Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain

January 27, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★½

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa RomainSecrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain
Series: Matchmaker Trilogy #3
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on January 6, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
two-half-stars
Heiress Augusta Meredith can't help herself-she stirs up gossip wherever she goes. A stranger to Bath society, she pretends to be a charming young widow, until sardonic, darkly handsome Joss Everett arrives from London and uncovers her charade.

Augusta persuades Joss to keep her secret in exchange for a secret of his own. Weaving their way through the treacherous pitfalls of a polite world only too eager to expose and condemn them, they begin to see that being true to themselves is not so bad...as long as they're true to each other...

Augusta Meredith, heiress to the Meredith Beauty fortune, is in desperate need of an escape, a change of pace that lets her get away from the high society life of London.  She finds freedom posing as Mrs. Flowers in Bath.  So long as no one recognizes her, she will be free to explore and flirt and perhaps even find love.  But then she runs in Joss Everett, who recognizes her immediately.  Now she must convince Joss to go along with her scheme.  Thankfully, Joss is in Bath on some top-secret business and has a few secrets of his own and Augusta is just the person to help him alleviate a few of those messy business problems.

Joss claims to be prideful and perhaps he is to an extent, but not so much as to be distasteful.  Rather, he has suffered humility at the hands of his cousin and London society his entire life and is trying to preserve what dignities he can.

Augusta is an extremely wealthy heiress who yearns to be loved for who she is rather than the vast fortune she represents.  She is stuck – rich enough to put most of the beau monde to shame, yet not possessing the pedigree to be truly accepted as one of their own.

The love between Joss and Augusts develops very, very slowly and in small, subtle ways.  Indeed, it seems more like amicable companionship than overwhelming passion.  This makes for a nice change of pace from the insta-love novels that try to tear the characters’ clothes off as quickly as possible.  Their love is very, very tame.  Anyone looking for deep-felt emotions, declarations of love and passion, or spicy sex scenes should look elsewhere.  This novel is more literary romance than anything else.

There are some interesting secondary characters in this story.  I love Lord Wittingham and the teasing banter between him, Joss, and Augusta at their first meeting which was laugh out loud funny.  Joss’ cousin is quite silly, almost childish if it weren’t for his very adult dalliances with the maids, and provides some much needed frustration for Joss as well as humor for the reader.

However, I didn’t find Augusta’s scheme very worthy of someone supposedly in the position of “heroine.”  The idea that she wants to use and then discard someone, even a consenting someone, was distasteful and wrong and wholly inconsistent with her characterization.

Overall, this was enjoyable, but nothing really too remarkable.  The mystery regarding Sutcliffe’s blackmailer is not terribly compelling, mostly because Sutcliffe was not a sympathetic character and the reveal was anti-climactic.  I liked the setting in Bath, which was something different, and the moments of witty dialogue.  I think if the plot had been more interesting and the love between Joss and Augusta more enticing, I would rate this higher, but as it stands this is a solid “meh” for my tastes.

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