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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

ARC Review: How to School Your Scoundrel by Juliana Gray

How to School Your Scoundrel (A Princess In Hiding, #3)
How to School Your Scoundrel by Juliana Gray
Publication date: June 3, 2014
Series: A Princess in Hiding #3
Publisher: Berkley
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~~Reviewed by Bonnie~~
With her country in turmoil, and her life in danger, Princess Luisa and her sisters are forced to flee their small homeland of Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhof for England.  The Royal Prince (the girls’ father) as well as Luisa’s new husband were murdered by rebels seeking to overthrow the monarchy.  The three princesses are half English, and their English uncle, The Duke of Olympia concocts a plan to have them masquerade as men to keep them safe.

Luisa is to become Mr. Markham, and apply to become secretary to the notorious Earl of Somerton. During the initial interview, Luisa displays a cockiness that appeals to Somerton, who is used to everyone trembling in his presence, and he hires her (him.)  They develop a relationship, while not exactly a friendship, buta sort of mutual trust and respect.

Somerton is in an unhappy marriage.  Years ago, he fell in love with his wife, who was in love with another man.  He bulldozed her parents into making her accept his suit, and basically bought her.  She still loves this man, and Somerton is obsessed with finding proof of her infidelity, and enacting revenge.

I am amazed at how the author managed to weave all the various threads of this story so tightly together.  First of all, I have to say that I really dislike the trope of ladies disguising themselves as men. Second, I am really not at all fond of political intrigues, especially involving monarchy.  And third, I totally dislike the kind of man Somerton was.  (No spoilers, but he had a whole lot of sins in his past.) Yet, I absolutely loved this story.  As it progresses, we get to see that Somerton is a lonely man who has never been loved, and his first attempt at loving was rejected.  We also get to see him transform into a hero without losing his toughness, which is something Luisa will need.  Luisa, meanwhile, has always lived for duty alone, and now she feels love as well.

This book is the third book of the princess trilogy, and these books were my first introduction to Juliana Gray.  I will definitely be reading her previous books, and she is now an “auto buy” author for me.  I have also learned that one of her previous books, “A Gentleman Never Tells” is the story of Somerton’s troubled marriage, told from his wife’s point of view.  I can’t recommend this book highly enough – it has it all.  It’s exciting, sexy, angsty, heartbreaking, and ultimately satisfying.  The epilogue is a treasure

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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