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Scandal and the Duchess

Scandal and the Duchess, September 2014
Mackenzies Series #2
by Jennifer Ashley

Featuring: Steven McBride; Rose Barclay
160 pages
ISBN: 1101615931
EAN: 9781101615935
Kindle: B00DGZKJ5C
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"Rowdy soldier saves a sweet and maligned widow"

Fresh Fiction Review

Scandal and the Duchess
Jennifer Ashley

Reviewed by Make Kay
Posted September 7, 2014

Romance Historical

SCANDAL AND THE DUCHESS is a short novella, just 160 pages, book 6.5 in the Mackenzies/McBrides series. With only fifteen chapters, the getting to know you then the fall into love of Rose and Steven occurs very rapidly. This light and very quick read provides a brief look into the lives of the Mackenzies as we wait for the release of the full novel Rules for a Proper Governess, which is next in the series.

Rose Barclay is the young widow of the Duke of Southdown. The duke died on their honeymoon, and it was intimated that the rigors of the marriage bed were too much for the elderly peer. The newspapers are making much out of the lampooning of the grieving widow. Rose's evil stepson is contesting her widow's portion, and kicks her out of the estate's dower house to kennel his dogs in it instead. The stepson is a fairly cardboard villain, but provides a good reason for Rose and Steven to be thrown together so strongly and so rapidly.

Steven McBride is a wild Scottish soldier on leave from his regiment in West Africa, who is known for his womanizing and heavy gambling. Rose is fleeing some intrusive journalists when she literally runs into Steven. He falls into Rose's bosom after leaving a gambling den, then passes out drunk on her lap. The scandal-mongering newspapers lewdly suggest that the newly widowed (and innocent!) duchess is starting an affair with Steven. Steven proposes a a ruse to fool the journalists, and then the two start off an a rapid adventure that has several unexpected consequences.

Fans of the series will love the many glimpses of other family. I was especially happy to see quite a bit of Ian Mackenzie, by far my favorite of all the characters in this series. There is a fun little mystery the intrepid couple solves, and a satisfying Happily Ever After. Consider this little story an amuse bouche, a single, bite-sized hors d'œuvre, to whet your appetite and prepare you for the upcoming meal of the next novel arriving.

Learn more about Scandal and the Duchess


Scandal follows Rose Barclay, young widow of the Duke of Southdown, wherever she goes. It's never her fault, but newspapers love to write about the young woman from Scotland, and the much older duke she married, who died on their honeymoon. The duke left her with a large widow's portion, now contested by his younger brother, who kicks Rose out of the estate's dower house and uses it to kennel his dogs.

Rose does not need to be found with a large, handsome Scot passed out at her feet, fueling gossips and giving her brother-in-law more ammunition. The Scot is Steven McBride--a decorated soldier who is notorious for heavy gambling and womanizing during his leave time. Steven is happy to open his eyes and find the beautiful woman standing over him, and happy to help spirit her away. But the journalists get wind and start a campaign to couple Rose with the scandalous Steven McBride.

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