No one wants to root for the evil bully who is constantly compared to Beelzebub, but that’s exactly what Loretta Chase makes the reader do in her book which is often debated as one of the best romance books of the modern era.
Anne Stuart, who has written more than 100 romance novels herself, calls Chase’s top romance book “absolutely wonderful… a beauty and the beast tale that touches the heart, the mid, and the senses… one of the best books of the year.”
Stuart is talking, of course, about Chase’s Lord of the Scoundrels, and she couldn’t have described the book more accurately. The book, which was published in 1995, pits Lord Dain against the most formidable opponent of his life, and truly, he’s faced many an evil personality in his day.
Perhaps that’s why he turned out so mean.
As a child, Lord Dain was abandoned by his mother and left with his father, who couldn’t find it in himself to feel anything above disdain for his young son. Add to it that Dain looked different from his peers, and it’s easy to see why he might have come out of his youth with a chip on his shoulder.
As an adult — and after he received his title — Dain became one of the richest and most feared men in all of Europe. Not only was he ugly, but he was mean, and he simply couldn’t be bothered with what any of the ton thought about him or his behaviors. Dain takes real pains to suppress every sentimental feeling he might come across, and there is simply no one who can stand up to the great Lord Beelzebub.
That is, until Jessica Trent arrives in town.
From the moment Jessica crosses Dain’s path, Dain realizes that he just may have finally met his match. Not only is she unafraid to stand toe-to-toe with him, but she’s able to outwit him, as well. She’s not afraid of Dain’s ugly face or his outwardly ugly heart, and in truth, she simply can’t get enough of the beast.
Eventually, Dain and Jessica find themselves in a precarious situation, and Dain thinks he’ll outsmart Jessica by proposing marriage. Instead of refusing, Jessica forces Dain’s hand and accepts his marriage proposal — and that’s where the real story begins.
With Lord of the Scoundrels, Loretta Chase shows a true talent for writing well-developed, meaningful characters. As a mother, it’s easy to sympathize with young Dain, and as a result, even understand some of his adult behavior. Some of the scenes in Dain’s childhood are truly heart wrenching, and it won’t take long for all the mamas out there to begin to cheer for the marquess to overcome his feelings of insecurity. In fact, his hidden insecurities will quickly endear him to the reader.
Additionally, Chase has written such a fantastic female character that, basically, I want to be Jessica Trent. She’s a smart, brave, strong heroine who goes after what she wants, fears be damned, and she does it all on her own terms. She’s likable and relate-able, and in many ways I think she embodies a lot of what many women search for in themselves.
Turns out, I’m not the only one who loved Lord of the Scoundrels. In addition to constantly popping up on best romance book lists, Lord of the Scoundrels currently has more than 500 reviews on Amazon and averages 4.6 stars. Only 2 percent of reviews are one-star, and 74 percent of reviews are five-star. The book truly is fantastic, and if you enjoy romance, it’s one to add to your list.
(Please be advised that Lord of the Scoundrels does have several sexual scenes throughout the book.)