If you’re looking for a light reading snack set in Georgian era England that’s filled with amusing banter but no plot, then “First Comes Scandal: A Bridgerton Prequel” should satisfy your appetite. It’s like the tag line on an old commercial; “Where’s the beef?” I think the cook only used beef broth, no meat. Julia Quinn does period romance better than most writers of that genre and this one is full of lighthearted dialogue between Georgiana “Georgie” Bridgerton and medical student, Nicholas Rokesby. The couple is coerced into marriage to salvage what’s left of Georgie’s already tattered reputation. She, who through no fault of her own, was abducted and held against her will is the target of the ton’s vicious gossips. No one said it had to be fair, that’s just the way English society functioned in that era. The fact that Nicholas and Georgie were childhood friends gave credibility to their hasty union but neither of them was particularly happy about being forced to marry. They eventually acquiesced, the union was blessed and they departed in 2 carriages with 13 staff, 3 cats and the necessary baggage to set up housekeeping in their first home, temporary though it would be. Nicholas still had more than a year before he could finish his medical training and become a doctor.
Meanwhile Georgie is bored silly in the country house with nothing to do, no books or anything else to occupy her quick mind and Nicholas would not be home until late Friday. With little else to do, Georgie set out to fill the long hours until the weekend. Would Nicholas approve? Probably not, but that hadn’t stopped her yet.
I loved these two characters. They’re intelligent, interesting, funny and imminently likable; the kind of people you’d want as friends. As noted earlier, there is basically no plot here so the characters and their dialogue have to do all the heavy lifting. The dialogue elicited plenty of laughs and the sexy bedroom scenes sprinkled throughout the last part of a too short read were sufficient to keep my attention from wandering. But I would’ve enjoyed something more to chew on. Some beef maybe? Four stars.
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