on January 3rd 2017
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WHO WILL WRITE THE BOOK OF LOVE?
When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another...
Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings—no matter how lovely they are to look at—is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match—but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Upon learning of the recent death of his Aunt Celeste, Torquil Beauchamp hastens to the small village of Little Seaford. He is livid at the thought that Lady Celeste bequeathed her home to bluestockings, and all sorts of problems befall him on his way, so that he has to stop at an inn. He is not in a good mood, and to top it all, how dare this bespectacled miss not defer to him, the marquess of Kerr, as does everyone else! Still, he was raised a gentleman, and when the young lady struggles with her huge trunk, he helps her. That’s when Torquil – Quill – notices that she is indeed very pretty in a governess sort of way. Miss Aphrodite Wareham, Ivy to her friends, is grateful for Lord Kerr’s help, and when a drunken lout accosts her, Quill again comes to her rescue, and that’s when he learns that Ivy is one of the detested bluestockings who will invade his childhood haven. Ivy has missed her coach, but Quill asks her to ride with him to the estate, as to keep an eye on who he perceives as a liar and a fraud. However, just as she is about to go to bed, Ivy notices an envelope on her pillow, it’s a posthumous note from Lady Celeste asking Ivy to look into her untimely demise, as Celeste suspects she will not have died of natural causes…
READY SET ROGUE is the first book in the new Studies in Scandal by Manda Collins, and a smashing introduction it is! While Quill first comes off as a pompous aristocrat, he has his reasons for not wanting the Beauchamp estate being taken away from the family, but he his no match for the four bluestockings he is stuck with. Ivy is an ancient language scholar, sisters Gemma and Sophia Hastings, respectively an archaeologist and an artist, and Lady Daphne Forsythe a mathematician; Quill’s cousin Lady Serena Fanning is acting as some sort of chaperon, and Quill is no match for any of those formidable ladies. While Quill and Ivy are attracted to each other, Quill is so determined to get rid of the women as soon as he can, that he makes it very difficult for Ivy to enquire into the death of Lady Celeste until she puts him in his place, and Quill begins to realise that his stubbornness is a hindrance in finding his Aunt’s killer. Those scenes are fantastic, as we cheer for Ivy while she defends her position, and the author makes us see how trying it was for a woman to use her abilities in Regency England.
Manda Collins’s prose is stellar, so smooth and lovely, always in tune with the tone of the era, the dialogues are word-perfect and very witty, and the mystery is well constructed. The romance progresses nicely when Quill finally admits that he’s overreacted, even though he is not pleased; Ivy and Quill’s rapport feels very natural, and the sex scenes are beautiful. I must admit that there was a moment where I was a tad worried that a momentary lapse of reason due to lust would have dire consequences on the story, but I should not have underestimated Ms. Collins’ cleverness as she handled the matter spectacularly well, as it led to better things.
All the characters are truly splendidly defined, with very distinct personalities and voices. I completely fell in love with the dashing, charming duke of Maitland, I desperately wanted more of him, and it seems my wish will come true when I saw the title of the next book. What a great series this will be! I am ready for the next instalment right this minute!
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.