Saturday, November 8, 2014

Review - - Scandalous Summer Nights

Scandalous Summer Nights
by Anne Barton
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: October 28, 2014

I’ll admit it: sometimes I suffer from sloppy-readeritus.    Before beginning any novel, I usually scan through the back cover copy so I can set my taste buds for the flavors I’m about to devour.   

When I turned, however, to the back cover copy of Anne Barton’s SCANDALOUS SUMMER NIGHTS and read the line:  “But when (the heroine) hears (the hero) will soon set sail for an expedition to Egypt, she knows the time has come to make her move,”  I set my taste buds for a non-England-based historical.  And then I spent the majority of my reading feeling a little surprised to find the h/h never step foot out of England  at all.  Not the author’s fault, I tell you.    A reader has just as much responsibility in the reading relationship as the author.

And now for the book:

Lady Olivia Sherbourne has been in love with her brother’s best friend for as long as she can remember.  And since she is that rare breed of Regency woman who is unabashed to say whatever is on her mind, she finds herself declaring her love to him when learning he will soon leave the country on an archeological dig to Egypt.  

After she does so, James Averill finds himself anxious to leave London as quickly as possible.  He must stay away from his best friend’s sister no matter how heated their kisses.  What’s more, he’s about to leave on a two-year expedition.  What can come of all this?

So when Olivia shows up in the little village where James is visiting his uncle, he’s angry with her for messing with his plans to stay away from her.  Because how will he do so successfully when every minute he spends in her company makes him want to spend more?

To tell the truth, dear book lover, I did not like the heroine for the first three chapters or so.  I found her mind-numbingly naïve and not a little bit annoying in her brazen declarations.  It was as if she was only intent on her own agenda without ever really seeing the wants of the hero she professed to love.  I even found myself rooting for James in his attempt to get away from her.   Not a good start for me.  

But then something happened which, frankly, speaks to the talent of the author as it is the biggest miracle a writer can ever hope to achieve with their readers:  Anne Barton changed my mind about the main character. After my initial irritation I started to love Olivia.    She grows a backbone, a conscience, some relationship restraint and, with all that growth, grew quite a large bit of my respect for her and her show of integrity.   She grows up right before my eyes and I became her fervent cheerleader from chapter four till the end.

As for the hero, well, if Olivia likes him, he’s all right with me.  Besides which, their chemistry is spot on.

At times, however, I found the plot devices used to propel the story a little obvious and predictable, but the characters are so charming, I thoroughly enjoyed isolating myself with just the book for company.   

Characterization is and will always be what makes or breaks a book for me so, with that in mind, I must recommend SCANDALOUS SUMMER NIGHTS. 

~J Perry Stone

J Perry Stone is an aspiring Historical Romance writer who is a giant proponent of books and of love... romance being the place where the two live happily ever after.  She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and two children. 


  1. I agree about characterization. I have to care about the characters and then the author can take me anywhere. Sounds good.

  2. One of the best review I've read in a long time. Thank you!

  3. New author. I do like attractions to older brother's friends theme. 4 stars, Excellent review. I will check it out.

  4. I agree that characterization is important to the story. You can have a great storyline and the perfect setting, but if the characters are weak, the story will never take off or be as good as it could have been. Thanks for the review of SCANDALOUS SUMMER NIGHTS.