Today I'm excited to be part of the blog tour for Once Upon a Scandal, the new novel by Julie LeMense. I loved the first book in this series, so I jumped at the chance to review this one!
Caught up in a scandal of her father’s making, Lady Jane Fitzsimmons is now an outcast in the society that once prized her. So when Lord Benjamin Marworth offers to help redeem her good name, she leaps at the chance. Too bad his plan requires her very public demise.
Marworth, society’s darling, is actually a spy for crown, and important war communiques have been stolen. If Jane can carry off her disguise as the mysterious Madame Lillianne Fauchon, with close ties to Napoleon, she just might tempt the thief out of hiding. And tempt Marworth into something he has always studiously avoided … at chance at love.
Buy Links: Amazon
“Suffice it to say that in the wrong hands, the missing dispatches could change the course of the war. But I think you may be uniquely qualified to help find them.”
Jane pondered Lord Marworth’s statement for a long moment, replaying the words, hoping she’d misunderstood. But only one conclusion was logical. A dark one. “You are obviously having a bit of fun at my expense, although I fail to see the humor in it.”
“I'm quite serious, Miss Fitzsimmons.” He was staring at her intently now. “It is absolutely vital they be found.”
“And you are... what?” she mocked. “Some sort of agent for the crown, I suppose? Sent here to enlist me for service?”
“You could say that.”
A burst of anger, hot and devastating, surged through her. “It is one thing, Lord Marworth, to amuse yourself by imagining international intrigue,” she said, her voice rising. “But it is quite another to involve someone else in your fantasy. I'm afraid I haven’t the time for it. If you will excuse me… ”
She stood, intent on rushing from the room.
“This is no fantasy.”
She spun to face him. “You’ll forgive me, of course, for not believing you. Given your busy schedule of idle amusements and seductions, it’s hard to imagine you've the time for anything substantive. Like saving the country from Napoleon. That sort of thing.”
“Appearances are not always what they seem, Miss Fitzsimmons… ”
In my review for the previous book in the series Once Upon a Wager (wow, was that post really over a year ago!?) I mentioned that I would love to read more about some of the secondary characters, namely Benjamin Marworth and Jane Fitzsimmons. Imagine my delight then when I discovered that they are the focus of this book! Benjamin is just adorable and Jane is a heroine who is not afraid to speak her mind. It was great for Sophia to make a reappearance too! Although this is the second book in the series, it is a standalone novel and makes sense without reading the first, but the references to Alec and Annabelle and their happy life together were very much appreciated!
As with the first book this is historical romance with intrigue, populated with wonderful characters both good and bad. I really liked the premise of the story - it keeps you guessing right until the end - and I couldn't put it down once I'd started! Julie's writing style really draws you into the story, and the epilogue at the end was a brilliant touch!
I have to admit that I'm intrigued by Lord Winchester, so if there is a third novel in the pipeline I'd love to find out more about him!
About the Author
A Georgetown University graduate with a degree in English Literature, I've loved the Regency romance genre since my first deliciously bad Barbara Cartland novel. These days, I prefer the complex characterizations and plotting of Julie Anne Long, Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran, Courtney Milan, and Sarah MacLean. A member of the Romance Writers Association of America, I am currently working on my next novel, as the ghosts who live in my haunted, gilded-age home try to sneak their way into my stories.
Author Links: Website Amazon Facebook Twitter: @julielemense