Book Review: Misconduct by Penelope Douglas

This might be the last book review featuring a novel by Penelope Douglas for this year. I say “might,” because I sure enjoy reading her most of her work. But I also have other reviews waiting for me. This book review of Misconduct is mostly positive, as it is the one book I enjoyed the most after Birthday Girl.

(Review contains major spoilers.)

Book review of Misconduct by Penelope Douglas

Misconduct official cover art
Misconduct official cover art

My rating: ★★★★ (4/5)

Summary: Easton is about to start her new job as a history teacher in a private school full of VIP kids. But she met Christian’s father, Tyler, before that. Despite him being older and running for the Senate, Easton is attracted to him to the point of starting a secret relationship with Tyler. But Tyler’s relationship with Christian is strained already, and the relationship might have to end sooner than expected.

Genre: Contemporary romance

Audience: Adult

Themes/potential trigger warnings: explicit sex, depictions of OCD

Great Depiction of OCD

Let’s begin with Douglas’ versatility. Despite not being a huge fan of romance or any form of narrative written in the first person, I can’t deny that if I’m looking for great characterization, I know it’s unlikely that Pen Doug is going to disappoint me. Easton is a young woman who’s had her fair share of trauma. But she is resilient and copes with her OCD daily. I liked the fact that this theme, in particular, is part of the story and the characterization in a way that even helps the plot. In fact, when Easton’s apartment is broken in and her things go missing several times, her OCD ends up being extremely useful. She knows it’s not in her head and that someone is out to get her.

I was a little less impressed by Tyler. He’s a well-rounded character, but most of his personality revolves too much around his levels of horny and his rocky relationship with Christian. I think the author’s fantastic at writing father-son dynamics. However, it makes the male protagonist flat when you remove said dynamic. I wished Tyler had a bit more personality.

Okay Romance, Lacks Conflict

The beginning of Misconduct was extremely entertaining. My problem was that by the time Easton and Tyler meet again, the whole teacher-parent thing became redundant. Their chemistry is only sexual. Plus, they get into bed really fast. And many times. It made me wonder if the book had a plot, or if I’d stumbled into full-blown erotica.

I don’t think it was that believable for the conflict to be related to Christian. Sure, Easton is his teacher, Tyler is his father, but this kid is 14 or 15. I’m not sure what the scandal or trauma would be. Plus, Easton’s position doesn’t mean she would be his teacher until his diploma or something. The part where it would be scandalous for future Senator Tyler to date his son’s teacher didn’t convince me either. I think it’s worse for him to hang out with a news person (which he does at the beginning) because of potential biased media coverage.

This book was good, but I would have preferred a better conflict and resolution. I couldn’t genuinely believe that it was a problem for these two to be together. Even the age gap was nothing special. Easton is a grown woman in her twenties, and Tyler is what? Ten years her senior? What’s the big deal?

I still recommend Misconduct if you want a light read.