Kim H's Reviews > Surrender to a Scoundrel

Surrender to a Scoundrel by Julianne MacLean
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's review
Jun 24, 2009

really liked it

This was a second time read for me, in order to decide if I had gotten it right the first time and it really was a keeper. This was the only Julianne MacLean novel on my keeper shelf, and I've read a few. Nothing else that I've read by her quite matches up to this one.
What I like about this book...
1st, it's a Victorian, which I always prefer over a regency, and I like the unique setting. I think this is the first thing I've come across that's set in the Isle of Wight and the yacht racing culture of the period. It has a genuine feel to it as do her characters & dialogue. Secondly, there's the interaction between the H&H. Very candid and mature, which is a nice change of pace from the usual silly misunderstandings. They have them but seem to have figured out that a little communication goes a long way, and don't mind talking things out. I also like the plain-ish widow who blossoms under the attention of a gorgeous man scenario when it's done credibly, which I think this was. Martin (hero) has had kind of a thing for Evelyn (heroine) since they were children and doesn't seem to ever see her in quite the same way that others do, and this was very appealing. Lastly, I like it that he recognizes his conflicts and isn't stupidly blind about what makes him behave the way he does. Does it stop him from behaving that way? No, but he knows he's a pinhead for it.

What I don't like about this book...
The love scenes, IMHO, are a trainwreck. There's actually a scene where he sprays "manly fluid" onto the headboard(!). I read parts peeping through my fingers. The prose is a little stilted, and the pillow-talk got downright cringe-worthy. I don't like how long it takes for Martin to get his act together, and some parts of that soul search got a tad melodramatic. She created a character that was clearly a better man and then ditched him when it was convenient. Not cool. The tragedy in his past didn't ring 100% true for me either. And yet all of that said, I'd still recommend this book to anyone wishing to explore Julianne MacLean's work. I think the positives outweigh the negatives enough to represent her well as a writer. Judging by a few others that I've read, it is one of her best. It doesn't stand up as well as I had hoped on a re-read - so not a keeper. It's definitely memorable, though, which leaves me torn between rating it a C+ or B-.
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Reading Progress

June 24, 2009 – Shelved
August 17, 2009 –
page 25
6.51% "I enjoyed this the 1st time I read it & I want to see if it's better or worse than my memory of it:P"
August 18, 2009 –
page 180
46.88% "Definitely still good:P I've not read a lot of MacLean, but I'm of the opinion that this is one of the best things she ever wrote."
Started Reading
August 19, 2009 –
page 385
August 19, 2009 – Finished Reading

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