About His Study in Scandal:
Author: Megan Frampton
Series: School for Scoundrels #2
Page Length: 352
Publication Date: May 23, 2023
Synopsis: Alexandra, Duchess of Chelmsworth, is tired of pretending to mourn a husband who squandered a fortune and never bothered to give her the time of day, much less any attentions at night. So, the still-beautiful duchess cuts up her mourning gowns, deciding to experience the pleasures long denied her by daringly visiting the Garden of Hedon. It is there the ton anonymously gives in to their deepest desires, and where Alexandra finds herself in the arms of a mysterious man. She willingly gives in to the passion he offers her, fully believing she would never see him again.
But she is shocked to soon discover he is none other than Theo Osborne, who is continually being pushed forward as a husband–for Alexandra’s own stepdaughter! While his wealth would save the family from financial ruin, his intentions are clear: he has no interest in anyone but Alexandra. And though he tempts and teases her, she is determined not to give her heart to any man. But what started as a sensuous game turns into something much more…
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His Study in Scandal Review:
First, I’ll start with the things I liked. The female protagonist is 40! Love this! A lot of the historical romances I’ve read have a FMC who is in her 20s or maybe early 30s, so I enjoyed having a more mature character. There’s also an age gap, as Theo is 28, which is twelve years her junior. I also thought the story started off strong, and I loved when Alexandra cut her mourning clothes off. It was a wonderfully symbolic scene that shows her shedding the pain of her past and exemplifies the new, free woman she wants to be.
The conflict, however, was not my favorite. After a steamy one-night stand., Alexandra realizes that Theo is actually the man intended for her step-daughter, who has recently entered the marriage mart. This makes for a pretty sticky and uncomfortable situation, and it was a little odd. I also didn’t love Alexandra’s character, especially as the story progressed. She is so insistent that she is free to make her own choices, yet her stepson really had all the control. Also, I wanted a bit more depth and development with Thoe and Alexandra, as well as their romance. Some parts of their love story felt some parts, like the inner conflicts and monologues, felt repetitive.
Overall, this was a good read. It’s steamier than the first book in the series, and the spice starts pretty quickly. The messages and secondary characters are also strong. I just wanted a bit more development and backstory.
- Age gap
- Hero falls first
- One night stand
- Forced proximity
About The Dueling Duchess:
Author: Minerva Spencer
Series: The Wicked Women of Whitechapel #2
Page Length: 384
Publication Date: May 23, 2023
Synopsis: In the newest of her witty, Regency-set, feminist romances exploring the roles of women in a rigidly patriarchal society, the acclaimed author of Notorious hits the mark with expert sharpshooter, London circus attraction, and French expat Cecile Tremblay. Bridgerton fans will delight in the rapier sharp wit, sexual fireworks, and thought-provoking entertainment of the Wicked Women of Whitechapel.
When Cecile Tremblay lost everyone and everything in the French Revolution, she never imagined that she’d earn her living as a markswoman in a London circus. But Farnham’s Fantastical Female Fayre has become her home, her family, and her future. Another thing Cecile never imagined was becoming entangled with the man gossip columns call The Darling of the Ton . But mere weeks after her rejection of his insulting carte blanche—and his infuriating engagement to an heiress—Darlington is back, this time to beg Cecile for help. And help him she will, by teaching him about honest work—and the right way to treat a woman.
Gaius Darlington has always led a charmed life. Until now. Suddenly, a long-lost heir has appeared to claim his title, possessions, and property, Not only that, but Guy’s fiancée has jilted him to marry the usurper! Yet there is a silver it’s no longer Guy’s duty to marry an heiress to save the dukedom. He’s free to wed the woman he loves—if only he can earn her forgiveness.
They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. But fury is just a step away from passion, and Guy knows just how to arouse Cecile’s. . .
The Dueling Duchess Review:
The Dueling Duchess is the second book in The Wicked Women of Whitechapel series, though it can be read as a standalone. The story switches between the past and the present and provides ample context for those who haven’t read the first story. The flashbacks delve into Cecile and Guy’s affair when they first met, and the present focuses on the pair a year later. Initially, the pair can’t be together because Guy must marry a titled and wealthy woman, but in the year they’ve been apart, his situation has changed. Now free to pursue Cecile, Guy has to work pretty hard to earn her trust and love.
The characters drew me in, especially Cecile. She has such an intriguing and tragic backstory that very much defines her. I love that she is strong and independent, and she lives life on her terms. She’s in her mid-30s, which is a bit older than the typical historical romance FMC, and she runs a circus. While this seems improbable for the time, it makes for a unique and interesting backdrop for the story.
The secondary characters are great too, and I love the humorous dialogue. However, I didn’t love the romance as much as I’d hoped. I think it’s because Guy wasn’t my favorite. I hated that, in the flashback, he basically implied Cecile wasn’t of high enough standing to marry, but he wanted her to be his mistress. What a slap in the face! I do like that Guy realizes he made a huge mistake, and he works hard to win her back. Cecile certainly doesn’t make it easy for him, and there is a good amount of groveling. They have a lot of chemistry, and the romance is pretty steamy, but I didn’t feel a deep, emotional connection between them.
Overall, I enjoyed this one. It has a really unique premise, and the characters are well-developed. The plot is also quite layered with many plots and subplots happening concurrently.
- Second-chance romance
- Class differences