A Lady’s Lesson In Scandal

Author: Meredith Duran

Publisher: Pocket

Release Date: June 2011

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5

Format: Print/Ebook





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Desperation and dire need is the way of life in Bethnal Green, a chaotic, grimy London slum also, Nell's home.  So how does she find herself in posh Mayfair, poised to shoot a stranger clad in nothing but the clothes God gave him?  What's more, how does he know her name?  Surely he must be a little daft to think her a missing heiress and offer to help claim her rightful inheritance.  All it would cost is her hand in marriage.  A phenomenal deal, to be sure... "if" you were a half-starved, reckless, and greedy street urchin.  For the record, Nell most certainly is not greedy. 

Simon St. Maur loves fanning the infamous flames of his reputation.  That he was the heir apparent to an earldom does nothing to curtail his scandalous behavior, both real and fictitious.  But it did help to strain relations with the old Earl of Rushden, ensuring that when he came into the title, he was all but bankrupt.  A notorious Earl with no prospects for marriage how ludicrous does that sound?  Simon will tell you it's not as ludicrous as the audible click of a pistol aimed directly at you in the dead of night.  Fortune, however, has a funny way of smiling down on him.  For never would he have foreseen the answer to all his problems arriving in the form of a defiant, dingy waif, reeking of onions and sausage, and bent on vengeance.  Now, how to transform the guttersnipe into a lady, much less one of the most famous missing heiresses in England's history?

A LADY'S LESSON IN SCANDAL is riveting to the point of overwhelming, monstrously clever, breathtakingly romantic, and when it's not gutting your emotions, it's hilarious.  Brilliant is what it is!

Nell radiates sensitivity and intelligence – both attributes so utterly vital to her stark cynicism, that I was often left in awe of her bare-faced wisdom.  She speaks with the sarcasm of a woman intimately aware of the hypocrisy of the upper class, but has enough security to know she's well and truly above it... or is she?  It's hard to tell because Nell's insecurities, when she chooses to entertain them, are born from years of barely getting by, never being able to properly provide for her and her mother, never imagining too far into the future, as well as the rage that comes naturally with those feelings of powerlessness.  And as a woman who looks upon survival with the ferocity of a caged lion, I found Nell's convictions deeply affecting.  

Simon matches Nell's bitterness quid for quid.  But unlike her "grab and go" instincts, his character is subtly more acute
like a jaguar, his silent approach doesn't necessarily mean death is the intent, so much as instilling the knowledge that he could have killed you.  No doubt those qualities are what makes him so appalling to the ton, and simultaneously respected.  I loved how of all the dangers Nell has faced growing up in squalor, and blithely overcome, Simon represents the most fatal threat to her.  He makes her hope, and for one as she, hope can be debilitating.  Simon, however, comes with his own set of baggage, albeit perhaps it's less visible on the surface.  That he is capable of taking ownership of his emotional handicap and waits (none too patiently) for Nell to see the light, makes him as precious as he is sexy, handsome, and charming.   It should be a sin to write such delicious protagonists.  Warning Nell and Simon will reach deep into your soul, find a niche and settle in there for the long haul.

A LADY'S LESSON IN SCANDAL is the penultimate battle of wills, with Nell and Simon butting heads at almost every turn.  Never mind that the both of them love it.  But the really astounding thing is
at the end of the war, there's no loser.  Truth be told, it was never even about winning.  It's about Nell and Simon fighting the battles necessary to break down each others' defenses, so they can rebuild their lives... together.

Meredith Duran's winning wit, sophisticated writing style, lush characters (that make me laugh, whoop, and blush), and an utterly creative new take on the "diamond in the rough" storyline makes me feel like I've just won the golden ticket of historical romances.  

A LADY'S LESSON IN SCANDAL could easily be my favorite historical romance for 2011 - 5 Blue Ribbons!

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Chris

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Romance Junkies Content Editor: Dorine

Romance Junkies Publishing Editor: Chrissy

 


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