Mr. Dale and The Divorcée by Sophie Barnes

Mr. Dale and The Divorcée (The Brazen Beauties, #1)Barbara’s rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Series: The Brazen Beauties
Publication Date: 11/23/21
Period: Regency London – 1818
Number of Pages: 342

I love it when I learn something new while reading a historical romance – especially something about the Regency period. Everything I had ever read on the subject led me to believe there was no way for either partner to marry anyone again, so when I saw the whole premise of this book was a Regency couple obtaining a divorce and then marrying others, I scoffed at the idea. However, the author’s explanations seemed so valid I just had to do more research and I found there really was a way to get the divorce and the participants marry others. That doesn’t make the idea of the divorce any more plausible given how very few were ever granted or how prohibitively expensive they were, but depending on which ‘type’ of divorce they got, the participants could marry others. Here is a link to an article on the subject – and it lists references: Click Here For Article. Just in case you are interested. 😊

Wilhelmina and George grew up together and were best friends – as were their fathers. They were there for each other when the ship both of their fathers were sailing on sank and everyone on board was lost. They were always there for each other – and that is how they ended up married. While they did love each other – as friends – they were never in love with each other. However, when Wilhelmina desperately needed saving, George and she married. That was twenty years ago and they have had a comfortable, amenable, celibate marriage for all that time. They are still best friends. But now, George needs saving, and Wilhelmina is willing to do anything she can, endure anything she has to, in order to give George the life he deserves. So, they hatch a plot to brand Wilhelmina as a fallen, scandalous woman in order for George to pursue a divorce.

Widower, Mr. James Dale, is a highly successful barrister from a very well-placed family. He and his two friends (who will be featured in the next books) are attending a ball when James is introduced to the most alluring, beautiful woman (Wilhelmina) he has ever laid eyes on. He is intrigued – and very interested – until he learns she is married. Then, SCANDAL! Wilhelmina’s husband loudly accuses her of adultery and publicly shames her. James is shocked. How could she have seemed to be such a wonderful person and yet be cuckolding her husband – regularly. She’s just like his wife, Clara, had been – scandalous and wicked.

After two years, Wilhelmina and George are divorced. She is the scandal of England and people spit at her and cross the street rather than walk near her. Getting the cut direct is the least she must endure. James attended all of the court sessions and came to loath the woman. The stories that were told of her painted a very sordid picture indeed. Just imagine James’s visceral reaction when he learns his son wants to marry Wilhelmina’s daughter.

I never came to be truly invested in the characters and I’m not sure why. I liked them and I wanted to see them get to their HEA, but I just wasn’t totally enamored with them. Frankly, I liked the younger couple much better than the older couple – mostly because they seemed much more sensible. I’m sure I was supposed to like and admire George, but I didn’t.

I am glad to have read the book, but I think I would have enjoyed it more had I not been so ensnared with the ‘facts’ of the divorce. I should have just stopped reading at that point and done the research, and then I would have probably have enjoyed the rest of the read more.

I’m looking forward to the second book in the series, Mr. Grier and The Governess featuring Olivia Poole (who we didn’t meet in this book) and Grayson Grier, whom we met because he is a friend of Jack’s.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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