Edwardian Age

A Gentleman Never Surrenders by Lauren Smith

A Gentleman Never Surrenders (Sins and Scandals #2)A Gentleman Never Surrenders by Lauren Smith

Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Sins and Scandals #2
Publication Date: 9/12/17

Great characters with compelling stories populate this delightfully entertaining series of novellas by Lauren Smith. I highly recommend reading the series in order, but you can certainly read this as a stand-alone. In the first book, we met Leopold Graham, Lord Hampton who needed to marry for money. It was his intention to propose to Millie, the daughter of a very rich Viscount while she was attending his house party. But then – love got in the way and Leo married Ivy.

In that book, we also met Owen Hadley, a gentleman who was desperate to marry for money. He tried to compromise Ivy so he could marry her, but he was unsuccessful. He and Leo came to blows and Owen left the house party. I tell you all of this so you’ll understand when I tell you that I thoroughly disliked Owen and thought he was totally irredeemable. In this book, he is somewhat redeemed – in my eyes. I say somewhat redeemed because I don’t like what he did and thought it was very selfish. I know he was desperate, but – well – I still didn’t like what he did – but if he hadn’t, then there wouldn’t be a story now would there. He does end up with his HEA and you’ll find he isn’t who you thought he was.

Leo finds Owen in London after Owen had left the house party on bad terms with Leo. They make amends and Leo invites Owen to another house party. Owen is desperate at this point and the only way he can save his estate is to marry a wealthy heiress. Owen is determined to choose one of the unmarried ladies attending the house party and compromise her so they have to marry. He settles on Rowena, who is Millie’s sister. Rowena is very beautiful but young and this is her first season. After everyone has gone to bed, Owen sneaks down the hall and into what he thought was Rowena’s room – only to find Millie in the bed fast asleep. Before he can retreat, they are discovered by Millie’s mother and a maid. So, Millie and Owen are forced to marry to avoid scandal.

Millie actually wants to marry, but fears she’ll never find anyone in England who would meet her criteria. You see – she wants someone who not only loves her but treats her as an equal partner in the marriage rather than as just another piece of chattel he owns. So, Millie has built up a persona that she displays in public. She is very cold and condescending, especially to the men who approach her. She has actually consigned herself to spinsterhood because she’s sure no man will treat her as she wishes to be treated. So, she feels that Owen is a monster and that her life is ruined when she is forced to marry him.

In his heart, Owen really wants a wife that is an equal partner in all things and he is beside himself with guilt at the way he acquired his bride. He plans to do all he can to woo his wife and get her to fall in love with him.

This is a lovely story of redemption and a growing relationship filled with trust, respect, and love. We learn that there is a different side to each of the characters we met and disliked in the first book. I love that they get their HEA together. Now – can’t wait for Rowena’s story in book 3.

“I requested and received this book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

An Earl by Any Other Name by Lauren Smith

An Earl by Any Other Name (Sins and Scandals #1)Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Sins and Scandal #1
Publication Date: 8/1/17

Delightfully sweet and happy tale that takes place at the end of the Edwardian era (1910),

Leopold Graham, Earl of Hampton had always been a free spirited, happy, loving man – until his father dies in his mistress’ bed. Then, he found that the estate was in debt and the scandal his father created has denied him entry to investments and lines of credit. Now, he is serious and rigid and determined to marry an heiress.

Ivy Leighton is the half-Romani half-English child who lived on the Hampton estate until she was eight. She and Leo were fast friends even though they were eight years apart in age. Ivy has grown up to be a suffragette and feels she’ll have to forgo love and marriage in order to continue in her work for women’s rights because no man of that time would allow his wife to work for or support those causes.

When Leo’s interfering mother cajoles him into having a house party, she invites Ivy and her father to attend. You’ll just have to read the story to see how things go at the house party, but you can assume that Leo is a changed man before all is said and done.

“I requested and received this book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

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