Publication Date: January 1995
Series or Standalone: Scoundrels #3
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads – StoryGraph
CW: Bullying; racism; abandonment; gun violence; body shaming
“A monster he may be, but he was her monster.”
I have heard so many people rave about Lord of Scoundrels that I was hesitant to start it. There is no way this book could live up to the hype, I thought. But I was wrong. So so wrong. This book deserves all the hype, love and praise. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact this book published in 1995. It feels so modern in its tone, character and stories – it’s like something you’d find in a Sarah MacLean or Tessa Dare novel publishing today. Loretta Chase was so far ahead of her time.
Part of the reason this book succeeds is because of its characters. Jessica Trent is the true star and standout in this book. Don’t get me wrong, I love you Dain, but I have a massive girl crush on Jessica and want to be her. She truly steals the show. She’s a no-bullshit, knows-her-own-worth, smart woman who doesn’t pretend to be anything other than herself. She was encouraged to be a strong independent woman by the women in her life, mainly her femme fatale grandmother Genevieve who is a treat. All this makes Jessica the perfect match for Lord Dain. She’s not afraid of him, knows how to push his buttons and can read him like a book. She doesn’t back down from him when he’s in pain and lashing out, but instead knows perfectly how to respond. She’s a true icon.
I would be remiss not to talk about Lord Dain, as he’s also an incredibly iconic character in his own right. Yes, he’s a major asshole, but he also harbors some deep-seated and unaddressed hurt and pain, so I understood why he was that way, so he gets a bit of a pass. I do love how Chase repeatedly drills home how ugly he is in her character description – she really wants you to know he’s not attractive. I just had to laugh at that, as I just couldn’t picture him being so ugly in my head.
Dain is also the reason I adore this romance so much. This man is so far gone for Jessica and doesn’t even realize it. From their first meeting, he cannot get her out of his head, and every time he’s around her, he’s drawn into her orbit – something that has never happened to him before. He loves her so much but is so blind to it, one of my favorite tropes. Jessica ends up so far gone for him in the end as well, and it also takes her a while to realize it. This book also gives off major enemies-to-lovers vibes, and the BANTER delivers. My god, THE BANTER. I loved that Jessica could go toe-to-toe with Dain’s acerbic tongue and would constantly flip the tables on him. Watching them go head-to-head as their romance developed into something incredibly heartwarming and sweet at the end was so much fun.
The plot of this book is another standout. I did find the beginning to be a little slow, but as soon as Dain and Jessica had their first meeting, I was hooked. This book truly went places I did not expect it to go, and I was HERE FOR IT. The number of times I said, “Oh my god,” made me feel like I was Bob from Bob’s Burgers. I was living for this story, and Chase hit all the perfect beats to develop a fantastic romance while also bringing the emotions and some fun, over-the-top schemes. Truly, it was perfection.
I know this book was published over two decades ago, but if you have not picked it up yet, you are seriously missing out. Lord of Scoundrel should be essential reading for all historical romance fans as it was so far ahead of its time. Everything about the characters, the romance and the story was perfect, and I’m so glad I finally picked up this book, as it exceeded all my expectations.