REVIEW by Ginny: Almost a Scandal (The Reckless Brides #1) by Elizabeth Essex – Release Date July 31st, 2012 (@EssexRomance , @puretextuality )

For generations, the Kents have served proudly with the British Royal Navy. So when her younger brother refuses to report for duty, Sally Kent slips into a uniform and takes his place—at least until he comes to his senses. Boldly climbing aboard the Audacious, Sally is as able-bodied as any sailor there. But one man is making her feel tantalizingly aware of the full-bodied woman beneath her navy blues…

Dedicated to his ship, sworn to his duty—and distractingly gorgeous—Lieutenant David Colyear sees through Sally’s charade, and he’s furious. But he must admit she’s the best midshipman on board—and a woman who tempts him like no other. With his own secrets to hide and his career at stake, Col agrees to keep her on. But can the passion they hide survive the perils of a battle at sea? Soon, their love and devotion will be put to the test…

So can I just say that historical romances set on naval ships are so much fun? Like seriously. Plus they said “Damn your eyes” so much. That’s my new curse of choice. I also kept yelling out commands in fake British accents and causing myself to giggle hysterically… all in my head so as not to disturb my family. And so they didn’t lock me in an asylum.

Add to the prime setting First Lieutenant David Colyear (Col to his buds) and Sarah Alice Kent (Sally to everyone who knows her) and you’ve got a recipe for fire. Which, from what I understand, is bad on a ship – but good in a book.

Col sees everything, and is a model officer until he finds that the youngest Kent son has been replaced by Sally, the girl he was secretly crushing on when he met her 6 years earlier*. Sally Kent has always wanted to be a sailor, knows everything about being on board a ship, and has a sense of righteous purpose when she pretends to be her delinquent brother. She doesn’t want to be a girl… except when she’s near her older brother’s friend Col who makes her feel all those girlish tingly urges. Both characters were highly entertaining to read and watch muddle through things.

Couple of negatives. The editing seemed a bit sparse in places. Timelines didn’t seem to add up and there were several references to past events that didn’t match up to the actual past event in the narrative. Also, there were several instances where very specific metaphors or other arrangements of words (some might call them sentences) were used twice in one chapter. I mean, obviously this is something that wouldn’t be weird on its own, but the imagery the sentence conjured was so specific I would find myself going “wait, didn’t you just say that?” or the dreaded “am I reading the same page again?”

I’ve got to admit, I’m not loving post-strife Sally. I mean she turned from a headstrong young woman always so sure she was right into… just… blah. I get that she’s hurting, but I do not like the lady/sailor hybrid. Even not liking the gooey mush that Sally became, the ending felt rushed. Like a lot. I would’ve enjoyed an epilogue or something.

Oh, and a note on the cover. For some reason, that one nipple there freaks me out. I can’t put my finger on it, but something is just not right about it.

3.5 stars. I did enjoy Col and Sally and their mutual torment/struggle, the setting was unique and fun, and the supplementary characters were a blast.

*I’m going to take a moment here to say that’s creepy. It might have been normal for doods to think 13 year olds were prime marriage material back in the day, but my modern senses were all “18 YEAR OLD WANTS THE 13 YEAR OLD. RED FLAGS!”

P.S. Whenever I read the term “blunt” I think of “blunt instruments” which I think of as something like a cudgel. If you read the book you’ll understand why this is hilarious.

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