When I first began reading romances my co-worker BJ gave me a list of her of her favorite authors-both historical and contemporary and Meredith Duran was on that list. I was reading my first Duran at that time That Scandalous Summer, having been seduced by the pretty cover (I know, I know, I'm a cover slut, but it appeared to be a stand-alone and I'm weak!) and BJ complimented my taste. Well-the book was good but not great and I put her on the "if one crosses my path" list. Then this week six used ones crossed my path and if the rest are as great as this one I'm in for a wonderful time!
A Lady's Lesson in Scandal has a marriage of convenience at it's core. Bent on revenge Nell Whitby breaks into the house of Earl of Rushden, the man who she believes to be her father and who never answered her plea for help when her mother was dying. Her plan is to kill him but when confronted by the the handsome, naked and young man claiming to be the Earl she knows something is wrong because this can't be the man her mother meant was her father.
This is the new Earl, Simon St. Maur, who has been left the title but not the money. That went to the old Earl's twin daughters--one who has been missing since she was a child. Simon is convinced Nell is one of those daughters. Now he just needs to convince Nell to marry him and convince the courts a girl raised in the notorious working class area of Bethnal Green is a long lost heiress.
I loved this book and I loved the relationship between Nell and Simon. They both need each other but are afraid of letting the other person know. They each hide behind masks, afraid of letting the other person know about the love they felt, afraid to let themselves acknowledge the love felt for the person they had taken marriage vows with. By learning who they really are, with and without each other, Nell and Simon are able to realize they are happiest together.
(cue The Turtles song*!)