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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review of "The Year of Living Scandalously" by Julia London

The Year of Living Scandalously (Secrets of Hadley Green 1) "The Year of Living Scandalously" is Book 1 in the "Secrets of Hadley Green" series - look for Lily and Tobin's story coming soon (not sure if there's a date yet).

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by me, the reviewer. I am reviewing it because I wanted to, not in exchange for anything.

Type: Historical Romance, Mistaken Identities, Awesome Names Like Declan, Haunting Pasts, Going to Jail (Or Not?)

Why this book: I heard some good things about it, and thought I'd maybe get it if I saw it around. Then the author posted on FB about five things Declan would never say, then five things Kiera would never say. And I was so amused that I just had to get it.
About the book: Declan O'Connor just bought himself a fine horse and was about to pay up when he was summoned to see the Countess of Ashwood, the horse's previous owner. Assuming the summons was for a quick trist, Declan was shocked to see not the new Countess, but Kiera Hannigan, his neighbor from back home, masquerading as the new royalty. Kiera didn't mean to impersonate her cousin, but the two look so similar, she was quickly mistaken for Lily. There were matters that required immediate attention, and Kiera had to act in her cousin's best interest. But as this farce gets more daunting and difficult, Kiera begs to coerce Declan into helping her maintain Ashwood for her cousin. As much as Declan hates the idea of deceiving people, and his bad past with Kiera tells him he should leave, he just can't make himself go.

After reading the Prologue, I thought this was going to be a different story, or turn out differently. And while the events of the prologue do pop up as a secondary plot later in the book, it focuses more on characters that will be featured in (hopefully) the next book by this author. I enjoyed this book, but I'm definitely, totally looking forward to Lily's story.

Some of this book seemed a little too far fetched. I firmly believe in artistic license, especially with historical romance, but it was hard for me to believe Kiera could get away with not only the mistaken identity, but some of her little plots as well. And Declan and Kiera's past just seemed off. It was there, Declan seemed haunted by it, but at the same time, it didn't feel real enough for me to understand why it bothered them so much. The death in their past came up in what felt like random moments - I wasn't sure it always jived in that part of the story.

I thought the ending was alright, but a bit of a let down. After all the angsting over what will happen to Kiera since she impersonated her cousin, after the reaction of the people she had ruled over while pretending to be the countess, the rest of it just sort of fell flat. Maybe Kiera and Declan will have to deal with those repurcussions in Lily and Tobin's book? As much as I wanted the characters to have a happy ending, it just felt a little too easy when it happened.

But one thing I did like - Declan. Declan, first off, has quite the awesome name. Secondly, he's the type of hero that bargains for kisses. Let's be honest, most of Historical Romance readers go for this type of hero - the type that wants to stay away, but just keeps getting sucked back in, and falling for the heroine even though he's fighting hard not to. Despite the issue of his and Kiera's past (the unrealness of their shared traumatic moment), Declan was the real one in all of this - he made rational and believable decisions, and he fought hard against Kiera's impersonation of her cousin.

All in all, if you're a fan of Historical Romance, this book is probably a good read. I enjoyed it enough while I was reading it to keep going, because I wanted to see how it would end. And despite my mediocre feelings on this particular book, I will definitely be picking up the next one - Lily and Tobin's story. Now those two definitely have a past I can get into, and even the glimpses we have of the two in "The Year of Living Scandalously" have depth and the basic "realness" to them.  So I'm giving "The Year of Living Scandalously" by Julia London a THREE out of FIVE (3/5).

Have you read it? Share your thoughts in the comments. Want to read it, buy it from Amazon.com via the link on the left. =)

Happy Reading!
~!~ Morning Glow ~!~

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