Published by Entangled: Select on July 25th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
A horse race in trousers on Rotten Row. Visiting a gaming hall in a dress that would make her mother faint. Sneaking an invitation to a masquerade ball attended by only the wickedest, most debauched members of society…
None of these things are scaring off bookish but strong-willed Amelia Bishop’s stuffy, egotistical fiancé.
The only thing left is to entice childhood friend Nicholas Wakefield into a truly engagement-ending scandal. The Wakefields are the height of propriety, and Nicholas’s parents have made it clear a wife from the neighboring Bishop family would be unacceptable…
But Nicholas would give up his family and his fortune if Amelia would ever see him as more than just a childhood friend. He’ll go along with her scheme, even if it means ruining them both, because he’s got a plan that will change her mind about him being merely the boy next door.
Nicholas tried to stay close to Amelia when they insinuated themselves into the crowd around Lady Chisholm, but Amelia kept insisting they should stand apart. He strongly suspected she was trying to insulate him from the scandal she was about to cause. He had no one but himself to blame for her thinking that way. Their whole lives, he’d let his family name hold too much sway. Somehow, he would have to convince her things were different now.
“I rather like the new styles from the continent,” some young miss made the mistake of saying.
“Nonsense,” Lady Chisholm barked. “They stray much too far from tradition.”
From the other side of the group, Amelia spoke up. “I don’t think they stray nearly far enough.”
“Excuse me?” Lady Chisholm gasped.
“I said I don’t think they stray nearly far enough.”
“I heard you, Lady Amelia. I only hoped I was mistaken.”
Amelia frowned. Nicholas thought she might give up, but then her shoulders straightened and she lifted her chin. “Are you mistaken often?”
“Rarely.” Montrose’s aunt peered at Amelia. “And what do you imagine might be appropriate attire for a young lady?”
“Trousers,” Amelia announced.
A murmur went up through the crowd. It was everything Nicholas could do to hold in a laugh. All the more so because he knew Amelia was being honest. In this regard, he was on Lady Chisholm’s side. He’d seen Amelia in trousers a number of times and he knew how distracting it was. Were it to become a popular trend in women’s fashion, the entire country would devolve into anarchy inside a week.
You can follow The Tale of Two Sisters series on Goodreads.
~~Reviewed by Amy~~
Kimberly Bell’s start to her Tale of Two Sisters series is everything I could want in a romance novel. Romance, adventure, and shenanigans abound. Being scandalous has never seemed more fun!
Nicholas, the second son of Lord and Lady Wakefield, was summoned home after two years abroad. Home should be a place he welcomed, but instead it only made him long to be somewhere else. Abroad, he’d been able to live life as he wanted without disapproval. At home, he was subject to the whims of his parents. Nick was determined that this trip home would bring changes. He wanted more to his life than being a dutiful son. He would tell his parents he intended to pursue a profession, something no respectable member of English nobility would do. And he would declare himself to Amelia Bishop, his neighbor and best friend since childhood. Though his mother wanted nothing to do with the scandalous Bishops and would never allow such a match, it had never stopped Nick from wanting Amelia. But things had changed in Nick’s absence. His father was suffering from dementia and Amelia was now engaged. A good friend would want Amelia to be happy, but Nick had never wanted to be just her friend.
Amelia Bishop found herself in a world she’d never imagined herself to be in. Because of her sister Julia’s disability, her family had always been somewhat of a pariah in society. A defective child made one question the family line. But now, after accepting the marriage proposal of Lord Embry Montrose, Amelia found herself in a “never ending stream of planning parties, making introductions, and catching up on social skills she’d never expected to need to learn”. And she was miserable. Her fiancé seemed nice enough but she couldn’t help comparing him to Nicholas, her friend and confidant since she was six years old. And when Amelia realized that Embry was trying to turn her into the image of his deceased fiancé and take her away from her family, she knew she must end the relationship. Embry, however, felt otherwise. He wouldn’t release her from her commitment and even threatened a breach of contract suit. If Embry wouldn’t let her end the relationship, she’d just have to ensure that he found her so undesirable that he’d want to end it instead.
What follows is a hilarious sequence of attempts to be so scandalous that Embry will end the betrothal. With the help of Julia, Nick, and Nick’s friend Jasper, Amelia sets out to be completely unmarriageable. And on the way, she discovers that those feelings she’s always harbored for her good friend Nick are something she wants to explore more.
This story was such fun to read and a great introduction to a new-to-me author and series. I was immediately caught up in the story and fell in love with the characters. Nick and Amelia were so loveable. While Amelia’s mix of boldness and innocence were delightful, a drunk Amelia was downright hysterical. Nick was absolutely charming. He wanted to change his life and make it his own but he also felt obligated to his family. I loved watching him battle his amorous feelings for Amelia while trying to be her friend. His attempt at control while fitting her for her horse racing outfit had me in tears. It was so much fun to see them question each other’s attraction when the chemistry between them was so obvious to everyone else.
I loved the family dynamics in the story as well. Amelia’s relationship with Julia was touching. Amelia didn’t want a marriage if it meant losing her sister. They were wonderful sibling characters who were impish and naughty. Nick’s family dynamic hit close to home for me with his father battling dementia. The realization that you never consider your parents getting old until it’s upon you was a poignant part of the story for me. His battle with disappointing his family and going after what he wanted made me love him even more.
The secondary characters of Jasper and Julia were every bit as entertaining as the main characters. They were true schemers and such fun to read. I’m hoping they’ll find each other in a future book. Those two together would be explosive!
I look forward to the rest of this series. The fast-paced plot, witty writing style, and perfect blend of steamy and sweet make this story one you’ll love to get lost in.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book.