I received this book for free from NetGalley, the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Grantham Girls #2
Published by Carina Press on May 30, 2016
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
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Finishing school taught Amelia Wheeler how to put on a well-mannered performance—when she’s not bored and looking for trouble. Lady Grantham’s is behind her and now it's time for Amelia to keep her promise to her dying mother: marry a title and leave her wild days behind.
That promise would be much easier to keep if Nate Smythe hadn’t just reappeared in a London ballroom. The son of an impoverished sailor, Nate—Natty, as he used to be called—has grown up to become handsome, rich and polished. He claims to be looking for a proper bride who can advance his business interests, but that doesn’t stop him from seeking out Amelia every chance he gets. Challenging her. Kissing her.
Suddenly, struggling against her simmering passion is the least of Amelia's problems—one of her titled suitors is hiding a desperate secret that could stop Amelia from pleasing her parents or finding happiness with Nate. As a weeklong house party threatens to derail her hard-won future, Amelia must decide: fight against disaster or act like the lady she's promised to become?
After having read the first book in Amanda Weaver’s Grantham Girls Regency romance series, A Duchess in Name, I was keen on reading the second, A Common Scandal, which was released today. And while I’ll get to my review in a bit, I’m even more excited about the guest post the author shared with me, which includes a list of her favorite historical romance series, which she feels you’ll enjoy if you liked the Grantham Girls—or, if you haven’t read any of the books of the series, you might just find it’s right up your alley if you enjoyed any of the books in her list.
Bookalikes for A Common Scandal:
A list by author Amanda Weaver
Like all romance writers, I’m a huge romance reader, especially historical romance. I got my start with romances reading Kathleen E Woodiwiss when I was fifteen and the love has never died!
Today I’m sharing some of my favorite historical romance series. If you loved the Grantham Girls series, I think you’ll love these!
The Fitzhugh Family Trilogy by Sherry Thomas
Beguiling the Beauty, Ravishing the Heiress, and Tempting the Bride
Sherry Thomas is my very favorite historical romance author, and if you like plenty of angst to go with your romance, like I do, you’ll love this series!
The Spindle Cove series by Tessa Dare
A Night to Surrender, A Week to be Wicked, A Lady by Midnight, Any Duchess Will Do, Do You Want to Start a Scandal?
Spindle Cove is a resort for “unconventional ladies”. Enough said. Tessa Dare writes great heroines, brave, loyal, loving, and fierce. Just the sort of heroines I like to write!
The Brothers Sinister series by Courtney Milan
The Duchess War, The Heiress Effect, The Countess Conspiracy, The Suffragette Scandal
Courtney Milan is the queen of strong, complex heroines and I love every one of the heroines in these books.
The Essex Sisters by Eloisa James
Much Ado About You, Kiss Me, Annabell, The Taming of the Duke, Pleasure for Pleasure
Eloisa James weaves themes from Shakespeare through these wonderful books about four orphaned sisters navigating loss and love. If you like the friendship between Victoria, Amelia, and Grace, you’ll love the Essex sisters.
The Scoundrel Series by Sarah MacLean
A Rogue by Any Other Name, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover
Sarah MacLean is the master of creating smart, dynamic heroines and complex, steamy heroes (my favorite!), always with crisp, witty writing. I’ve never been disappointed by a Sarah MacLean book.
Book Review for A Common Scandal
While I was reading the first chapters of this book, I was a little worried I might not like it quite as much as I did A Duchess in Name. There was a lot of the usual ballroom and house party scenes, and the heroine and hero, Amelia and Nate, seemed to be quite stubborn in their need to marry into titles neither of them had despite their obvious attraction and affection for each other. Then midway, things started to pick up, and by the end of it I was wholly engrossed.
Despite the slow start, though, there were a few things I liked right away while reading A Common Scandal. One was that rather ruthless attitude toward the Marriage Mart, which was something that really stuck with me from the first book in the series.
The second was the main characters: while they’d acquired the trappings of class and civility, they had none of the contempt or the conceit that so often characterized many of the titled characters in this story. Amelia was as scrappy yet innately kind and caring as she was as a child (as illustrated in earlier scenes), while Nate was a bit on the roguish, devil-may-care side, but also practical, sincere, and compassionate.
The struggles both dealt with and had to overcome in order to get to their happy ending might not have been as splashy as some of the other Regency romances I’ve read, but the way the author wrote this book made it seem all the more authentic for its practicality and lack of melodrama. And the way Amelia in particular handled things when they went pear-shaped made me admire her all the more as a character.
I also found myself wholly intrigued by the character of Lady Julia Harrow, and I’m crossing my fingers until they hurt in the hope that Ms. Weaver will be writing her story very soon.
I did regret that I didn’t see more of Genevieve Grantham in this book. I’ve come to regard her as kind of like a benevolent crime lord in petticoats and a corset, dealing in information and secrets rather than guns and knives and wielding etiquette rather than brute force.
All in all, this was a fun read. While it might have started slow, it didn’t end that way, and looking back on it, I feel like the slow pace in the beginning only helped me enjoy it all the more once things began to heat up between Nate and Amelia.
Feel Factor Rating
Excerpt from A Common Scandal by Amanda Weaver
Despite knowing the sort of marriage she was destined for, she’d resisted making a choice for so long because she’d hoped in time she might encounter a suitable man who sparked some kind of fire in her. But not once, in all her forays into Society, had she met a man who raised more than mild curiosity. She’d read about flaming passions and heated kisses in the lurid, forbidden novels she had traded with Vic and Grace, but her blood had never been stirred by a flesh-and-blood male. She’d begun to think those passions were the invention of novelists and no man could ever make her feel that way. And now one had, and he was hopelessly out of her reach. It was wretched, wanting something she couldn’t have.
“What’s the verdict? Does Cheadle love you madly or not?”
She didn’t trust herself to look at Natty, knowing her insides would plunge in an unwelcome, delicious way. When he came near her, it was as if her whole body stretched luxuriously and unfurled. Terribly unhelpful, when she was determined to send him packing and behave.
“I’m sure the answer will always be ‘not’, regardless of the state of the petals and irrespective of whatever he might proclaim. Isn’t Lady Julia waiting for her glass of punch or something?”
“The lovely Lady Julia Harrow. I saw you sitting with her. Surely she’s missed you by now.”
“Somehow I doubt it,” he muttered. “And what of Cheadle? Surely he’s climbing the walls pining after you.”
She sighed and turned to face him, tossing the last of the ruined flower to the ground and brushing her gloved fingers together. “You know he’s not, Natty. Men don’t pine after me, only my money. The only reason anyone at these things speaks to me is because of my fortune.”
“I’m speaking to you and I have my own fortune, thank you very much.”
“You only speak to me to tease me.”
“You used to like it when I teased you.”
“I’m not a child anymore.”
The word hung between them for a moment, rife with meaning. He might have only meant she was all grown-up and out in Society, except his eyes made a lightning- fast perusal of her body as he said it, so fast, he was likely unaware he’d done it. In a rush, it broke over her that Natty was aware of her in the same way she was aware of him. Not as an old playmate from his childhood. As a woman. He was as affected as she was, even if he was spending his evening paying court to Julia Harrow.
His eyes made their way back to hers and they both held the gaze. This newly discovered knowledge sizzled through her body. Her skin flushed and her breaths grew shallow. Natty’s eyes stared into hers. His lips parted slightly, as if he, too, was baffled by this sudden shift in the air. The atmosphere around them felt charged, the way it did when thunder began rattling the windows and lightning lit the night sky, but still the rain refused to fall. At any minute the clouds could collide and deluge the world, but until then, all the energy of the universe danced on the breeze.
She wanted to tease and flirt with him to see how far things would progress. She wanted to see the skies open up. She wanted to be drenched by the rain.
Series Reading Order.
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