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Almost a Scandal

by Elizabeth Essex

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839238,045 (3.83)2
"A lady in disguise: 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. A man overboard: 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." -- P. [4] of cover.… (more)



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The Kent Family has served proudly for the British Royal Navy. Sally Kent, was practically raised on the sea with her father, and she loves every moment and she has soaked any information she could find about running a ship on the sea. She has had great examples in her family of what a sea life is really like. When her younger brother, runs off to pursue his religious endeavors, which turns out him failing to report for duty, Sally dresses in her brothers uniform and takes his place as midshipman. Sally is full of excitement at the opportunity to get away from the boring life of the city, and embrace her dreams. When she arrives, things aren't what she expected, but she isn't daunted by hard work and putting a stop to a mean bully. She is a Kent after all, and she finds herself drawn to the second in command Lieutenant David Colyear. David has devoted his life to his duty, he is fair and highly respected among the crew. David senses something off about Kent, but he can't put his finger on it. But all the clues fall into place, and he realizes that Kent is a woman, he keeps her secret reluctantly, but as tension rises with a battle with the French drawing near, so will his desire for her, but will they be able to find a common ground or lose each other?
The Hero
David Colyear is a family friend of the Kent family and served with Sally's brothers for years. He would recognize a solid Kent just about anywhere. David is committed to serving on the sea, he loves it and embraces his duty. He has spent many years being loyal to his country and those he serves under. David knows the ins and outs of running a ship, and he finds something suspicious about "Richard". There are certain aspects that don't match up with what he knows, but then he soon realizes that Richard isn't Richard at all...it's Sally. A woman he used to play with when he was younger. David despite how devoted he is to his captain and upholding the law of the British Navy, breaks the rules for a woman (no surprises there) but I think what I enjoyed most about his character was how daring he is at times, and I loved how he interacted with Sally--"Richard". He holds his own in their verbal play, but he also stands his ground when its needed to be done, but allows Sally to explore her new surroundings and doesn't tie her down too much.
The Heroine
Sally, is much like the rest of her family, she loves the sea. She has a spirit for adventure and action. Due to the time to spent with her father on his ships, she became hooked on the life on the sea and its what she has always wanted. When she learns that her brother has fled his duty, she decides to take on his service to the British Navy. Sally has spunk and courage in spades. She boldly takes on this duty, and she really gets creative. She makes friends with other midshipman and makes an enemy--a bully who she is determined to bring to justice. I love her methods for dealing with this "bully", there were certain actions she would take, that honestly I would never think of, but were they lively and creative and I just fell for her character ever more. She takes on every duty as a midshipman with ease and excitement. I really enjoyed this certain characteristic to her, because she has this energy and eagerness and she tends to be a great leader in everything she does. She laughs at herself and doesn't take things too seriously.

"Are you going to tell me how you got that?"

She tipped her head and brewed up a small bit of the mischievous Kent smile. "Juggling. Wine Bottles. Most Ill advised."

He had expected so different an answer that the truth left him amused. And ill-advisedly intrigued. "I didn't know you juggled."

"Judging from the tenderness of my face, I don't."

She becomes a role model for those other boys that need a friend or two.
Plot and Story Line
Almost A Scandal is a beautiful historical romance that won me over from the beginning. I honestly wasn't sure what I would think of this one, I have had it on my Nook for at least six months, but for some reason I just hadn't picked it up, even though I LOVE romances that take place on the sea. I think part of my reluctance was the reviews and ratings, which weren't very high so it didn't encourage me to read this instantly. Well, I decided to try it out, because I have read one of the other books in the series and just couldn't get enough. But boy did I fall for this story just about instantly. I don't know exactly what it was that grabbed me so, I think for the most part it was our heroine of the story. Boy was she great!! I loved her spirit and her willingness to do what it takes to get things done. She is a bit devious and cunning (but I really liked that), she has her flaws but she has her dreams and the courage to go after them. She takes initiative and I grew to admire her character the further I delved into the story. The chemistry between Sally and David doesn't happen overnight. In fact, it takes time for them to develop a spark. Mostly due to the fact that she is posing as a boy, but even once he finds out the truth, he doesn't know what to think of her. There is a period of time where he is dealing with his confusion about Sally. We really see how their romance takes time to develop, and an instant spark doesn't happen overnight. I love how it slowly builds up, and then once it does happen, then life gets more interesting on the sea.

The feel of her lips beneath his was new, and extraordinary, and he was conscious of wanting to go slowly, to savor every touch, every taste. Her lips were chapped and rough as his, but the moment she opened her mouth beneath his, he fell into the inevitable soft sweetness of her. She kissed the way she lived, with generosity and bright enthusiasm.

There are a couple of conflicts that keep these two from an instant HEA, and I had a blast seeing them work through their issues and build a trust with each other. It isn't easy what they have going on, and I liked how their love gets tested in the end.

Do you know what I see? I see loyalty. And devotion. I see what someone, what you, were willing to sacrifice for me. I see love. Only love could leave such a lasting mark. How could I not be moved by that?

I truly ADORED the ending that Elizabeth Essex weaves for us because it was tender and poignant and truly wraps this story up in the right way. Definitely plan on reading more of this series.
The Cover
I just really admire this cover, and I love the scene it portrays. With the ship in the background, and the dark night, and how sensual it is. Makes me just want to read it again. LOL
Overall View
Almost A Scandal is a love story that is riveting and passionate, a slow-burning romance that builds into an explosion of sensuality and adventure!! A TRUE TREASURE! ( )
  addictofromance | Mar 30, 2019 |
  fromjesstoyou | Mar 21, 2016 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I wanted to finish it and yet at the same time wanted to savor it. Learned quite a bit about sailing too. Great read! ( )
  seanbata | Jun 14, 2015 |
Mulan in the 19th Century British Navy could’ve been the alternate title of this novel. I do not think I can convey in words how much I loved reading this book. I’ve had an interminable 2.5 weeks, that doesn’t really seem like it’s going to get a lot better before April 15th and I cannot express how much this book came to me at exactly the right time.

I will say, I do not have the qualms about mistaken gender that a lot of more discerning readers seem to have. Mulan is literally the best Disney movie of the pre-CGI generation. I will literally fight you over this. So along comes this book, and I sincerely believed it was going to amount to a typical pirate/sea-faring romance novel and boy was I fucking wrong and delightfully so.

The heroine is from a Navy family. There’s a long tradition of men and Navy captains in Sally Kent’s pedigree. She’s the lone girl amongst 4 brothers and a father, her mother having died when she was young. She did the majority of her growing up on board Navy ships, only to be left at port when she reached a certain age. To condense a lot of backstory: she finds herself in a position to take her 15 year old brother’s place as a midshipman (and save her family disgrace). The lovely thing about Sally is that she’s only slightly deluded as to her justification for the risk she takes in pretending to be her brother, also, I love Sally Kent and I will fight you for her.

The hero is Col, Lieutenant David St. Vincent Colyear, and old family friend of the Kents. I have to say, as with most of the romance novels that I end up just wanting to crawl into a hole and die over, the hero is just…rather unremarkable when sat next to the heroine. Don’t get me wrong, Col is plenty likable. And in a great way, he respects Sally. When his protective instincts get engaged, I was left feeling that he would feel that instinctive protective instincts even if she were a boy. He was protective because he was in love with her, not because he didn’t know what she was capable of.

I suppose part of this is because Sally feels the same protectiveness over Col, so you get both sides of that coin, and it comes across as that they both fear, deeply, losing the other instead of some machismo power struggle.

At any rate, let me count the ways I loved this:
1) While I would’ve happily accepted MORE “gaypanic” there was still a really wonderful portion of this novel where Col kind of wanted to bang what he thought was a 15 year old boy. AND WHILE I’M SURE SOME PEOPLE WILL DISAGREE, that was the part that I was like “WELP I’M IN FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS NO MATTER WHAT.”

2) This is a slow burn book. If you’re picking this up thinking it’ll follow the traditional format where the meetcute happens around 5%, the first makeout/grope session happens between 23-27%, the sex happens around 45% and the marriage proposal at 65-73% with some major catastrophe between 75-85% that threatens the couple, reassess expectations. There is the very real presence of everyone else on the ship and the realities of the complete and utter lack of privacy onboard a ship as WELL as the fact that people —- well, Col and Sally could stand to be more circumspect. Even before feelings are ever even sort of admitted to, there’s an air about them that people pick up on. In fact, Col is warned away from making Sally his whipping boy (…so to speak) at one point and like. I shrieked with delight.

4) The characters in this book are not idiots. They’re capable military men (and woman) who make hard decisions and are alive for a reason and that’s amazing and I want to marry it.

5) This book is not a book that spends 90% of the time on the couple. This is really, and truly, at its heart the story of Sally Kent. It is a romance novel. I wouldn’t hand this to someone with a distaste for romance novels. But oh man, Sally Kent. My favourite lady.


7) And seriously, though this may be attributable to the fact that I’m hormonal right now, by the time Col and Sally get to the horizontal portion of their relationship I was like so there so into it yes please keep going dear god oh my. Which RARELY RARELY HAPPENS.

8) Also, sailors say “fuck” in this novel which is all I’ve really ever wanted.


10) I feel like there’s so much worth mentioning that I’m forgetting to mention.

My one gripe with this book was that the pacing could use tightening in spots. There’s not even one specific part I could point to. I just feel like maybe it wouldn’t have been awful to have another 25-50 pages to wrap it up. Though there was something utterly befitting about the ending and how it reflected Sally and Col. ( )
2 vote dukedukegoose | Jan 26, 2015 |
I couldn't even finish reading it. Just didn't hold my interest for some reason. ( )
  elizabeth2 | Jan 1, 2013 |
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to the Essex gentlemen: To the daring and darling youngest Essex spring, for drum barrages to give the proper feeling for battle, and for all things within the realm of twelve-year-old boys; and to the indispensable and deeply loved Mr. Essex, who held frim in his belief that this book should be called "Love Amidst the Cannonballs", for saying, all those years ago, "Stick with me, kid."
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Portsmouth, England, Autumn 1805

It wasn't the first time Sally Kent had donned a worn, hand-me-down from one of her brothers' sea chests, but it was the first time it had felt so completely, perfectly right.
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