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Feature book: The Scoundrel’s Daughter

6 October 2021

The Scoundrel’s Daughter by Anne Gracie

Series: The Brides of Bellaire Gardens #1
Subgenre: historical romance
Release date: 24 Aug 2021
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Format: ebook and print
Length: 368 pages
RRP: $10.99 (ebook); $15.40 (print)

I had a little weep when I finished Anne Gracie’s Marry in Scarlet mid-2020. One, because it was such a fabulous read and I got rather misty-eyed at the end. Two, because I’d totally adored the Marry In quartet, but it was the last book! Then Anne offered us The Christmas Bride novella in December 2020, which I pounced on as an early Christmas present to myself.

Now … drumroll … her new series: The Brides of Bellaire Gardens, with the first book The Scoundrel’s Daughter released this month. Me: autobuy!

Alice, Lady Charlton, is finally free from her horrid marriage and her ghastly domineering husband, who conveniently died in his mistress’s bed. (!) At the relatively young age of thirty-eight Alice is like a chrysalis emerging into the world, free to enjoy life on her own terms. Although things are tight financially due to her spendthrift husband’s debts, over the last year she’s managed to scrimp and save and sell what she could to pay everything off. No help from her brother-in-law there, unfortunately. Still, she retains some loyal staff and lives in a lovely house bequeathed to her, backing onto Bellaire Gardens. Life is getting better at last, and she definitely never wants to marry, ever again.

Alice is a lovely character. She’s sweet, gentle, thoughtful, rather bewildered by her husband’s disgraceful bullying behaviour and coldness towards her, yet optimistic about her future. I wanted to scoop her up and take her out for an indulgent tea.

Just as things look bright, the most hideous scoundrel intrudes and proceeds to blackmail her. He’s obtained some appalling letters written by Alice’s husband, the sort of letters that would utterly ruin and shame her if they were published. ‘All’ Alice has to do is find a noble husband for his daughter Lucy, and the letters remain unpublished. Alice is blindsided and unable to see any way out except to do what this villain wants, so she takes Lucy in.

Such fun! Lucy couldn’t give two jots about finding a husband, especially a noble one. They’d only look down on her, anyway, so she’s not exactly cooperative with Alice’s efforts. But Alice is sweetly Alice. She doesn’t blame Lucy one bit for her father’s blackmail, and earnestly and generously tries hard to do the right thing for her. She even persuades her rather nice nephew Gerald, Lord Thornton, to introduce Lucy to some of his titled friends who might be suitable candidates for marriage. Cue some very amusing meets!

It seems Gerald and Lucy annoy each other constantly. Their scenes together are a joy to read; so many sparks flying. I love the running gag through the book where Lucy pretends not to remember Lord Thornton’s surname and invents a different name every time—my favourite variation was ‘Lord Thornbottom’. Lucy stays super-cool and ignores the exasperated Gerald when he tries to correct her, and it gets funnier every time.

When Gerald discovers the stakes for his dear Aunt Alice are higher than he realised, he enlists the assistance of his former commanding officer, James, Lord Tarrant, a widower with three young girls. James believes in love, having had a wonderful marriage. He’s instantly smitten with Alice, but she’s blindsided when he sets out to woo her. Why on earth would he want to do that? (Ha.)

The Scoundrel’s Daughter clearly shows why Anne Gracie has so many delighted readers. It’s utterly charming with terrific characters, dastardly villains, inventive situations, and not one but two romances. The ending is a bit unexpected and makes the book even more fabulous. I absolutely loved it; five-stars from me.

Reviewed by Malvina

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.

  1. AnneGracie permalink
    6 October 2021 9:30 am

    Malvina, thank you so much for this lovely review. It’s really wonderful when a reader connects so well with a book, and “gets” it. And it’s extra special when someone takes the time to write a review. MUCH appreciated.

    • Malvina Y permalink
      6 October 2021 10:45 am

      Anne, it was an utter delight! You’re most welcome. I can now look forward to more in this series, what a lovely thought. x

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