Lady Amelia’s Scandalous Secret by Eva Shepherd
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Rebellious Young Ladies, #1
Release Date: May 23, 2023
Unbeknownst to her father, the Earl of Kingsland, Lady Amelia Lambourne is the owner and editor of The Ladies’ Enquirer magazine, a periodical dedicated to women who desire more than fashion and gossip. But sadly, her publication is not turning a profit and she is in danger of losing everything, including her spinster Aunt Beryl’s life savings, and her efforts to secure financing have been met with rejection and condescension. She is almost at her wit’s end and even her dear friends from Halliwell’s Finishing School for Refined Young Ladies – or Hell’s Final Sentence for Rebellious Young Ladies as they liked to call it – have no ideas on how she can turn her magazine around. Feeling a bit defeated, she accompanies her father to a dinner at the home of Leo Devenish, a self-made man who despite his humble beginnings has become rich beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. She finds him extremely arrogant and annoyingly handsome, he has recently acquired several women’s magazines and is celebrating, he even engages her in conversation about the Ladies Enqurier magazine, unknowingly giving her advice on how he would make it successful – a gossip column. She disagrees, but when Leo’s mistress, acting as his hostess, forces an altercation with him after dinner, he dumps her in front of everyone and gives Amelia an idea. She writes a gossip column about the incident and is shocked when her subscriptions increase. She needs more gossip and as luck would have it, she runs into Leo again, but when she writes of the kiss she shared with him, she never imagined that it would lead to him proposing! Now she must find a way to get out of the betrothal without forcing her father into cutting off her Aunt, especially since she hasn’t paid her back the money she loaned her! But Leo is not the man she thought he was and she needs to find a way to release him without hurting her Aunt. Because as much as she wants a real marriage with him, there is no way she will force him to marry her!
Leo has never met a woman like Amelia and as angry as he was about having to marry her, he can’t deny the fact that he no longer dreads the prospect and is actually looking forward to it. But having been burned once, he is not willing to let another woman make a fool of him, but somehow Amelia worms her way into his heart and when the truth comes out, he is devasted and angry. Can they find a way to move on from Amelia’s deception and admit their love or will they be victims of their own stubbornness?
What a great book! I enjoyed getting to know Amelia and Leo very much, they are incredibly relatable characters that have both worked hard to make their dreams come true, despite the prejudices and discrimination of the era and society in general towards women and the lower classes. I did feel like Amelia carried on the deception a bit too long and should have trusted Leo with the truth and I think they both fell back on miscommunication rather than being truthful about their feelings. But overall this was a great read; filled with amazing characters, a lot of emotion, repressed feelings, secrets, lies, incredible chemistry, steamyish love scenes, interfering relatives, and finally a HEA that didn’t seem possible. This is the first book in a new series, and I am happy to recommend it and can’t wait for the next “rebellious young lady”.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*