Tamara Lejeune: Simply Scandalous

London, early 19th century: Juliet Wayborn thinks her brother Cary was beaten senseless by his rival Geoffrey Swale to keep him from winning a horse race. She also thinks it's a good idea to take part in the race instead of her brother. After the race, she outs herself as a woman and, consequently, is ruined. Geoffrey Swale's father thinks Geoffrey should marry Juliet, since nobody else will now that she's ruined, and her nose will be an excellent addition to the family's gene pool. Geoffrey himself wants to get back at Juliet and devises an outrageous plan to do so.

This book has its characters acting impulsively and doing stupid things. They also like playing practical jokes on each other. There's a none-too-smart and really ugly hero and a silly heroine who never thinks before she acts. There also is a lot of slapstick action. In other words: it's pure fun and I had a really good time reading it. Sometimes, fun is poked at other romance novels (with their overabundance of red-haired heroines), and this passage made me grin widely:

"Why do gentlemen persist in marrying attractive red-haired ladies?" Juliet wondered. "Do they think they will bear only attractive red-haired daughters? Don't they know they are just as likely to give birth to ugly red-haired sons?"

In other words: this is a "good" book! (Grade B)