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Bound by a Scandalous Secret (The Scandalous Summerfields) Mass Market Paperback – November 22, 2016
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About the Author
Diane Gaston's dream job had always been to write romance novels. One day she dared to pursue that dream and has never looked back. Her books have won Romance's highest honours: the RITA Award, the National Readers Choice Award, Holt Medallion, Golden Quill, and Golden Heart. She lives in Virginia with her husband and three very ordinary house cats. Diane loves to hear from readers and friends. Visit her website at: http://dianegaston.com
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Genna has no intention of marrying. What she has seen of marriage doesn't inspire her to try it herself. Instead, she plans to hold out against Lord Tinmore's plans to marry her off until her twenty-first birthday then make her own way in the world as a painter. One day while painting she meets the Marquess of Rossdale and they strike up a friendship. Ross is also under pressure to marry and is putting it off for as long as he can.
Ross is visiting his friend Dell, who is a distant cousin to the Summerfields when he meets Genna. He is intrigued by her and wants to get to know her better. His few encounters with her over his visit only increase his fascination. A few months later they meet in London during the Season. Ross is intrigued by Genna's determination to make her own way in the world as an artist and is determined to help her. But because of the rules of the time, spending much time with her is difficult. He comes up with the idea that they pretend to be engaged, enabling them to spend more time together and, as a bonus, getting their matchmaking families off their backs. Neither one thinks about the drawbacks to the plan.
I loved the development of their relationship. All Ross wants to do is make it possible for Genna to fulfill her dreams. He remembers back to his childhood and his mother's unhappiness and doesn't want the same thing to happen to her. It was sweet to see the joy he got from each new experience he gave her. As the weeks went on, Ross frequently found himself wondering what it would be like if they actually got married, but he's afraid it would kill her chances to make her dreams come true. Genna loves the time she spends with Ross, who she feels is the only one who really understands what she wants in life. She finds that her feelings for him are changing, but she knows very well that there is too much of a gulf between them for a marriage to be possible. She also has no confidence that she would even be capable of doing what is required of a duchess. When the attraction that has been building between them has his honor butting up against her fears, Genna flees, telling Ross he needs someone better than she is. It's up to Ross to decide if he wants to break the unhappy pattern set by his father and grandfather and go for the life he wants for himself. I loved his big moment at the end and the epilogue was sweet.
There were several secondary characters that played important roles. Lord Tinmore is a nasty piece of work. I didn't like the way he always put Lorene down. In this book he was also quite the suck-up. Once he found out who Ross's father was, he was determined to take advantage of the relationship. I also didn't much care for the Duke and Duchess. He was far too focused on politics, to the detriment of having a real relationship with his son. The Duchess was just plain manipulative and snobby. I hated her attitude about Genna and loved seeing Genna stand up to her. Most fascinating were Lorene and Dell. Lorene is married to Tinmore and constantly doing whatever she can to keep the peace between him and her siblings. Dell has recently inherited Summerfield under tragic circumstances and is still trying to recover. There is an instant connection between the two of them. I ached for Dell as he saw what she is going through and can do nothing about it. The subtle attention he pays her seems to soften her a bit toward others, and bolsters her confidence as seen in the epilogue. I'm looking forward to seeing if something comes of it.
Historical Romance- Nov 22nd, 2016
In Bound by a Scandalous Secret, the author continues her Scandalous Summerfields series. However, this book can easily be read as a stand alone.
Genna Summerfield is young and brash. She misses her old, decrepit home. Especially since the new owner, Lord Penford (Dell) has not invited her back to visit. So she comforts herself with visits from afar. On one such occasion she is painting her old home when she meets a mysterious horseman named Ross. They strike up an unlikely friendship. And Ross is intrigued by Genna. He is the guest of the new owner and asks his friend Dell to invite the old residents in hopes of seeing Genna again. Genna soon discovers that Ross is the esteemed Marquess of Rossdale, heir to the Duke of Kessington. Ross is far above her station but she doesn't take him seriously. However, Ross soon finds himself under pressure to marry and realizes the impish Genna would be the ideal female to become a false fiancee so he can get a little breathing space from his family's demands. When he proposes his scheme to Genna gamely agrees. But what happens when friendship turns into a most unexpected love?
This lighthearted book is quick and entertaining. Genna is a bit immature but fun and vivacious. Perfect to keep the jaded Ross on his toes. Their spirited friendship is a pleasure to read. As their relationship is genuine and lively. However, I found myself more intrigued by Genna beautiful, older sister, Lorene. She married an old and quite grouchy man who is constantly making Lorene's life miserable. Lorene marred him to support her younger siblings after they were destitute and feel beholden to him. Poor Lorene is a much put upon character and any reader would want her to be happy. And it seems that Lorene has found an admirer! However, the ever so proper Lorene would never do anything scandalous. The implied longing between her and her admirer is very bittersweet to read. I really hope the author writes another book in the series that includes Lorene!
Reviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club
As the youngest sister of the scandalous Summerfield sisters, Genna does not wish to marry. Pretending to be engaged to Ross is perfect. She will have a little bit of freedom to pursue her own goals. But as the two share kisses, something more seems to be blooming.
Ross is enchanted with Genna. She seems to be the one woman who does not simper in his presence. She is delightfully alive and says what she feels. The two embark on an engagement that somehow turns into more. It was fun to watch their reactions to each other. This is one story to not miss if you enjoy a tale where you start out pretending and something more develops. You cannot help but fall in love with both Ross and Genna. Routing for happy ending will be on everyone’s agenda. You can fight it but you can’t beat it when love comes calling!