Scent of Scandal

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Overview

Love Stinks

It does when you find out that the guy you're head-over-heels about is already married. That's when Rose Stevens decides to escape her problems and flee to a remote country village. All she wants is peace and quiet, but the quaint, eccentric villagers of Great Brayford have other ideas.

Rose is amazed that her occupation as an aroma-therapist is causing such consternation among the townsfolk, when what else goes on within the ...

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Overview

Love Stinks

It does when you find out that the guy you're head-over-heels about is already married. That's when Rose Stevens decides to escape her problems and flee to a remote country village. All she wants is peace and quiet, but the quaint, eccentric villagers of Great Brayford have other ideas.

Rose is amazed that her occupation as an aroma-therapist is causing such consternation among the townsfolk, when what else goes on within the village limits seems so much worse: there's a housewife who's a hooker, a sex-starved neighbor and a troublesome Peeping Tom.

Beneath the all-pervasive aroma of garden lavender there's a distinct scent of scandal here, and Rose thinks that her small transgressions seem paltry in comparison — until she starts to get intimately involved with the sexy local builder ... and her ex-lover arrives out of nowhere with a shocking announcement ... and she unwittingly finds herself in the center of a chaotic, rumor-fed hurricane of scandal that ensures her life is even more complicated than it was before. But maybe that's also because she's in love again.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
British aromatherapist looks for love. Cutesy premise gets annoying fast when most of the character names are herbal fragrances: Anise, Angelica, Basil, Cassia, Gardenia, and so on. Not surprisingly, the heroine is named Rose, inhabitant of 5 Lavender Hill, a charming cottage in Great Brayford bought for her by Hugh, her former paramour, who's married with kids and staying that way. Though local busybodies sniff, so to speak, at her unusual line of work, Rose wipes away a few brave tears and goes about her business, moving oily little bottles from one place to another and consulting herbals. Will she ever find love again? Well, yes. It seems that the cottage needs its fireplace opened up (nudge-nudge, wink-wink). Fortunately, handsome young contractor Dan Spikenard appears, wearing exactly the right clothes for this tame sexual fantasy: a Gap plaid shirt, jeans properly faded but not ripped, and unmuddy workboots. His eyes are a clear green; his hair a brick-dust blond. Dan is sympathetic and understanding, capable and kind. In fact, he's the perfect combination of decorative stud, girlfriend, and mommy. Rose is charmed but wary. After all, Dan's involved with someone else. But he does seem to understand-instinctively and immediately-that she couldn't help falling in love with Hugh, who was very persuasive (he would have to be, since he's American and living in North Carolina). Dan expresses his tender concern by digging in the dirt with a stick like the boyish darling he is and spouting utterly improbable dialogue for a male character: When women go quiet it's usually a man's fault. And: Spending the day with you, relaxing, chatting, enjoying each other's company, has really opened myeyes. Will Dan and Rose ever find happiness? Just ask the elderly spinsters in the neighboring house who keep peeking at her through the curtains. Another brittle little romance from Matthews (Bare Necessity, 2003, etc.). Agent: Helen Breitwieser/Cornerstone Literary
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060595630
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/30/2004
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Carole Matthews worked as a secretary for six years before retraining as a Beauty Therapist. She approached Britain's Central Television with suggestions for a beauty programme and went on to write and develop a health-based magazine series called Look Good, Feel Great. After leaving Central Television, Carole worked in a holistic clinic in Milton Keyes, England and wrote freelance articles. She wrote her first fiction in 1995 — a short story that won the Writers News competition. She used the money to fund a writing course where she met her first literary agent. The rest, as they say, it history.

Already a best-selling author in England, Carole Matthews makes her American debut with For Better, For Worse, a book Kirkus Reviews calls "a cheeky romp from a best-selling Brit with a great sense of fun." The book, which has been optioned by Pandemonium Films, tells the story of recently divorced 30-something Londoner Josie Flynn. As her marriage ends in disaster, Josie flies across the ocean to her American cousin's "big mistake" wedding. Soured on love and in no rush to meet anyone, she ends up sitting next to Matt Jarvis — a recently divorced rock journalist who she becomes smitten with before the plane touches down. But alas, they go their separate ways. After all, Josie's got prenuptial confabs to worry about and that dreaded lilac chiffon bridesmaid's dress to wear. But Dante himself couldn't have dreamed up the hell this wedding is proving to be. Josie finds herself wondering how she — or any unattached modern woman, in fact — can hope to survive the new romantic rules of the twenty-first century.

For Better, For Worse was recently chosen as the fourth book club selection of the phenomenally successful Reading with Ripa book club on the nationally syndicated morning show, "Live with Regis & Kelly". "It's a big five points for humour," said co-host Kelly Ripa. "Live with Regis and Kelly" started the Reading with Ripa book club in April 2002. Ripa's previous three picks have all landed on the New York Times bestseller list.

Carole Matthews is a self-proclaimed evening class-aholic. So far she has studied garden design, golf, calligraphy, feng shui, stencilling, style analysis, watercolour painting, flower arranging, kiln glass, mosaics, stained glass and wire sculpture (to name a few!) She also runs day courses on 'Getting Your Novel Published' for Bedfordshire Adult Ed. Carole is also mad about films and of course, reading! She reads 1-2 books every week and is currently trying her hand at film scripts. Carole says she is eager to write more books(bestsellers, of course), more sitcom and maybe a comedy drama. She would also like to see the world, laugh a lot, stay healthy and eventually become wealthy and wise.

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First Chapter

The Scent of Scandal

Chapter One

ANISE
A pale yellow oil with a sweet spicy fragrance reminiscent of liquorice. In large doses it has a narcotic effect. It should be used with extreme caution and in moderation only. Anise is good for aches and pains, particularly in the neck.

The Complete Encyclopaedia of Aromatherapy Oils
by Jessamine Lovage

"She's had men popping in and out of there all day," Anise said over her shoulder. "They're more regular than our cuckoo clock."

There was a sharp edge to the winter morning, complementing perfectly the tone in Anise's voice. Outside, cobwebs, rigid with frost, hung along the hedge like starched doilies bereft of fairy cakes, flung there with careless abandon after some wild tea party. The chill sun bounced off the ice crystals and glinted in her face, making it difficult to see. In her sitting room, Anise squinted and lifted the binoculars up to her eyes, her reading glasses clinking as they knocked against them. The binoculars were heavy and her arms were aching already.

She watched the postman puffing up the hill, his breath making more steam than an old railway engine. Shifting her position, she took her weight on her good leg and looked through the binoculars toward the house across the road, whizzing them fuzzily across the barrier of hedges and spindly skeletal trees before focusing on the front door of number five Lavender Hill.

"Nine-fifteen." She glared at her younger sister who was reclining in an armchair, apparently staring into space. "Write it down!"

Angelica sighed and picked up her notepad.

"First one of the day. Tall. Caucasian. Male," Anise barked.

Angelica paused with her pencil. She looked up at her sister. "What does Caucasian mean?"

Anise turned and glared at her. "White, Angelica. White. Tall, white male. Don't you ever watch NYPD Blue or Hill Street Blues?"

"No." Angelica shrugged and her face took on a ponderous look. She put the pencil back to her notebook. "How do you spell Caucasian?"

"Just put white," Anise snapped, returning to her binoculars. "Just put white." She balanced the binoculars on her hip and wished fervently that the pins and needles would go out of her hands. It would hardly be appropriate to rub them in front of Angelica and lose face.

"What about Mr. Patel, who runs the post office and general store, is he Caucasian?"

"No. He's Asian."

"What does the Cauc bit mean?" Her sister put her pencil in her mouth and chewed the end of it thoughtfully.

Anise glared at her again. "Are you deliberately being obtuse, Angelica?"

"No. And Mr. Patel's a very nice man. You should get to know him better. He always helps to tear the page out of my pension book. They don't make perforations like they used to."

Anise tutted. "Let's get on with it, shall we? I only have so long left to live." She raised the binoculars again. "Tall, white male. Light-gray pinstripe suit. White shirt. Not tailored. Loud, flashy tie. Too vulgar by half."

"Is it absolutely necessary to write down what he's wearing?"

Anise turned to glare at her sister for a third time. "How will we know if he comes out wearing the same clothes?"

Angelica sat back in the armchair and languorously crossed her legs. "How will we know if he comes out at all unless you're planning to keep watch all day?"

"I thought I'd draw up a rota."

"Oh no, Anise." Angelica waved her hand emphatically. "You can count me out of that one. If you want to do this, you can do it by yourself. I don't mind taking a few notes, but you're not getting me up there doing your dirty work. You know I don't like heights."

"It's four steps, Angelica. Four steps. I'm not asking you to scale the Eiffel Tower. Besides the reputation of Great Brayford is at stake." She craned forward with her binoculars. "He looks suspiciously like Regis Philbin." She turned and snapped at her sister's inertia. "Quick, quick—write it down. Write it down!"

Angelica brushed her hair from her forehead with a languid movement. She had seen the young Grace Kelly do it years ago in Dial M for Murder and it was an affectation she had practiced ever since. After all these years she had it down to a fine art. Not that anyone ever appreciated it. It drove Anise insane. Partly because it drew attention to the fact that her hair was still generously flecked with soft honey tones rather than the harsh ice-gray that Anise's had gone just after she turned sixty. Her sister had looked remarkably like Catherine Deneuve until then— everyone used to say so. Fifteen years later, Anise's skin was also gray but she hid it skillfully with a liberal application of Max Fac-tor makeup, but people no longer made the Deneuve comparison. Her seventies had turned Anise old, cold and as hard as a boiled sweet.

"You could be a bit more specific, Anise. You haven't said how old he is."

"It's hard to tell. He's looking shifty, moving his head from side to side. Bugger. This hedge is in the way; we'll have to get Basil to lop the top off again."

"I think he's getting too old for it." A look of concern crossed Angelica's face. "Perhaps we need to get someone else in."

"We're getting too old for it, that's why we pay the lazy blighter to do it for us. Although the only thing I ever see him doing is leaning on his blasted spade, watching the grass grow. I've seen garden gnomes more animated than Basil."

The Scent of Scandal. Copyright © by Carole Matthews. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 23, 2009

    Scent of Scnadal

    Cute read. Love the characters, even the little old bitty that was causing trouble.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2007

    Ho-hum

    I read this in a fit of insomnia but I have to say it wasn't the content of this book that kept me awake. The characters were bizarrely uninteresting considering their lifestyles (was a prostitute housewife really necessary?). The elderly lady w/ the binoculars was by far the most interesting character and even she softened in the end (no reason given considering her sister stole her paramour). Probably won't be recommending this to any fans of chick lit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2005

    Very Very Cute! Fun Read.

    If you are someone that loves romantic comedies than you will love this book. The main character, Rose, is one of the most lovable characters I have ever read. Matthews draws up a cast that you know from the very beggining of the book, will cause enough drama to fill all the pages and more, but every character is still lovable and very fun to read about. The whole time you root for Rose and Dan to get together and throughout the whole book something stops them, which makes you want to never put the book down. This is a great quick read and definetly worth every minute and penny you spend on it!

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    Posted November 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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