Tracy’s rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: Sinful Wallflowers, #2
Release Date: December 29, 2020
In an effort to right a wrong, Lady Maryann Fitzwilliam has enlisted her brother Crispin to help her carry out her plan to embarrass her former friend and the reigning belle of the ton, Lady Sophie Wembley. Her plan is simple, she will wait until Sophie comes close to a window in the ballroom and then will have Crispin dump a bucket of grass snakes on her and watch her humiliate herself. But it isn’t Crispin who comes to her aid, a fact she doesn’t learn until after the deed is done. She is horrified and runs away – but soon discovers who her “helper” was – none other than the notorious libertine, Nicolas St. Ives, the Marquess of Rothbury.
Nicolas had his own reasons for being at the ball and for intercepting Crispin. Maryann was never part of his plan, but after meeting her, he is intrigued by her and can’t seem to stop thinking about her. Especially once he learns she plans to use him to ruin her – or at least imply that he ruined her to get out of an arranged marriage. When he overhears her spreading a rumor that he snuck into her room and stole a kiss – he can’t let that slide and proceeds to do just what she accused him of.
But at much as he is captivated by her, he can’t afford to get tangled up with her – at least not until he carries out his plans for revenge on those who hurt someone he loved and cause her to kill herself. He has been setting up his revenge for years and tracking down all the men who were involved in Arianna’s downfall and ultimately her death. He is not positive, but thinks that Maryann’s brother was involved, so that is even more reason for him to stay away – but he just can’t. And as he spends time with her, and begins to fall for her, he knows he will have to make a choice – love or honoring his vow to Arianna’s memory.
This was not a light read and based on the blurb, I was not prepared for a book that was in essence a revenge story – which is not a trope I enjoy. I felt like the book had the potential to be fabulous, but the revenge, inconsistencies, the title errors, and the odd raccoon references (I totally agree with another reviewer who noted this – there were no raccoons in England, so why use them??) – however, the twist at the end of the book was outstanding and the love scenes were smokin’ hot – so the book was not a total miss for me. Overall, the book was not my favorite by this author and it did drag a bit in the middle – but the ending did go a long way into making up for that and as this was an uncorrected arc, I am going to assume inconsistencies and title errors will be corrected before publication (hopefully), so would recommend that you judge for this book for yourself. This is the second book in this series, but they are very loosely connected and are definitely able to be read as stand-alone titles.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. *