Series: Once Upon A Scandal, #2
Release Date: June 24, 2019
Charlotte Townsend was left destitute after her husband Roderick died and she learned that his will did not make any provisions for her, penniless and alone in India, she sells her wedding ring and travels back to England. When a chance encounter with her cousin Eliza offers employment, Charlotte willingly accepts, until she finds out the job is not what she expected. She refuses and goes into the garden to think. While she is sitting there, a guest from the party joins her, they talk and share a drink, one thing leads to another and soon they are sharing much more…
Finlay, Viscount Firthwell and heir to Earl of Rockhaven is attending the party hoping to forget the devastating news he and his twin sister have recently learned about their father. Instead he finds he has no desire to lose himself in debauchery and heads out to the garden, where he meets Charlotte, she is nothing like any of the women he has known before and after a passionate night together, he wants more, but when he wakes and realizes she is gone, he decides to return to the country and get his estate in order, then figure out how to make a name for himself that isn’t dependent on his father’s title.
A year passes before they meet again, she is teaching at the foundling school and he has returned to London to gain support for his run for the House of Commons. He is delighted to see her again and even though he knows she is not for him, he can’t seem to stay away. Charlotte finally has some security in her life, but ghosts from her past still haunt her and could destroy Finlay’s hopes for a seat in the House of Commons. She tries to keep him at arm’s length, but finally gives in to the passion that never died.
When her past threatens not only her future, but those of the people she holds dear, Charlotte must decide if she can betray the man she loves to save him or will she sacrifice herself instead?
This was a very well written, emotionally charged story touching on several issues of the era, including politics, religion and women’s rights, but while those issues are prominent in the story, they never overwhelm the romance between Charlotte and Finlay. The book has wonderful secondary characters, a couple of twists and turns, steamy-ish love scenes, a little suspense and a beautiful epilogue. This is the second book in the series, but it could easily be read as a stand-alone title, but if you want to know more about Finlay’s secret, I would recommend reading that book first.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*