Review: “The Scoundrel Falls Hard” by Sophie Jordan

Before we get into the review, can you guys see this beautiful cover? It is literally so gorgeous, and the cover is the main reason I picked up this book. 

I know it’s rather vain and perhaps not a good bookish attitude, but a good cover will always draw me in and it will definitely speak for your book at every point in time. 

So, if you are an author who intends to publish your book at some point in the future, please remember to seriously consider the cover. 

And when I say consider the cover, I mean you should definitely do what you like with your cover, but also look at what is in your genre. For example, most historical books have actual pictures as opposed to animated covers (although there are more and more in recent times) which are more popular now in contemporary romance novels, especially young adult books. 

You want to make sure that you are moving with the trend and doing what still feels good. I even know some authors who create multiple covers for their books, so perhaps you could experiment with multiple covers and ask your street team to see what they think about the covers.

A part of reading is getting to meet so many different types of characters with totally different personalities, and you just simply have to get used to it. But I originally didn’t like our ML in this book.

I mean, I totally understand creative freedom and all, but I don’t really like it when a thief or a criminal is being romanticized this way. For context, our ML in this book, Kellan, is a thieving scammer who is caught masquerading as the son of a long-absent duke.

Of course, he is redeemed when we later learn that actually he had been opposed to himself and his father pulling off this type of a big scam, and he had gone along with it because he made a vow to his mother that he would protect his father, but I still think it’s weird.

And now that I’m sitting here writing this review, I have to ask myself what does it make me that I do not like the idea of reading about a scammer but I’m totally okay with reading about a notorious rake who is famous for sleeping his way through the ton without discrimination as to their marital affinities or lack thereof?

I watch Korean dramas a lot, and reading this book made me think about Lee Min Ho from Legend of the Blue Sea, who was also a notorious scammer with an eye for the ladies.

Anyway, I won’t go into all of that because this was actually a very interesting book, and I have to give it to this author. I feel that they were able to capture the essence of steamy romance, and it was amazing to see the push and pull between our leads.

So this book literally starts with Kellan being hunted down in order to be bound or perhaps chained because the townspeople have figured out himself and his father’s deception upon the arrival of the actual Duke. While running, he ends up seeking refuge in Gwen’s blacksmith shop, and this is when they meet for the very first time.

I love that our FL was a blacksmith, and she’s described as being tall and strong, and it’s actually fantastic because this is something we don’t see a lot of in romance novels, especially historical romance novels. He describes her at one point as being a militant type, and I felt he was so hot for that.

I love reading about Dukes and the nobility, but also love reading about more realistic individuals who perhaps aren’t the richest and they simply make do with what they have.

So, as I said, our ML isn’t the finest human being with the best morals, so when he is eventually brought out and about to be punished, she starts begging that he should be spared, and when she’s asked why, she says that she loves him without thinking.

Her rationale is that perhaps if they see that he is cared for, they might be lenient and leave him be. But everything sort of takes a turn when the actual Duke appears and orders that they should be married in a sennight.

So, they end up expressing their intention in the church, and everyone goes their separate ways, with the majority of the townspeople saying that she’s probably going to be disgraced because he will run away, and he does have plans to run away, but he changes his mind.

That is how the book begins with the both of them having to live in very close quarters and being engaged to marry while learning about themselves for the very first time.

I’ll tell you guys right now that what bonded them at first was their very animalistic reactions to each other because the chemistry was literally out of this world. She is someone who has never felt pretty or delicate, but he brought out these lady-like feelings in her, and you can actually tell from the very beginning that this was a man who will fall in love with her because he was utterly besotted.

He made her feel dainty. He basically treated her like she was porcelain while still making sure that she had the autonomy she needed at every single point in time. He respected her opinion and didn’t try to force anything on her, and he was always quick with an apology when he felt like he was in the wrong. And best of all, he was always ready to stand up to her bullies.

I feel that Gwen realized for the first time in her life that perhaps she could find happiness in someone outside of her family. This is someone who for the most of her life has only interacted with her family, which consisted of her father and her single uncle until they both died, and so that happiness which she bestowed on her two friends, she learned that she could also embrace with a man in a romantic way.

Looking at this from an editor’s point of view, I love what the author does when it comes to inputting conflict in the book. For one, both Gwen and Kellan have internal conflicts (one for letting go and the other for staying), and their biggest external conflict is a pair of misogynistic business competitors.

And I really feel like the voice of the story comes through at every point in time because if they are having a conversation, my eyes literally go over the tags because simply by reading what a person said, I would know who was saying that.

The stakes for both of them are very much tied to the actual story. That is, since they are essentially married from the beginning, their happily ever after is much more in peril, and I simply loved the execution.

That said, the both of them eventually decide to start a fake relationship, and you guys, this is very, very funny because I love when I see a trope being used in so many different ways, but this is perhaps the first time I have seen the fake relationship trope being used this way.

Another thing that I really, really loved about both of them is that their love language is basically trading barbs with each other, and I found this very hilarious and endearing because it’s always lovely when you see a fictional couple who have their “thing”. It also helps that they have this amazing chemistry, and you’re going to love, love, love the anvil scene (so steamy!)

Finally, this is one of those books I can definitely read over and over again, and I can foresee a reread sometime in the future. I love a good book about two lonely souls somehow finding each other in this vast world, and I feel like if everything I’ve said here sounds like your jam, then you are so, so going to love this book.

Remember that there are lots of other book recommendation lists and book reviews that you can browse through to make a decision, so check those out and let me know what you think in the comment section.


Hi! I'm Preye ("pre" as in "prepare" and "ye" as in "Kanye"), and I am a lifelong book lover who enjoys talking about books and sharing bits and pieces of all the fascinating things I come across. I love books so much that I decided to become a developmental editor, and right now, I work with authors to help them tell their stories better. On this blog, I share everything from book recommendations to book reviews and writing tips, so feel free to stop by anytime you like!

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