Duchess If You Dare (The Maidens of Mayhem, #1)by Anabelle Bryant
Genres: Love & Romance
Published on March 30, 2021
From the glittering ballrooms of the ton to the city's grittiest corners, London has no shortage of wrongs in need of rightingâ€”and the Maidens of Mayhem are prepared for the challenge. United by secrecy and sisterhood, these daring women from all walks of life aim to fight injustice wherever it takes themâ€”even into the arms of unexpected love... These Regency Robin Hoods from USA Today bestselling author Anabelle Bryant are destined to storm into readers' hearts!
Scarlett Wynn's tragic childhood taught her that life can be cruel to women with little power. So when a local seamstress disappears, Scarlett vows to find out why. Armed with a weapon and her courage, Scarlett scours London for cluesâ€”and crosses the unlikely path of Ambrose Cross, the Duke of Aylesford, at an unlikely place: an upscale brothel. The Duke is trying to solve a mystery of his own, and Scarlett is sure they can help each otherâ€”if she can resist the attraction that draws them together...
As Duke, Ambrose is duty-bound to protect his family name from scandal, no matter the cost. But Scarlett's fearless spirit forces him to look beyond his world of privilege. Scarlett is as intoxicating as she is dangerous, igniting a fire in him like no other. But when the pair learn both mysteries they're trying to solve are tied to a string of missing women, the tangled scheme they uncover may put their lives, and their growing love, in mortal dangerâ€”and lead them to search their hearts like never before...
I loved this first book in a new historical romance series. I had to check to make sure this was a first book actually because you are dropped into the middle of a story. Scarlett is a woman who has grown up in the poor section of London, far away from the glittering world of the wealthy. She is associated with three other women who call themselves the Maidens of Mayhem. They aim to help people who the upper echelons of society don’t care about. You don’t find out much about how they got together or what exactly they do in this book. That’s part of the reason I thought this was maybe a later book in the series. I thought I missed the back story but I guess that will be explained as the series goes on.
I liked Scarlett a lot. She’s content with her life. She is making a difference in her part of London and isn’t looking for a lot more. She has a seamstress friend who makes custom garments for her like trousers- gasp! When her friend goes missing she finds that she has been working a second job as a prostitute in a high end brothel. As she investigates, she finds that her friend isn’t the first to go missing. But is this the normal attrition of life on the streets or something else?
Ambrose is trying to rein in the excesses of his younger brother. He’s summoned to the brothel to collect his brother when the younger man insists he heard a woman being abused. The owner of the brothel is not amused by his attempts to draw attention to the issue and Ambrose is obliged to pay her off to try to keep his brother’s name out of the London gossip mill. His brother’s insistence that something bad happened inspires Ambrose to investigate himself and that’s where Scarlett and Ambrose come together.
I liked that both characters had strong points of view and that they weren’t points of view that I’ve seen in a dozen other historical romances. Scarlett is content with where she is in her life. She isn’t looking for a husband. She doesn’t need rescuing. She is actually quite offended to be patronized by this man who she knows looks down on her because of her class when in reality she is much more able to survive in the world than he is.
Ambrose is very much about Being The Duke. He’s used to people jumping to meet his every demand. Now he’s moving through a part of society where being a Duke is irrelevant and he’s completely thrown by that. He needs to actually be useful instead of relying on his social position to make things happen.
I’m looking forward to reading more in this series and looking at other books from this author.
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Author Bio â€“
USA Today Bestselling author Anabelle Bryant began reading at age three and never stopped. Her passion for reading soon turned into a passion for writing and an author was born. Happy to grab her suitcase if it ensures a new adventure, Anabelle finds endless inspiration in travel; especially imaginary jaunts into romantic Regency England, a far cry from her home in New Jersey. Instead, her clever characters live out her daydreams because really, who wouldn’t want to dance with a handsome duke or kiss a wicked earl?
Anabelle’s books have been translated into several languages including Japanese and Russian, but writing isn’t all that keeps her busy. Building miniatures, baking and photography are other favorite pastimes. Often found with her nose in a book, Anabelle is just as happy in a room full of people. She enjoys meeting readers, attending conferences and book signings. She has earned her Master’s Degree and is ABD for her Doctorate Degree in education.
A firm believer in romance, Anabelle knows sometimes life doesn’t provide a happily ever after, but her novels always do. Visit her website at AnabelleBryant.com
Social Media Links â€“
Anabelle Bryant Links
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Book tour through Rachel’s Random Resources