From the desk of Katie Jackson:
Dear Historical Romance Readers,
Are you ready for a heartwarming love story? One that begins with a forced-marriage scenario, involves an apparently incompatible couple whose relationship expands in beautiful ways, and provokes emotions that will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book? You are in for a treat! Mischief, Mayhem, and Marriage—the latest sweet Regency tale from talented wordsmith Rebecca Connolly—has it all. Not only that, but it’s also part of a series. While each of the books in the Supposed Scandal Series can be read as stand-alone stories, some are also sequels to books in the Entangled Inheritance Series. That’s a treasure trove of sweet Regency romances for series-lovers to enjoy.
The Hero: An Affable Fellow
Taft Debenham, Earl of Harwood, “wasn’t all fluff and no substance. Just mostly.” (Loc 70) Well-liked and highly sought-after, Taft strolled through life as the life of every party.
“He was the epitome of all hosts. And that was not his pride talking, it had been expressed to him by no less than four guests, none of whom he was related to.
But it might also have been his pride a little.
He was no saint, after all.” (Loc 113)
His impression of Lady Alexandrina Lawson: “Unpleasant, ill-tempered, prickly thundercloud of a woman.” (Loc 151)
The Heroine: A Withdrawn Widow
Lady Alexandrina Lawson—once a pleasant and hopeful woman—had been utterly transformed by the painful and humiliating treatment she’d endured at the hands of her first husband and his family.
“She had been shown the true way of things, leaving all impressions she had ever made in her life shattered upon the ground. Fit for nothing but to be tread upon and crushed further into the finest powder.
Nothing was as it appeared, she had learned. No person was as they appeared.
No life was as it appeared.
And certainly no marriage.” (Loc 234)
Her impression of Lord Harwood: “The man was a ridiculous narcissist who existed for his own entertainment, and never appeared less than perfect at any given time, almost unnervingly so.” (Loc 357)
The Shocking Scandal
In an effort to momentarily escape the insufferable and suffocating societal expectations of her cousin’s ball, Lady Lawson innocently steps into the midst of a supposed scandal. Unsympathetic, gossiping witnesses will surely ruin her already precarious reputation, not to mention that of her young child. When Lord Harwood unexpectedly steps up to save her, the unintended consequences will have far-reaching effects. How will a confirmed bachelor and a distrustful widow find common ground in a marriage neither of them wants?
An Abundance of Emotions
The lighthearted title and beautiful cover do not quite convey the serious and heartfelt story beyond them. This is a story about first impressions, façades, trust, and vulnerability.
Just as the hero and heroine had initially judged each other based on unpleasant first impressions, I certainly pegged them with stereotypes as the story began. It was a truly enjoyable experience to gradually see them without their carefully constructed defenses in place. Taft was a true gentleman, devoted and respectful, and worthy of every reader’s sighing adoration. His acknowledgement of Alexandrina’s feelings and his gentleness were quite moving. As she says, he “turned from a man who could barely stand me to a man who ensured I could stand.” (Loc 3720) That is just one of many lovely examples of the evolution of their relationship. Alexandrina drew my empathy as she slowly began to accept that she was worthy of love and could learn to trust again.
The story was clever and even humorous at times—the witty banter between Taft and Alexandrina fairly sparked and crackled on the page—but the depth of emotion explored throughout is what brought the story fully to life and lingered in my mind long after it ended.
Admirers of sweet Regency romance will adore the thought-provoking and heartfelt love story in Mischief, Mayhem, and Marriage.
5 out of 5 Stars
- Mischief, Mayhem, and Marriage: Supposed Scandal Series (Book 2), by Rebecca Connolly
- Independently published (November 23, 2021)
- Trade paperback, & eBook (244) pages
- ISBN: 979-8772085677
- Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance
We purchased a review copy for our own enjoyment. Cover image courtesy of Rebecca Connolly © 2021; text Katie Jackson © 2022, Austenprose.com