some pretty steamy scenes. *fans self*

Anyways, I felt that some things were a little repetitive (let's have an affair; no!; insert intimate scene; we're lovers now; I said no!; etc.). Thus, I never got to see how they fell for each other, particularly Ela's feelings towards Colin. In fact, they didn't really get to know each other either. Sure, Colin is a family friend, but do they really know each other outside of that relationship? I actually wish the book was longer just so the author could have focused more on their relationship rather than their physical relationship.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,619 reviews52 followers
November 22, 2018
The world needs more older woman/younger man romances...just not ones like this.

In Sophie Jordan's The Scandal of it All, a friend's sudden death jolts Graciela, Duchess of Autenberry, out of the comfortable routine she's maintained since the death of her husband a decade ago. Spurred to an impulsive trip to a scandalous sex club in the hopes of feeling more like the vibrant young woman she remembers being and less like the 35 year old widow she is, she finds she's bitten off a bit more unconventional than she can chew...and that's before she runs into her step-son's best friend, Colin, the Earl of Strickland. After years of suppressing an inappropriate attraction to Stacy's - er, sorry, Autenberry's (step)Mom, Colin is both horrified and oddly hopeful when he realizes just who it is he's rescuing from a bawdyhouse, and takes it as a sign for him to apply for the position of lover that her presence in the club seems to indicate a desire to fill. (Uh, so to speak.)

And here's where things go wrong. Because Graciela, whose ducal stepson is a little too conscious of his own consequence for her not to guess how bad his reaction would be to such a relationship and whose stepdaughter is half in love with the man who's applying to shag Ela senseless, gives Colin a resounding NO. And then another no. And then another no. All of which he breezes past with a handwave and a but-look-how-good-we-could-be-baby application of sexual chemistry.

So instead of the novel I wanted about a woman in her prime taking charge of her sexuality with a hot young thing who's vaguely (but not really) inappropriate, I get a novel where a grown-ass man violates the boundaries of a woman he's known and supposedly respected all his life while she vacillates between shame and abject terror that her stepson - who, let's all take a minute to remember, completely controls her financial assets - will uncover the affair. Not sure about you guys, but that's distinctly not my kink.

Jordan, who has a tendency to substitute sex for actual relationship-building in many of her novels, doesn't do much work to convince the reader that this collection of escalatingly problematic encounters equals a love match. Personally, I thought a few judicious flashback scenes to their relationship pre-sex-club would have helped better establish that these are two people who've always liked and been attracted to each other, rather than just a couple with an itch (okay, a lot of itches) to scratch.

I've read several books by Jordan and enjoyed most of them, so this one misfire probably won't put me off her work. I just hope that one day she, like Graciela, will decide to give herself a do-over on this trope, and that it involves a hell of a lot less NOPE.
Profile Image for b.andherbooks.
2,053 reviews865 followers
August 18, 2017
The premise of this book was SO good, but the execution was just not right for me. I loved the fact the heroine was older than most historical romances at 35, was a mother, and in the first book of this series seemed to be a strong willed lady. I was hoping for a super sexy and consensual tryst with her step-son's best friend, a younger man who would show her what she had been missing out on during her marriage and widowhood.

Unfortunately, Graciela turned into a wilting flower. Her first experience at a sex club is non-consensual and the two men who try to force her are merely brushed away and allowed to continue being at this club by the hero! Um, hello, where are the bouncers?!

Plus, she repeatedly tells Colin no, verbally AND in a letter but he continually pursues her, sneaks into her bedroom to watch her sleep, and basically forces her into submitting to a relationship with him. I craved more banter, more battle of wits, not just the repeated continuation of "I'm too old for you, so no, but really I mean yes."

Profile Image for Samantha .
711 reviews
August 20, 2020
Maybe a 2.5 star...

This book for me had a lot of promise, I always love stories with older women falling in love with younger men in historical romance novels.

But this hit a few of those tropes that I don't love. The secret affair, the weird friend of the family turned lover, the secret baby etc...

So while I felt like I was going to like this book. I definitely skimmed a bunch, but read enough of it to count.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,670 reviews701 followers
July 16, 2017
I had enjoyed the previous book in this series, so I was intrigued to keep reading.

I liked Ela and Colin well enough. I get the tumbling into bed part, but I didn't catch any sort of relationship. The times they did talk, it was basically just Ela telling Colin it was crazy, the age difference was a problem, and he needed to go court someone else. Ela's BFF Mary Rebecca was one of the best parts and I hope she gets a story.

Plot wise, it was all push and pull. The circumstances keep them a secret, but I never saw the lust move into love. There were phrases that were used over and over and many scenes were repetitive.

Overall, it was a quick read and I did like it, but a little disappointing at the same time. I will probably read the next book.

**Huge thanks to Avon Books for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Becky (romantic_pursuing_feels).
660 reviews304 followers
April 27, 2022
Overall: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Plot/Storyline: 📖📖📖📖
Feels: 🦋🦋🦋🦋
Emotional Depth: 💔💔💔
Sexual Tension: ⚡⚡⚡⚡
Romance: 💞💞💞💞
Sensuality: 💋💋💋💋
Sex Scene Length: 🍑🍑🍑🍑
Steam Scale (Number of Sex Scenes): 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Humor: A touch?
Perspective: third person with time in both the hero and heroine's head (I feel like it was fairly balanced, maybe at touch more on the heroine's side)

(These are all personal preference on a scale of 1-5 (yours ratings may vary depending what gives you feels and how you prefer you sex scenes written, etc) except the Steam Scale which follows our chart from The Ton and Tartans Book Club )

Should I read in order?
It would work to do so - there is some mentions of prior characters and you'll get a bit of background on the whole family situation - but I also think this one is fine as a stand alone. (though I do think this one is a good one to read before picking up book 3 - the pain for book 3's hero is established here and the reason he goes on a trip in the first place. And at the end of this book, he returns - married.)

Basic plot:
Graciela is widowed and ready to live life a bit. She finally gets the gumption to visit a pleasure house, but is horrified when she immediately runs into her step son. Colin protects her identity from him, while discovering new feelings for her himself.

Give this a try if you want:
- Medium to higher steam - there are 4 full scenes here
- Age gap/taboo feel - heroine is 7 years older than the hero and has a 14 year old daughter. The hero is her step son's best friend
- You have to be okay with a touch of dubious consent - the hero is a bit pushy when it comes to the heroine (we are in her head and know the reason she is backing away)
- English hero, Spanish heroine (she's lived for 17 years in England)
- Hero loves first/hero pursues heroine
- Majority of the book focused on the relationship (no mystery to solve and only a minor bit of villainish action)

- Heroine is 36, hero 29

My thoughts:
I really enjoyed this Sophie Jordan! I liked the taboo feel of Graciela forming feelings for her step son's best friend Colin. The book starts off with a pleasure house scene that really set the tension for me - there was only a kiss but the holding, whispering in ears, and possessiveness and protectiveness really made me fall into the story and be more invested into their relationship.

I loved that they spent most of the book together and there was a lot of push and pull with their relationship. I am usually into hero pursues story lines and this one didn't disappoint. I think some might find Colin too pushy or annoying but I really, really loved him here.

Plus it was fairly steamy, which is a plus for me. :P There have been a couple of Jordan's I've read lately that were so slow burn I was a shriveled up husk of desperation for a scene by 70% - not here!

The reason I didn't give 4 stars was because it felt a touch like we were having the same problem/conversation in the book as it went on and I wasn't sold on some things that happened in the last third. Still I really enjoyed this one and would even reread it if the mood struck me.

Here’s a few random parts that I wanted to note from the book

Content Warnings:

Locations of kisses/intimate scenes - I had a hoopla ebook and couldn't see the pages accurately so I just marked the chapters of the scenes
Profile Image for Tracey.
353 reviews19 followers
October 23, 2019
This is a well written, entertaining historical romance novel with likable, engaging characters, a heart warming romance, and a happily ever after ending. It is great when read as a stand alone, but even better after reading "While the Duke Was Sleeping". I am looking forward to reading the next entries in Ms. Jordan's wonderful "Rogue Files" series.
Profile Image for Regina George.
14 reviews5 followers
April 21, 2022
Did Sophie Jordan elevate the hell out of this novel in the series like other people claim?😱

I mean I love the first book so that's really hard competition 😂 But hell yes to the ending of this novel ! 😊

It ended on way more of a dramatic cliffhanger that made me want to straight-away read of the next novel in the series 😳

I did love how spicy the book was and how it really emphasised Ela finding her enjoyment and freedom finally after all the years of putting other people first 😇

Yet this book didn't get five stars because it took FOREVRRRRRRrrrrr for Colin to finally express his feelings and love for Ela 👀 and this all coming apparently from the man who has loved her from afar since he was young *eye roll*
Profile Image for Somia.
2,049 reviews120 followers
May 19, 2019

Graciela (aka Ela), may be the Duchess of Autenberry, but this doesn’t stop her being snubbed and positioned on the fringes of the Ton, as they judge and condemn her for her Spanish roots. Now widowed she continues to allow her two step-children, daughter, as well as her few friends and society to believe that her marriage to her late husband was a happy/loving one – but the truth is the opposite. He was

One of her few dear friends, persuades her to attend London’s most notorious pleasure club, and Ela warily decides to finally gain first-hand knowledge of what passion/desire tastes like.

Lord Colin Strickland was fab, he has always had his fantasies when it comes to Ela, but pushed them to the back of his mind, he is after all an honourable gentleman and a loyal friend, but when he realises the woman he sees and wants at the club is Ela, well things take a turn neither of them expected. The sexual tension between them was depicted well, although at times I wish Ela hadn’t tried so hard to push Colin away. I loved the fact he never gives up, and sees her as more than a mother, lady and Duchess. Colin is the reason why I know this book will be re-read at some point.

The onset of this book was a bit meh, but I’m pleased to report that things picked up fairly quickly. The second half of this book was the strongest component for me and I found myself overall happily engrossed.

One thing that I found a little ick was when Graciela is trying to leave the club with the help of Colin, I’ve read similar scenes in other books where the depiction of such events has resulted in humour but here it just felt wrong.

I enjoyed the fact that Ela was a few years older than Colin, and he didn’t care a wit about that fact. Also, the fact they had known each other for years, he is her step-sons childhood best friend, didn’t feel weird thanks to how the author depicted everything.

Colin’s grandmother may have been in the book fleetingly, but she was a vicious harpy, and I wish her demise had been a gruesome one – in this case I don’t mean in regards to dying, but a messy social demise, where she lost all her social standing and became an outcast, shunned. The drama involving the grandmother towards the end of the book was over the top, but I was able to tolerate it, and I enjoyed the epilogue.
Profile Image for Lady Wesley.
924 reviews310 followers
October 15, 2017
With maturity comes the desire to read about a romance between an older lady and a hot younger man, so I snapped up a copy of this book when it was offered. I was not disappointed.

Graciela is the familiar type of woman who has always put children and husband first. Now the children are grown, and the not-so-nice husband is dead, leaving Ela at loose ends. When a friend tempts her to visit a club called Sodom, where masked ladies may choose to dally with attractive men, Ela nervously goes along. There she encounters Colin, Lord Strickland, who helps conceal her from being recognized by his best friend. Turns out that best friend is Ela's stepson, who would be highly displeased to know that the Dowager Duchess of Autenberry was visiting Sodom.

Colin has long been attracted to Ela, and their semi-intimate encounter at the club just whets his appetite. Thus begins the age-old dialogue, with Ella "no, no, no," and Colin saying "yes, yes, yes."
Ela runs, and Colin chases, and I must say that Ela turned a little bit silly, when she was supposed to be such a strong woman. Anyway, the chase and the romance are full of seduction, discreet encounters, angst, and family histrionics.

Notwithstanding the title, one thing this book does not have is scandal. It just didn't happen, but that's fine. I enjoyed the book and will no doubt read more of Sophie Jordan in the future.

Thanks to Edelweiss+ and Avon for a review copy of this book.
Profile Image for Sissy's Romance Book Review .
7,506 reviews16 followers
July 17, 2017
Book Review For: THE SCANDAL OF IT ALL by Sophie Jordan THE SCANDAL OF IT ALL by Sophie Jordan is book Two in "The Rogue Files". The heroine is Graciela, the Duchess of Autenberry who is a mother to her own child and has Stepchildren, in addition she is going to be 36 soon. So, she is a different type of heroine instead of the young virgin one. But she was a neglected wife and with the lost of a dear friend around her age as put her in a mood to have an exciting affair. Colin, Lord Strickland is younger and even her stepsons friend but that doesn't stop him from wanting her nor from Graciela desiring him. I love Ms. Jordan's book and this was such a nice change from the regular romance book you see. Overall Loved this book! "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A2H...  https://twitter.com/soapsrus68 https://www.facebook.com/RomanceBookR... http://booklikes.com/bloghttps://roma... https://www.tumblr.com/blog/romancebo...
Profile Image for Coral.
1,474 reviews52 followers
November 30, 2018
*ETA - read the superior Seven Years to Sin by Sylvia Day. It's has a similar setup with far better execution.*

I've liked Sophie Jordan's fluffy romances, but this one really rubbed me the wrong way.
The hero is extremely coercive. I wouldn't call it rape, but it's not enthusiastic consent. He's like that about their relationship in general as well; she has everything to lose and he has nothing, and he never recognises this.
I also think this book could be triggering for people dealing with infertility or miscarriages. Not because it talks about them, but because of the flippant way that those issues are treated within the plot.
I'm not sure if I'd continue with this series or author.
Profile Image for Sophie Barnes.
Author 55 books1,585 followers
July 25, 2017
A passionate story of newfound desire

Graciela, the Duchess of Autenberry, has dedicated her life to raising and caring for her daughter and step-children. It is a duty she takes most seriously, especially since they are all that give her life meaning. A widow, she has convinced the world that her husband was a wonderful man, but the truth isn't nearly as dazzling as she likes to present it. Now, after a close friend's death and seeking to remind herself of the youth she squandered on an unappreciative man, Graciela visits a scandalous club - an outing that leads her directly into the arms of her stepson's best friend, Lord Strickland.

Colin is seven years younger than Graciela, but that has not prevented him from secretly wanting her since the first time he saw her. Over the years, he's tried to ignore his desire. After all, nothing could be more wrong than wanting not only a married woman, but his best friend's step-mother to boot. But when a chance encounter with her makes him her rescuer, the kiss that follows reminds him of the illicit yearnings he's tried so hard to bury. Shockingly, it also reveals that she might not be as immune to him as he would have thought, but rather ready to welcome an affair, if he can only convince her that risking scandal would be worth every delicious second.

Sophie Jordan's books are marvelous and The Scandal Of It All is no exception. It's the story of a woman's struggle to maintain her reputation and preserve her family's good opinion of her while she also longs to welcome the passion she's otherwise been denied. A wonderful story I'd definitely recommend.

Originally posted on: https://sophie-barnes.blogspot.com/
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,288 reviews263 followers
September 16, 2019
3.5 Stars

The Scandal of It All was an enjoyable read featuring a wonderful romance with an older heroine.

Graciela, Duchess of Autenberry, has grown accustomed to her status as an outsider in London society, but she would like a chance to assuage the loneliness she feels on a daily basis. Sodom, a notorious pleasure club, provides Ela with the perfect opportunity to find a lover. However after she is discovered in the club by Lord Strickland, she finds herself continually drawn to the handsome lord. Colin has always fantasized about Ela, but he never imagined he’d find her in a place like Sodom. But now that Colin knows Ela is looking for a lover, he is determined to be that man. However Colin doesn’t just want Ela for a night, he wants her forever.

Due to her Spanish heritage, Ela has never been accepted by society leaving her with few friends and little chance to socialize. Her loneliness due to the situation was understandable and I also understood why she wanted more out of life than caring for her children. Colin has had years to do as he pleases, but now that he is approaching thirty, his grandmother is pressuring him to do his duty and continue the family line. Colin is frustrated with the situation, but he also knows his grandmother has a point leading to him entering the marriage mart.

Ela and Colin’s relationship gets off to a slow start as both are surprised to find each other at a notorious pleasure club and to realize they’re attracted to one another. Once they acknowledge the attraction, their relationship starts to move forward with Ela’s doubts being the only thing causing any issues. The issue of their age difference did get a bit old after a while, but I understand it fit with the times. Their physical relationship is well done with some fantastic and steamy scenes. Unfortunately one of the tropes I dislike in romance occurs in Ela and Colin’s relationship which did lessen my enjoyment of it a bit. But assuming you don’t mind , then you shouldn’t have the issues with the book that I did.

Overall I enjoyed The Scandal of It All and I’m looking forward to reading Marcus’ book, The Duke Buys a Bride, soon.
Profile Image for amethyst (n).
206 reviews15 followers
August 6, 2017
While I am an avid historical romance reader, previous to this book, I had only read Sophie Jordan's contemporary books, namely The Ivy Chronicles. And of that series, my favorite book, a book that is in my yearly reread cycle, is Wild. Wild was a book about Georgina who was in college and Logan who just graduated high school so it has that kind of older woman/younger man trope that this book has as well.

However, let us be clear: this book is not a copy of that book in just another setting with new characters which I know some authors are guilty of doing because I have read about five different rapey/abduction bodice rippers all written by the same lady.

Now going into the actual story... I don't want to spoil too much and I also don't think any words could do just of how good it was. Colin is everything you want in a book boyfriend worthy hero and Ela is such an incredible strong woman. she's not overly feminist (tbh TOO many authors think crazy feminist is the markings of a strong female character), she's not outrageous and wild. Ela is personable, relatable, and compassionate.

And the story oh my goodness. it was so good that my first thought was why hasn't anyone written this story with this plot before? Like HOW did it take until summer 2017 for this book to come out.

Okay I'm not completely ignorant and I know books about a mom and son's best friend exist but honestly that was such a small part of the story for me I was more interested in the love story of Colin and Ela. And yes I know that Marcus being Colin's best friend and Ela's stepson was quite a roadblock but the focus was more on Ela and her insecurities as an older woman and as a widow as it should be rather than focusing on Marcus the entire time. This story, this story of Colin and Ela... I'm just so sad I had to wait so long for it but it was well worth the wait.

Honestly this book is currently on the top of my list for best historical romance of 2017, definitely above Day of the Duchess, Devil in the Spring, and Beautiful Tempest. AND ITS IMMEDIATELY GOING TO BE READ FIVE MORE TIMES IN QUICK SUCCESSION BECAUSE DETAILS FOR BOOK THREE ARE UNKNOWN AT THIS TIME IN TERMS OF RELEASE DATE (We already know it's about Marcus).

Three important things I think you guys should know that will hopefully make you more willing to read this book: 1. I never read book one but that didn't stop me 😂, 2. I read this in two and a half hours and I want to read it again, and 3. The last book I felt such a strong reaction to was The Hating Game which I read three times back to back after the first reading.

Also, I rewrote my review to this book three times 😂, you can tell my head is really stuck on it. I even bothered writing a semi-proper book review for once and I usually leave those for the psychological thrillers that fuck with my brain lolol.

I posted a much better review up on https://chattingwithsinners.wordpress...
Profile Image for Alex .
1,346 reviews24 followers
August 7, 2022
This should've been a novella. You will never see me saying that about another book but I really think it's true in this case. While the chemistry between the couple was fantastic and the spicy scenes were well done, I just can't get behind the rushed storyline. No way in hell do I believe that these people are passionately in love. Passionately in lust? Yes, intensely so. Not love, though. Graciela spends more time arguing with Colin than actually falling in love with him. They have a few sexual encounters and suddenly they want to be together forever? Not only that, but the twist in the middle felt slapped on as a way to force a more serious relationship on these two people.

I personally would have liked this more if it were a short novella following Colin and Ela as they begin an affair. The typical HEA just didn't work with the storyline as it was laid out in the beginning, at least not with how this story was paced. There should have been less arguing and self depreciation and more time together if there was to be a conventional HEA. I just don't understand why this couple needed to have the ending they did when they could have been perfect as just lovers.

Not sure if I explained myself well in this review but I'm just so disappointed right now that I can't think straight. I've been desperate for a good historical romance lately and The Scandal of it All left me so unsatisfied as a reader. After disliking While The Duke Was Sleeping I just have to wonder if Sophie Jordan is the author for me.
Profile Image for ambyreads✿.
318 reviews210 followers
January 14, 2022
3 stars 。・:*˚:✧。 this was just okay for me. It had some tropes that I don’t usually lean towards in romance. I’m still excited to read more from this author and it was a good set up for the next book in the series.
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