Sunday, May 22, 2016

Review: One Taste of Scandal by Heather Hiestand

One Taste of Scandal by Heather Hiestand
Series: Redcakes, Book 2
Publisher: eKensington
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781601831385
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

A cup of sugar…a dash of cream…and a craving for a cake decorator that won't be denied…

When Captain Judah Shield learns he is more bastard than noble born, he goes in search of his true lineage. Determined not to lean on his family's wealth, he accepts a job managing Redcake's Tea Shop. Despite the flurry of excitement a single soldier creates among the staff, Judah clearly has no time for a wife. Though what man doesn't have time for a delectable beauty like lovely Magdalene Cross?...

He has the bearing of an English gentleman and the fiery touch of a true rake. Which is precisely why Magdalene must avoid Judah if she hopes to escape her family's reputation for scandal. Surely no good can come from a man whose kiss leaves her hungry for more. Certainly not the kind of marriage that could restore her social status. Still, Magdalene cannot help imagining what an incredible wedding night it would be—and when fate steps in, she may not have to imagine after all…

Delicious confections, unique characters, and a slow-burn romance are a great combination in One Taste of Scandal. For the most part, author Heather Hiestand eschews the usual ballroom and boudoir in favor of a working tea shop and the less-than-glamorous homes of the lower levels of the aristocracy. The change of pace works well and makes the story feel fresh.

Judah Shield has returned home from India with the knowledge that he isn’t the son of the late Marquess of Hatbrook. In fact, he has no idea who his real father is and though his brother (the current marquess) wants him to leave well enough alone, Judah must have answers. He also doesn’t want to live off his brother and needs employment, so he accepts a job managing Redcake’s, his sister-in-law’s tea shop. Judah is a likeable, interesting hero. He’s a hard worker with good business sense, but he isn’t perfect and isn’t afraid to acknowledge that he’s learning as he goes. Learning of his illegitimacy has made him question his place in the world, and it was nice to see him find where he belongs. Finding love is, of course, part of his journey, and what better heroine could there be for a (potentially) scandalous hero than a member of the Scandalous Cross family?

Magdalene Cross was born and raised to be a society girl, but instead she’s working herself to the bone caring for her dying sister-in-law and trying to manage her brother’s household. When Judah offers her employment, Magdalene is both grateful and ashamed. I actually liked that Magdalene isn’t proud of her employment – it would be incredibly unrealistic for the times and the way she was raised if she were. Magdalene is torn between two worlds just as Judah is, and she’s far less accepting of it. This leads to a bit of push-pull and slows down the romance aspect of the story. I liked that Judah and Magdalene took things slowly and fell in love as they got to know each other, but there was a bit of spark missing from their romance. Judah and Magdalene make a good couple, and it their story was enjoyable, but there’s no snappiness to their dialogue, and the chemistry is a little underwhelming. With a bit more liveliness to the tale, One Taste of Scandal would shine. As it stands, Magdalene and Judah’s book is solidly entertaining and I finished it looking forward to reading more Redcakes stories.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.