Just how much trouble can a broken wagon axle lead to? Plenty, as the very handsome, slightly rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, discovers on his way to Kerr House, the home of his recently deceased aunt. And it just so happens that the beautiful, brilliant Greek poetry scholar Miss Ivy Wareham is headed in the same direction. After a chance encounter at an inn, they end up traveling to Kerr House together.
Ivy is excited about the opportunity that the late Lady Celeste Beauchamp, who had been quite the scholar herself, has offered her and three other young bluestocking ladies: to stay at the house for a year and pursue their studies, and, should they be successful, each inherit a portion of the fortune. Quill is shocked at this provision in his aunt’s will, and he would prefer to keep Kerr House in the family, as it was a favorite retreat for himself and his cousins. But Ivy’s discovery of a letter written to her by the dying Lady Celeste changes everything. Lady Celeste feared that someone was poisoning her, and she charges Ivy with the task of finding her killer. Quill and Ivy must put aside their differences and join forces to bring the dear old woman’s killer to justice…but neither one of them expected that they would fall in love while putting their heads together to solve the mystery.
Ready, Set Rogue is the first book in Manda Collins’s new Studies in Scandal series. Collins blends a fast-paced mystery story together with witty characters and a very sweet romance. The first kiss that Ivy and Quill share is one of my favorite parts of their romance, as we see that they are both very clever, passionate people who are very well-suited for one another. The minor characters in the book are lovely too, especially the exquisite, plainspoken mathematician Lady Daphne Forsyth and the handsome, dashing Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, who reminded me a lot of Sir Percy Blakeney. The first book in the series is a wonderful read which I highly recommend, and I will definitely be reading the second book when it’s released, as Daphne and Maitland’s romance is the next one to be featured.
Disclaimer: I received a free advance review copy from Netgalley in exchange fo rmy honest review.
Eva Leigh begins with a promising start to her new Wicked Quills of London series with its first installment, Forever Your Earl. Leigh takes us from the finest houses to the poorest slums of Regency London in this delectable treat of a book.
Forever Your Earl, by Eva Leigh. Cover image via Amazon.
Eleanor Hawke, editor of the Hawk’s Eye, one of the most popular scandal sheets in London, is shocked the day the her favorite subject, Daniel Balfour, the Earl of Ashford, walks into her office with a proposition. He and Eleanor come to an agreement: she will accompany him on his many exploits throughout London, identifying him only as Lord Rakehell in her articles. But Daniel’s reasons for this are twofold; he has been searching high and low for his old friend, Jonathan, who has disappeared into London’s slums, and he believes these articles may be just the thing to lure Jonathan out of hiding.
Daniel and Eleanor spend a delightful few weeks as she chronicles all of his scandalous pursuits, from phaeton races to gambling hells to masquerades to nights in Vauxhall Gardens. As she spends more time with Daniel, she begins to see that there is more to him than she thought. And Daniel finds Eleanor’s wit, independence, and humor to be exhilarating. Yet class differences and societal conventions doom their romance, and Daniel will do anything to persuade Eleanor that she is worthy of his love, even though he’s just a commoner and he’s an earl.
Leigh breathes life into Regency London in every word on the page, from simple everyday conversation to descriptions of such grand places as Vauxhall. The couple’s romance progresses as naturally as that between the hero and heroine of a Georgette Heyer novel and is very believable. Much like romantic leads in the other series Leigh has written under the name of Zoe Archer, Daniel and Eleanor come together for their own reasons and realize that they can help each other achieve their own goals. As their relationship progresses, they work together to find some resolution and to bring Daniel’s friend safely home. The couple emerges stronger than they were and you get a sense of how they help each other become better people. And that is how a romance should end – with some sense of a happily ever after.
I received an advance copy of this book in a giveaway hosted by the author.