Proper young ladies of the ton-especially ones who have very small dowries-are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only thing they are encouraged to pursue is an eligible bachelor. So, the headstrong Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret. Ah, but secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble . . .
The eldest of the three Sloane sisters, Olivia is unafraid to question the boundaries of Society-even if it does frequently land her in trouble. Disdaining the glittery world of balls and courtship, Olivia prefers to spend her time writing fiery political essays under a pseudonym for London’s leading newspaper. But when her columns attract the attention of the oh-so-proper Earl of Wrexham, Olivia suddenly finds herself dancing on the razor’s edge of scandal. With the help of her sisters, she tries to stay one step ahead of trouble . . .
However, after a series of madcap misadventures, Wrexham, a former military hero who is fighting for social reform in Parliament, discovers Olivia’s secret. To her surprise, he proposes a temporary alliance to help win passage of his bill. Passion flares between them, but when a political enemy kidnaps the earl’s young son, they must make some dangerous decisions . . . and trust that love will conquer all.
I’m going to admit something: I requested this book for review because I loved the cover. I didn’t actually read the blurb until after I’d already downloaded it! (And the cover for the next book is gorgeous, too!)
I’ve never read a book by this author before, so the first in a new series sounded like a good place to start. I enjoyed it, and especially the way the action kept on moving. Some historical romances start off well and then sort of even out into more of the same, and I lose interest halfway through. This one definitely held my interest from start to finish.
I don’t know if we ever got a year this book was set in, though references were made to certain historical events that had happened in the recent past.
Olivia was a little on the irritating side early on. There’s a real trend at the moment to have heroines who proudly declare they’re, ‘Not like other ladies’ – as though being like other women in the world is a terrible thing. She didn’t seem to ever consider that had she been raised by a different father, without the advantages of education he gave her, she would have been one of those ‘other ladies’. There’s no shame in surviving in the world you were raised in.
Which is why I appreciated the moment when she was questioned about her determination not to do anything as others did, when it was suggested she really didn’t have to be as different as she made herself be. Her armour.
John is a good hero (if astoundingly progressive for a man of his time). He’s not too perfect, despite being called perfect by others from the start of the book to its finish. I thought his relationship with his son was interesting. Not at all neglectful, but definitely one that had been formed around the social rules of the aristocracy. I’m not sure about getting amorous with a woman during some of the drama towards the end, but otherwise he was a good parent who tried hard to do the right thing by his son.
I liked the addition of John’s son to the storyline – apart from the fact the story would have been impossible without him. I’m not sure why, as I’m not much one for children in books, but I just really liked his presence in the story.
Here’s a quote I particularly liked:
She liked that about the earl – most men seemed to feel the need to constantly natter on, but he was comfortable with his own thoughts.
I cannot tell you how much I hate it when this quote – almost word for word – is used to describe women in so many other books! I HATE it! I love that the author turned it around and shot it straight back at the male characters who are prone to think it!
This was a significantly more enjoyable historical romance than the last few I’ve read, and I will definitely seek out the next in the series. Apart from anything else, I want the pretty cover!
I only hope that the editors cut the use of snuck out of the next book. I cringe every time I see it turn up in a book in this genre!
Review copy provided by NetGalley.