Anne Gracie brings us a new series, The Brides of Bellaire Gardens. THE SCOUNDREL’S DAUGHTER is likely to be a hit with fans of Georgette Heyer. Set in the Regency era, Gracie gives us two unlikely couples who ultimately find love despite societal strictures, an evil villain, truly terrible family members, and the self-denying penchant of both of the heroines.
Lady Alice Charlton has recently escaped eighteen years of spousal abuse with the death of her jackass husband. She believes she has finally paid off all his outstanding debts and may be free to live a quiet life of peace, when her world is shattered by a blackmailer who has letters from her husband to his mistress that denigrate Alice and would destroy her standing in the ton. Her blackmailer forces Alice to agree to bring out his daughter Lucy and marry Lucy off to a nobleman, in order for Alice to escape publication of the missives. This pretense seems somewhat thin, to my eye, but I admit that for many in the ton, appearance was all-important.
Lucy is another victim of her craptastic father’s many schemes. Lucy is determined to ruin any chances of ending up with a nobleman. Both Alice and Lucy manage to be sympathetic characters. Alice’s nephew Gerald, the only non-horrible relative she has, manages to fall in love with Lucy despite her attitude. Lucy rebuffs Gerald repeatedly, and it’s pretty funny to watch the sparks fly as they butt heads at balls and at other outings. And reluctant Alice herself is wooed by Gerald’s former commanding officer James, an upstanding gentleman who is so sweet and patient with Alice. I think I like James the best of the four protagonists, for his honorable behavior and generous nature.
Gracie has written some books that I have enjoyed a lot, but THE SCOUNDREL’S DAUGHTER is not at the top of my list for her stories. I’m not a Georgette Heyer fan, so the feel of this book which mimics so closely a Heyer manner, does not captivate me. THE SCOUNDREL’S DAUGHTER is a diverting, light piece of period romance. This would work well for those in the mood for Regency amour.
When Lady Charlton is forced into becoming London's most reluctant matchmaker, sparks fly and romance ensues, from the national bestselling author of Marry in Scarlet.
Alice, Lady Charlton, newly-widowed and eager to embrace a life free of her domineering husband is devastated when a scoundrel appears, brandishing letters that could ruin her. To prevent their publication he wants Alice to find a noble husband—a lord!—for his daughter, Lucy.
Alice is forced to agree to his blackmail but when Lucy arrives, she has absolutely no interest in her father's scheme. A lord, she says, will only look down his nose at her—and she's having none of that!
Desperate to retrieve the letters, Alice enlists the aid of her handsome young nephew, Gerald, who in turn seeks the help of his former commanding officer, James, Lord Tarrant. James is soon beguiled by the marriage-averse lady and sets out to teach her about love. Meanwhile, Gerald and Lucy strike sparks each time they meet.
To combat the dastardly plot, Alice and Lucy must learn to trust each other. But can Alice put the past behind her and open her heart to love?