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A Scandalous Request

Narrated by: Melanie Fraser
Length: 7 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

London, 1812. After fleeing the clutches of her vile brother-in-law, Rose Evans finds refuge in the home of her dear friend, Lord Ashton Sennett. They come to an agreement, a marriage of friendly convenience. Since another holds claim to Ashton's heart and body, he seeks to see that Rose experiences all life has to offer. And so to Lord Darington he makes a most scandalous request. 

Burke Darington, Third Earl of Blackwood and an austere, solitary man, can scarce believe his ears. Apparently, his whispered reputation has earned him an outrageous solicitation - Lord Sennett wants him to seduce his wife. Though Burke finds Rose fascinating, sweet, intelligent, and with a unique bent toward independence, she is also innocent. She deserves better than to be fouled by a tainted man. 

A seduction, a shooting, and an unexpected matter of the heart throw two wounded souls into a sensational scandal.

©2018 Micki Miller (P)2019 Micki Miller

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  • Zena
  • South Africa
  • 16-03-19

Five Stars Plus!

Burke has been approached by Rose's husband to seduce her. Yes! You are reading this correctly.
He decided not to but as he gets to know her socially, finds that he has in fact fallen in love with her and so as the story of attempted murders unfolds, he becomes her protector and lover.
This is a love story with a difference and not only is it well written, exciting and very entertaining with all its twists and turns, but is had been beautifully narrated by Melanie Fraser with her amazing voice acting ability. She has really put the finishing touches to this lovely story and I highly recommend it to you.
I requested and voluntarily listened to a copy of the audiobook version and this is my unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kate
  • Audiobook Blogger @MLHearingThings
  • 27-04-19

Very sweet and traditional, a bit Mills and Boon

I have to begin by saying that I have very conflicting feelings about this book. There are parts I really enjoyed, but it has also broken the record for the number of times I have spoken back to, and occasionally shouted at, an audiobook.

A Scandalous Request is shamelessly sweet, with a sing-song, fairy-tale expression, and the writing style is very flowery. I am not one who practices any economy with words, as anyone who has read my previous blogs can attest. Yet it felt at times as though the author’s main editing process involved combing back through her manuscript with a thesaurus, swapping perfectly serviceable words with their more grandiloquent counterparts to make each sentence as ‘pretty’ as possible. The florid style gave this Regency romance a very old-fashioned feel which had nothing to do with the historical setting. It reminded me of the 70s/80s Mills & Boon paperbacks which lined shelf upon shelf of every charity shop I visited as a child. Whilst I have never read a book by Dame Barbara Cartland, this audiobook feels the way I always imagined her novels might whenever I saw her dressed head-to-toe in shades of pink, which managed to clash rather violently with the varying candyfloss hues of her home décor.

The plot itself is not a bad one, and I felt an instant affinity to several of the characters. Burke Darington, in particular, is a fine rake and I would have enjoyed having his perspective and development explored in more detail. He was, without question, my favourite character in the book, but I do have a marked fondness for confirmed bachelors who come undone at the feet of women who appear, at first, not quite exotic enough to tempt them. (Thank you, Mr Darcy.)

I was also pleased to see a healthy M/M relationship portrayed with tolerance by those close to the couple, despite the period setting and the dangers of conducting such a love-affair at the time. It was a little unfortunate that so many stereotypes came into play here, with the main clues to this ‘plot twist’ coming in the form of a gentleman’s inimitable taste in interior design and numerous platonic female friendships. It was refreshing to see the men’s relationship depicted as happy and loving, because the inclusion of M/Ml relationships in historical romances is often blighted by torturous self-flagellation or unyielding tragedy. I was, therefore, rather disappointed in the conclusion of this storyline, as it fell into the trap of a rather unfortunate trope.

The character with whom I felt the least connection, and the greatest frustration, was the protagonist, Rose. From almost the first moment of her introduction it was clear that she was a Mary Sue of such flawless perfection that she’d make Mary Poppins appear delinquent. Her innocence drives men wild with longing, she is beloved by all but one of her servants, and near the beginning of the book the youthful, blonde, kind-natured, ingenue is literally described as being adored by orphaned children and stray puppies alike. Not a chapter passes without her doing something “adorable” or the sun pitching on her in just the right way to emphasise her angelic beauty. Much of Rose’s spirit appears as an uncanny ability to wield an amber pig with devastating accuracy, an element of the story which I actually thought was great fun and made me wish the author had embraced a little more humour.

A Scandalous Request is a mainly sweet romance with a little intimacy, mainly detailed from Rose’s perspective without delving into her lover’s experience, but it was not explored very explicitly.

I feel as though I am being unfairly critical because there was certainly a compelling story buried under the sacchariferous styling. (For example, a character becoming wrongly imprisoned in Newgate was an engaging turn of events, but the lady in question ended the worst day of her life dreaming of “fairy lands, and family, and love”. Which was one of the moments when I shouted at it for ruining the first occasions where she begins to develop some dimension beyond that of a Disney princess.)

The narrator, Melanie Fraser, did an excellent job of infusing the story with life and performs each of the parts very well. She does read it a little like it is a bedtime story, so I mainly listened to it in the evening when winding down. I think that this particular audiobook would have been better with a male narrator, as it may have helped alleviate some of the cloying sweetness, especially given the prominence of the male characters. Fraser’s voice for Rose made her sound incredibly young but was very expressive. I would love to listen to Melanie Fraser narrating children’s books, as I think she would be wonderful reading something like Enid Blyton. She has a storyteller’s style, and whilst in this case it exacerbated the fairy-tale feeling of the book, I think that it would be perfect in a book for a younger audience.

I wasn’t keen on the echoey sound effects used during the scenes at Newgate Prison. No sound effects were used anywhere else – not even the thwack of amber upon chauvinist – so it seemed very out of place. Had it been part of a dramatised recording with other atmospheric sounds then it would have been fine, but in their absence it felt like a gimmick. This is personal preference, however, as I can imagine others finding it immersive.

Overall, A Scandalous Request is a sweet Regency romance with its heart in the right place, and if you are happy to lose yourself in the period and experience it alongside a young woman with similarly benevolent intentions then you may well enjoy this audiobook. However, if you prefer your historical heroines to feel a little more rounded in places other than merely the bosom, then you would do better to consider the ‘clean’ Regency romances by Georgette Heyer, Sophia Holloway, or Lynn Messina.


*I received this audiobook free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review

  • Overall
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A very good historical romance.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. I love it when there is a mystery involved in a historical romance as it makes the story that bit more suspenseful and exciting.
I had great sympathy for Rose right from the beginning and so I couldn't wait to find out how she would manage to find true love whilst married to her good friend Lord Ashton. Lord Darington was a charming character and I enjoyed following the pair as he and Rose became friends and then more.
The mystery was well written and the twists kept me guessing.
The quality of the narration made the story even more engrossing. Melanie Fraser gives an excellent performance. It's so easy to live in the story when she's narrating.
I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

I voluntarily reviewed an advance reading audio copy.

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    4 out of 5 stars

historical romance with a mystery

This type of book is not the sort of thing I usually read. I love historical romance just without the sex and that is what I thought it would be based on the book cover. Yes I know the title and description might say other wise but I have read other books similar to this but they did not have any sex scenes. This book does have two, however, I did find it different to others that I have read, in that there was a gay couple which I was not expecting and a mystery which I did not see coming.
I also have to hand it out to the author because I did not figure out who did it until I was told who committed the crime. I usually guess early on but not so in this case and looking back all the clues were there but the author wrote it in such a way that I guessed completely wrong!
The narrator I thought suited this type of audiobook and I had no problems listening to her.

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Profile Image for 🌸DARA
  • 🌸DARA
  • 23-03-19

Thank Goodness For Amber Pigs! 🐷

This story is a delightful jaunt that has romance, mystery and fun. The storyline is unusual (even a bit naughty) and the characters are quirky but overall it is quite entertaining. 😁

Melanie Fraser narrated wonderfully. She read in a regency style voice which added authenticity to the production. 👍

I recommend this book if you enjoy a good fun regency romance with mystery. 🌼

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Karl hill
  • Karl hill
  • 14-04-19

Rough Start for Me, but Glad I Saw it Through

When I first started this book, I was not sure if I was going to be able to stick with it. I was getting confused here and there in the plot. However, I had very strong emotions towards the characters early on. I loathed some (especially that brother in law) and enjoyed some. Plus, the narration was fantastic. So I stuck with it.

Once I found the plot got moving and I figured out a little more of the story I could not stop listening. I love Regency style pieces, but this story was different from many I have read. I loved the muder and mystery in this book. Of course there was also some romacne. A lot of times I enjoy the mystery but fall in love with a story for the romance. Again, this audiobook was different in the fact I prefered and stayed for the mystery but did not mind the romance.

Melanie Fraser did a fantastic job with the voices. You could visualize the characters so well and her voice brought them to life. I would try a book just on the fact she was narrating it.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Christy D
  • 03-04-19

A Scandalous Request

This book is just a great listen! I love historical romances I think partially because they usually have a bit of action/adventure in them to go with the love story. And this book did not let me down. Rose has not had an easy life like her sister likes to suggest. She lost her parents when she was 12 and was raised by a resentful sister. Unlike her sister who was already grown and married. Luckily for her a friend helps her get away from a bad situation. But their marriage is a cover. And he truly wants her to be happy. He requests a friend help them out. Only no one counts on Burke falling for her or her for him. The 4 some seem to have everything until it all falls apart. Melanie Fraser does a fantastic job bringing this story to life. I love listening to her accent!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan M
  • 05-05-19

Scandalous!

A Scandalous Request by Micki Miller is an original story. I loved the imagery the author wrote in this book. Most of the characters were endearing, except for a certain few. The Amber Pigs were a nice addition too. I found the mystery and romance to be very enjoyable in this book. Melanie Fraser brought the characters to life with her performance. She has such an authentic Regency sounding voice. I had not expected the twist in this book, and I fully enjoyed it. I requested this review copy audiobook and have voluntarily written this review. I will definitely listen to more books by this author and narrator.

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  • Jocelyne
  • 17-04-19

Great Historical Romance

This was my first Micki Miller's story. This is a great and fun Historical Romance. The storyline is well written, and intriguing. Rose and Burke are great characters, and the secondary characters are also interesting. Melanie Fraser did a great job with the narration. I enjoyed listening to this audiobook.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Katie
  • 15-04-19

Great blend of romance, mystery and history.......

A Scandalous Request is an entertaining blend of romance, mystery and history. The story takes place in Victorian England, and the author captures well the social mores of this time period. Rose is a 20 year-old woman living at the mercy of her sister and lecherous brother-in-law. Rose escapes the misery of her life by entering a marriage of convenience with her best friend, Ashton, enabling him to continue living in secret with his male lover. The relationship between these three was one of my favorite parts of the book as the men treat Rose as an adored sister and cherished friend.

Along these lines, Ashton feels guilty that Rose will never experience a full married life, and he asks his friend Burke, a highly promiscuous Earl, to seduce his wife. What follows is a slow-burn seduction of Rose by Burke but also, less obviously but even more powerfully, a seduction of Burke by Rose. He is captivated by Rose's intelligence, kindness, and beauty as well as her inner core of strength. For a man accustomed to bedding a woman and leaving without further thought, Rose intrigues Burke without even trying to do so. The author throws in a murder, several attempts on Rose's life, and plenty of push/pull between Rose and Burke, making this a fun blend of suspense and steam.

Melanie Fraser's narration is superb. She has a beautiful English accent, and her portrayal of Rose is perfect for her ingenue personality. Although I loved how Fraser handles Rose, I think she does an equally skillful job with all the characters in the story. I would absolutely listen to another performance by Fraser in the future.

I received a copy of this audiobook at my request in exchange for this honest review.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kelly Kenrick
  • 11-04-19

It's a romance

It's interesting listening to the latest book in the Foundling series. I was scrolling through Facebook yesterday and Kate Middleton and the Queen were visiting the Foundling Hospital on its anniversary opening. It's nice to see something etched in history. I don't think I realized that the Foundling Hospital was a real establishment before now.

Melanie Fraser gives another delightful narration to this book, which is sort of a Cinderella story. Younger sister runs away from the home of her sister and lecherous brother-in-law to end up married to a Lord, with a bit of a difference to the story. Lord Ashton Sennet encourages his wife to stray outside the boundaries of marriage, and actually enlists the help of an acquaintance of his, Lord Burke Darington.

Things go sideways with the shooting death of Lord Ashton and his wife Rose accused of murder. Even Lord Burke believes her guilty, until his heart gets in the way. He sets her from from gaol and takes he to his country home. But the real murderer is still after his target.

I found the author to be overly flowery in the phrasing of the book; I caught myself thinking that this is definitely a romance book, more so than the other Foundling books in the series. Rose's character was almost too perfect, and I generally dislike the plot line of the male being so overwhelmed by the woman's beauty and innocence, especially in today's society - it doesn't help women in today's society. Having said that, I knew it was a romance starting the book, so I was prepared.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, I actually did this the murderer was someone different then it turned out to be, which is good for the plot line. And I continue to enjoy the Foundling series.

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  • Georgiana
  • 10-04-19

Wonderful Narration

I’m not a big reader/listener of MF Historical Romance, but I thought this sounded interesting and wanted to give it a try.

I’m so glad I did. It was a wonderful story with great characters. I enjoyed the drama, mystery and the oh so scandalous offer to seduce another man's wife.

I only wish the ending had a bit more to it. I felt it to be a bit rushed. But the story overall was paced nicely and told beautifully.

Melanie Fraser did an amazing job. I loved that she switched up the voices for the characters.

I will be reading more from this author and will also be listening to more audios by this narrator.

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  • Becky
  • 09-04-19

An unusual plot for an historical romance

This book has an unusual plot for an historical romance---a husband setting up his wife with another man! There is a mystery as well as romance. Several characters are presented as possibilities for the villain, but the culprit is pretty easy to guess.

I would have led the plot in a different direction. I liked Ashton and Luis, and I would have liked to see Rose join them! I wanted to see the marriage of convenience become a true marriage. I could have liked Burke, but since she was married to Ashley, it was necessary to kill off Ashley to have Burke! This was just too convenient and unappealing. Ashley is now dead, Luis is alone, and Rose and Burke are happy? All so convenient.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Profile Image for Lidia Chymkowska
  • Lidia Chymkowska
  • 07-04-19

Love and murder - what more could you wish for?:)

This is the kind of romance that has everything - a damsel in distress, a dashing knight in (not so) white armour, a villain or two (or three) with hearts as black as coal...:) There is romantic fascination at first sight, misunderstandings that are heart-breaking, and love that conquers all; there are social rules whose breaking means ostracism for the culprits; and there's murder which must be solved if we are to have a happily ever after... And all this presented to you in a tale that is fast-paced, surprising and truly emotional, with characters you immediately fall in love/hate with and who feel real and solid.

The book comes wonderfully to life in this perfect interpretation by Ms Melanie Fraser. She's a narrator you will definitely come back to; she does voices so well that you can truly visualise particular characters and her acting skills convey brilliantly all the emotional turmoils they go through.

DISCLAIMER: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.