The Scoundrel's Daughter by Anne Gracie
Series: The Brides of Bellaire Gardens #1
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Genres: Historical Romance
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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, is finally free of her dominating husband, but on the verge of her new life, she is trapped when a blackmailer threatens to publish letters that could ruin her. To protect the secrets of her past Alice must find a lord for his daughter, Lucy, to marry.
Alice reluctantly agrees to find the girl a noble husband but when Lucy arrives, she's difficult and uncooperative and has 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 widow and sets out to change her mind. And each time they meet, Gerald and Lucy strike sparks off each other.
To find happiness, Alice and Lucy will have to be brave and trust in each other and the men who are attempting to win their hearts.
Alice is thrilled to be alone. She doesn’t have much money, but she’d rather that then what she had when her husband was alive. Alice’s deceased husband was an ass (hereafter referred to as The Ass). He belittled and denigrated Alice at every turn, especially in public. He was horrid and when he died, he left most of his wealth to his mistress.
Alice is happy, despite her financial situation, until she receives a visit from a Mr. Bamber. He is in possession of letters that The Ass wrote to his mistress. In these letters The Ass wrote horrible things about Alice, even about their time in bed together during their marriage, that are most embarrassing. Bamber states he will release these letters to the public if Alice doesn’t do what he wants – which is to have Alice bring out his daughter in society. Not wanting the letters to get out, Alice agrees.
After a rough start, Alice and Lucy soon start making the rounds of balls and routs to introduce Lucy to society. Lucy is introduced as Alice’s goddaughter so this put’s Alice’s nephew’s guard up since he’s never heard of Lucy. While Gerald is looking into Lucy, Gerald’s commanding office when he was in the Army, James, has set his sights on Alice. Of course after the marriage she had, Alice has no desire to marry again, ever.
This was my second time reading this story. I liked Alice so very much and my heart went out to her. After 18 years with The Ass she was done with marriage for good. James really had his work cut out for him in trying to woo her. He was a father to three girls, and I loved how much he cared for them. They really came first for him and that was obvious to the reader. I thought that Alice and James made a great couple though I felt their romance was on the slim side. He saw her and decided she was The One and it moved quickly from there. I did enjoy reading about their time together, but it was fast.
Lucy and Gerald were also perfect for each other. Unfortunately, I felt there was even less of a romance between these two. They argued constantly and then they were kissing and getting engaged. Granted, Lucy thought it was a fake engagement, but only Gerald knew it was real. While we got to know Lucy, I didn’t feel like I knew Gerald all that much by the end of the book.
Despite my issues with the romances the overall setting and tone and writing in the book kept my attention and I enjoyed the story. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5