Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: A Scandal by Any Other Name
Publication Date: 1/30/18
I am so pleased to have read this book. I was a little hesitant to request it because I had such mixed feelings about the first book in the series, but I’m so glad I decided to go ahead and request it. It is well plotted, the writing is excellent and it is filled with lighthearted humor and one-liners. I kept picturing Lucy and Ethel (from I Love Lucy) with a smattering of Wonder Woman thrown in. The Bishop sisters are true terrors. They defy convention and do their own thing – especially the older one who is featured in this book. The hero fits right in with the wit and charm of the sisters. What a perfect match.
I have to applaud this author for doing something I almost never see (have I ever seen it?). She featured a heroine with a serious, debilitating, life-threatening disability and she made her strong, intelligent, witty and very interesting. What a delightful change of pace.
Julia Bishop has had many great and wonderful adventures in her life – all in her imagination. Julia was born with spina bifida (although it isn’t specifically named in the book) and has miraculously survived to adulthood. That just never happened back then and the treatments were excruciating (that is true) because they injected iodine into the exposed spine. She still suffers from very frequent infections, etc. because of the disability. Julia and her sister are their father’s pride and joy and he spoils them rotten – but the mother is a real piece of work. She’s consumed with social climbing and if you read the first book, you know what she did to her younger daughter – so NOT motherly. Mother Bishop always kept Julia in hiding – away from any interaction with other people. She didn’t want others to think they were ‘tainted’. Julia’s only companion was her very much loved sister Amelia and they were so close they could barely stand being separated. How Julia managed to grow up to be as headstrong and well-adjusted as she is, just amazes. She knows who she is and isn’t afraid to tell or show anybody what it is she wants or thinks. Just imagine her delight when a real-life adventure rides right into her life.
Jasper DeVere has just insulted Queen Victoria by running out on the ceremony to induct him into Parliament and confirm his title of Duke of Albemarle. He didn’t mean to insult her – he just panicked – so he ran away. His grandfather and hero had just died and Jasper didn’t feel in the least competent to fill his shoes. Jasper flees and basically steals a horse outside the building – he has no idea where he is going – he just rides as fast as the horse will go for as long as it will go. He has no idea where he is and when he asks someone he realizes he is near the home of his friend Nicholas, so he heads toward his home expecting to stay with him and his new wife, Amelia, for a while.
As Jasper is riding up the drive toward the house, he spots a woman on a runaway horse and gives chase to save her. Julia is incensed that someone is stopping her horse – she’d given the horse its head and was allowing it to run with the wind and she was loving it! His stopping the horse causes her to be thrown from the horse – and when she sees that wonderfully handsome adventure just waiting for her to claim it – well – who could blame her. She knew who he was as soon as he gave his name – she’d dreamed of him for years, but she’d never met him because her mother didn’t allow her any interaction with anyone outside the immediate family. She also knew he’d know who she was if she gave him her name. Julia immediately became Juniper – Amelia’s cousin. After all, what he didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him and maybe somebody would pay a little attention to her as a person rather than seeing her only as her disability.
Amelia and Nicholas are off on a trip and that leaves Julia (Juniper) and Jasper all alone on the estate. Their time together is magical and they come to really care for each other – but what will Jasper do when he discovers she is really Julia and not Juniper? The answer – love her for who she is!
I won’t give a blow-by-blow of the story because I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you, but I will tell you it is full of fun and whimsical entertainment – and heartbreaking angst – and love and an HEA. After getting almost to the end of the book I was thoroughly miffed and was thinking I’d give the book 2-stars at best because I didn’t consider that a happy ending. Then – more magic happened. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and hope you will too!
There are some exceptional secondary characters in the book. Nicholas and Amelia, of course. You met them in the first book and they have a sizeable role in this one as well. I particularly liked Julia’s father because he loves and supports his girls unconditionally and spoils them rotten. I also liked Julia’s maid, Nora. She definitely had her work cut out for her! I had mixed feelings about Jasper’s sister, Ruby. I think I’d like to see a third book in the series that gives Ruby her HEA as well.
See my review of the first book – The Importance of Being Scandalous
Please check out my reviews at:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”