Size Doesn’t Matter (200): A Little Scandal; Lady of Skye

Size Doesn’t Matter (200): A Little Scandal; Lady of SkyeA Little Romance by Patricia Cabot
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on June 15, 2000
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 343
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

When beautiful Kate Mayhew is hired as chaperone to Burke Traherne's headstrong daughter Isabel, the Marquis finds himself in an impossible predicament. Torn between the knowledge that she is exactly what Isabel needs but also, for him, the worst possible temptation, he finds himself in constant proximity with someone who threatens his independence. Known for his steely self-control since the day he caught his wife with a lover, Burke has vowed never to risk marriage again.

In accepting his lordship's offer of employment, the feisty Kate faces two perils; her wild attraction to a man who has sworn off love, and a date with her own scandalous past...which she cannot keep secret forever.

Things are finally looking up, a little bit, in my veeeeery slow binge of all of Meg Cabot’s books in publication order. Her romances so far have been largely humorless and full of all the worst romance tropes. A Little Scandal may not be great, but there are finally some signs of the writer Cabot will eventually become.

The book starts off pretty strongly. The hero, divorced and now the single parent of one extremely stubborn daughter, is trying to drag her to a social event. Isabel, however, wants to go to a much better social event, so she’s fighting. Kate, seeing a young woman thrown over the shoulder of a much older man, threatens Burke (snerk) with her parasol. When the matter is cleared up, everyone continues about their business, but a seed has been planted: Kate might be the perfect chaperone for Isabel.

When it comes to the kissing scenes and some of the language, there’s still a bit too much of the GRAAR ALPHA MALE ownership BS, but mostly that’s been left in Cabot’s prior books. Burke also has a really horrific temper (I’m reminded of Anthony Bridgerton). Setting those aspects of his character aside, Burke’s a bookish nerd who wants a chaperone so he won’t have to go to the parties because he’d rather read (and not because he doesn’t give a shit about his daughter). Pretty damn cute tbh that he then proceeds to go to those balls anyway to spend time with Kate. It’s also refreshing that, though he’s been cheated on (by the wife he divorced and his mistress who he summarily dumps at the start of the novel), I appreciate that there wasn’t a ton of jealousy stuff directed Kate’s way (aside from the first sex scene which ARGH Cabot WHY, though it could have been worse). And I also liked that, even before he was smitten with Kate, he was thinking he was a little too old to be bothering with a new mistress; not something you see much romance.

By no means is A Little Scandal perfection, but it was lightly shippy, only occasionally offensive, and sometimes quite funny. That’s a big step forward.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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

Size Doesn’t Matter (200): A Little Scandal; Lady of SkyeLady of Skye by Patricia Cabot
Published by Pocket Books on January 2, 2001
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 452
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

Dr. Reilly Stanton, eighth Marquis of Stillworth, must mend his injured pride by proving himself a hero -- and not a drunken wastrel, as his former fiance e claimed. Against all sane advice, the Londoner takes a medical post in a tiny fishing village on the remote Isle of Skye -- and is convinced that he can cope with the primitive conditions, horrendous Highland weather, and rampant illness. But Miss Brenna Donnegal is another matter entirely.... Try as he might, Reilly cannot ignore the toweringly tall lady with flaming chestnut locks and an equally fiery will. She has filled her father's former role as the local physician, and is more than annoyed to find the urbane Dr. Stanton taking over her work and her father's cottage. By fair means or foul, she will give the usurper his comeuppance. But what begins as a sparking tug-of-war between two proud hearts soon flames to a passionate fire... Critically acclaimed author Patricia Cabot delivers an exquisitely warm and witty novel of love set against the dramatic backdrop of Scotland's magnificent Isle of Skye.

Let me preface this by saying that my taste in romance novels is sometimes kind of garbage. I am very aware that Lady of Skye is not a great historical romance, but I rather enjoyed it anyway. The awesome thing about historical romance is that, as long as it’s not massively offensive, bad ones can be just as much fun as good ones.

Cabot’s style really starts to shine through here. There’s a bit more humor, and there’s some delightful trope flipping. As Cabot stops trying to write romances like old guard romance authors would have, they’re improving. Dr. Reilly Stanton is another hero who doesn’t fall into the typical alpha male thing, though he is very strong and tall and blah blah blah. He’s a doctor, and he wants to help people, and he’s kind of an idiotic goofball. He finds himself wondering if Brenna’s a vampire when he sees her in the cemetery at night, because that’s the sort of fantastical oddball he is. Meanwhile, Brenna’s basically a doctor, if women were allowed to be doctors, and she’s sturdy and steadfast and stands the fuck up for herself.

There’s a love triangle of sorts, and I actually even like how that plays out…mostly. The local lord on the isle wants to marry Brenna but she keeps turning him down. He tells Reilly to stay away, and Reilly agrees, but then obviously Reilly doesn’t. Brenna’s super concerned that the Earl will kill him, but actually they’re just bros, and that’s pretty awesome. The Earl’s romance, however, was super icky.

The book’s overly long for sure. It could have been a lot stronger with a hundred less pages. There’s a lot that’s hard to believe about the set up too. And, this book has absolutely the worst sex scene I’ve ever encountered. There was a funny one in A Little Scandal, but I literally cackled for like five minutes when I read this one. I’m linking the scene in question, but there are more hilarious bits if you open up twitter and read the thread.

Lady of Skye was totally worth my time, if only for those ridiculous sex scenes. Such comedy has ne’er been seen. It also does some nice trope flippy stuff, but you’re better off reading Tessa Dare tbh.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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