First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn – Excerpt and Review

About the Book:

She was given two choices…

Georgiana Bridgerton isn’t against the idea of marriage. She’d just thought she’d have some say in the matter. But with her reputation hanging by a thread after she’s abducted for her dowry, Georgie is given two options: live out her life as a spinster or marry the rogue who has ruined her life.

Enter Option #3

As the fourth son of an earl, Nicholas Rokesby is prepared to chart his own course. He has a life in Edinburgh, where he’s close to completing his medical studies, and he has no time—or interest—to find a wife. But when he discovers that Georgie Bridgerton—his literal girl-next-door—is facing ruin, he knows what he must do.

A Marriage of Convenience

It might not have been the most romantic of proposals, but Nicholas never thought she’d say no. Georgie doesn’t want to be anyone’s sacrifice, and besides, they could never think of each other as anything more than childhood friends… or could they?

But as they embark upon their unorthodox courtship, they discover a new twist to the age-old rhyme. First comes scandal, then comes marriage. But after that comes love…

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                                     First Comes Scandal: A Bridgerton Prequel

Read an Excerpt:

They sat in companionable silence, taking turns breaking off chunks of cheese. “I have bread, too,” Georgie told him. She peered into the hamper. “And jam.”

“Strawberry?”

“Raspberry.”

He sniffed disdainfully. “Then I’m not interested.”

She gave him a look, then sputtered with laughter. “What does that mean?” He grinned again, rather enjoying the feel of it on his face. “I have no idea.”

He was comfortable with her. He could make the sort of stupid comments that were only a little bit funny and made no sense. The kind one made when one didn’t have to weigh every word and worry about judgment or scorn.

That’s how it had always been with Georgie—well, except for the night before. And even that had turned out fine in the end.

There were worse fates than marrying one’s friend.

He propped himself into a more upright position, pushing slightly past her to peer into the hamper. “I’d love some jam. Whatever the flavor.”

“Bread?” she asked.

“We’re not savages.”

She raised a brow. “Speak for yourself.”

“You eat jam straight from the jar?”

“You don’t?”

He gave her a sideways glance. “Raspberry or strawberry?”

She threw a chunk of cheese at him.

He laughed and popped it in his mouth. “Fine, yes, I admit it. I’ve eaten jam straight from the jar. But I used a spoon.”

“So proper, you are. Next you’ll be telling me you’ve never drunk whiskey straight from a bottle.”

“I haven’t.”

“Oh, there’s no way,” she scoffed. “I’ve seen you and Edmund after a night out at the tavern.”

“Where we drank from mugs and glasses,” he said pointedly. “Gad, Georgie, do you know what an entire bottle of whiskey would do to a man?”

She shook her head. “I’ve never had whiskey.”

“How can that be?” he asked. It would be highly unusual for a well-bred lady such as Georgiana to drink whiskey on a regular basis, but surely somewhere along the way she’d had a sip.

Georgie started spreading jam on a slice of bread. “Well, I don’t live in Scotland, for one thing.”

“I suppose that would make it difficult. Your father doesn’t drink it?”

She shook her head. “Not that I’m aware.” Nicholas shrugged. Whiskey was so ubiquitous in Edinburgh he’d forgotten that people didn’t drink much of it in England, especially this far south.

Georgie handed him a slice of bread and got to work preparing one for herself. “Here you go.”

“Aunt Georgie!”

They both looked up. Anthony was sidling over, one hand behind his back.

“Aunt Georgie, do you like worms?”

“I adore them!” She looked over at Nicholas. “I hate them.” And then back at the boys: “The more the better!”

Anthony conferred with his younger brother.

They both looked disappointed.

“Clever girl,” Nicholas said.

“At least more clever than a seven-year-old.”

They watched as the two boys surreptitiously dropped a few worms on the ground. “Lofty goals,” Nicholas murmured.

She munched her bread and jam. “You do know how to flatter a lady.”

“Right,” he said, clearing his throat. It seemed as good an opening as any. “Speaking of which . . .”

She gave him an amused glance. “Speaking of flattering me?”

 “No.” Good God. This was not going well and he hadn’t even started.

Her eyes turned to mischief. “So you don’t want to flatter me.”

“No. Georgie . . .”

“My apologies. I couldn’t resist.” She set her bread carefully down on a napkin. “What was it you needed?”

What was it he needed? He needed to go back to Edinburgh and resume his life. But instead he was here, about to propose a marriage of—he assumed—convenience.

Not his convenience.

Not hers, either. Not really. Nothing about her life had been convenient lately.

“Sorry,” he muttered. “I wanted to talk to you, actually. It’s why I came out here this morning.”

“Not for the worms?” she asked cheekily.

This, more than anything, cemented his belief that she had no idea what was afoot. He cleared his throat.

“Tea?”

“What?”

She picked up a flask he had not noticed.

“Would you like some tea? It’s cold by now, but it will take care of your throat.”

“No. Thank you. It’s not that.”

She shrugged and took a sip. “I swear by it.”

“Right. Georgie. I really do need to ask you something.”

She blinked, regarding him with an expectant expression.

“When I came down from Edinburgh it was, as I told you, because my father wished to consult with me about something. But—”

“Oh, sorry, hold on one moment,” she said before turning toward the lake and yelling, “Anthony, stop that this minute!”

Anthony, who was sitting rather cheerfully on his brother’s head, said, “Do I have to?”

“Yes!” Georgie looked for a moment as if she might get up to enforce her will, but Anthony finally rolled off his brother and went back to poking holes in the dirt with a stick.

Georgie rolled her eyes before returning her attention to Nicholas. “Sorry. You were saying . . .”

“I have no bloody idea,” he muttered.

Her expression was somewhere between perplexed and amused.

“No,” he said. “That’s not true. I do know what I meant to say.”

But he didn’t say it.

“Nicholas?”

In the end, he blurted it out, just like he’d told himself not to do.

“Will you marry me?”

From FIRST COMES SCANDAL by Julia Quinn, published by Avon Books. Copyright © 2020 by Julie Pottinger. Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollinsPublishers

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

As the fourth son of an earl, Nicholas Rokesby had to choose a vocation, and is presently studying in Scotland to become a physician.  He is alarmed upon receiving a note from his father, urging him to return home as soon as he can.  Thinking of the worst possible scenarios, Nicholas rushes home at a crucial time in his studies, to learn that the reason for his summons is that the daughter of their neighbors and close friends had been kidnapped.  Though the young lady was returned unharmed, her reputation is now shattered.  Nicholas, while happy to learn that his friend is fine, is puzzled as to why he had to be brought home.  Then he learns that his parents intend that he marry Georgiana in order to redeem her from scandal.

Georgiana Bridgerton had a few outings with Freddie Oakes, never realizing his intent to marry her and her sizable dowry.  The fortune hunter never even asked for her hand in marriage before he absconded with her, hoping to force her to wed in order to save her reputation.  Georgiana is far from helpless, and managed to escape Freddie, who then proceeded to share the story, still hoping to force her hand.  Georgiana refuses to marry him, choosing to accept ruin rather than marry the scoundrel.

Initially, Nicholas refuses his father’s “suggestion” that he marry Georgiana.  After all, he had been hoping to marry for love, as his siblings did.  Still, the ties between the two families are very strong, and Georgie’s brother, Edmund, is Nicholas’ best friend.  Nicholas likes Georgie, but never thought of her in any romantic sort of way.  He decides to propose, and after an initial refusal, Georgie rethinks her answer, and decides to accept.  It seems she never had any romantic thoughts about Nicholas either.

Both sets of parents are overjoyed, and attempt to take over the situation, showering the couple with servants, furnishings, carriages, and even a residence.  Nicholas and Georgie marry immediately by special license, and set off for Scotland, as Nicholas must return to his studies.  Nicholas and Georgie are committed to making their marriage a success, building on the foundation of their friendship and family ties.  They begin to look at each other through new eyes, seeing lovers and partners, as they embark on their new adventure.

FIRST COMES SCANDAL is one of those rare, lovely books where the focus is on the couple getting to know each other and falling in love without huge drama or conflict.  The only discord is in the first part of the book when they are wrestling with whether they will marry or not.  I love this couple’s compatibility and how they seem to be so in sync with each other.  Neither is very experienced sexually, but their eagerness to please each other leads to a hot physical relationship.  There is plenty of Julia Quinn’s trademark humor, as one scene in particular, which takes place in a tree outside Georgie’s bedroom had me literally laughing out loud.  That alone makes this book worth reading, but there’s so much more.  I felt so good as I became immersed in this story, as I only had to sigh and enjoy their fabulous journey to love.  FIRST COMES SCANDAL is a light, steamy, entertaining, and romantic delight guaranteed to leave you smiling.  I loved this couple, and along with my favorite tropes of friends to lovers and marriage of convenience all wrapped up in one book, I was in reading paradise.    ~Rose

(Note:  This is a Bridgerton prequel, but can easily be read as a standalone.  For those who have read the series, Anthony, Benedict, and Colin Bridgerton appear here as young boys and an infant, respectively.  Georgie is their aunt.)

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