How to Survive a Scandal by Samara Parish
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Rebels with a Cause, #1
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Betrothed to the Duke of Wildeforde for most of her life, Lady Amelia Crofton, the only child of the Earl of Crofton and reigning belle of the ton is tired of waiting for the duke to finally set a wedding date and means to convince him that it is time to wed! In her rush to get to his estate, she leaves unprepared for winter travel and without her maid – mistakes that will change her life forever when she ends up stranded and half-frozen to death on the road. But, as luck would have it (or not), she is saved by Wildeforde’s neighbor and one-time friend, Mr. Benedict Asterly.
Benedict “Ben” Asterly is a self-made man, the son of a misalliance between the daughter of a marquess and a footman, Ben has no liking for the Aristocracy, especially when he saw how unhappy his mother was in his father’s world. His distrust for nobles increased when his mother left them and disintegrated, even more, when he found her alone and dying and her father refused to help. Since then, Ben has avoided interacting with the nobility – but when he is found in a state of undress with Lady Amelia by her father, her fiancé, and a gossipy neighbor, his honor will not let her be ruined, so much to her horror, he offers to marry her.
At first, their marriage seems like it will be just as awful as his parent’s was, but Amelia surprises him time and again and he finds himself agreeing to changes that he has always been adamantly opposed to. Additionally, Amelia’s connections and standing in the ton may be exactly what he needs to secure a lucrative contract to build trains for an American company. Things seem to be going well and Amelia feels like she has finally found her “place” and begins to open her heart to Ben and his young sister, but her happiness is cut short when a tragedy has Ben questioning his actions of late and placing the blame for everything squarely on Amelia. Can these two find their way back to the happiness they had just begun to share? Or will past hurts make a future together impossible?
What a great debut novel! It is a well-written, nicely-paced, fresh, and original story with very likable and relatable characters. This book is a great “fish out of water” type story with strong characters, warm love scenes, detailed character growth, wonderful secondary characters, betrayal, misassumptions, some shocking twists and turns, a dash of angst, some interesting historical facts woven into the story, and a very lovely HEA complete with a touching epilogue. I enjoyed the story despite some title errors and a couple of questionable timeline plot points (it is important to note that the copy I read was an ARC/Proof and any errors/inconsistencies I noted may well be corrected in the final, published copy.). Overall, for a debut, this book was outstanding and I believe Ms. Parish will quickly become a “must-read” author for historical romance lovers! This is the first book in the series and I am happy to recommend this title and will be impatiently waiting for the next installment!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own. *