A young lady's tarnished reputation might cost her everything in this first book in the Disreputable Debutantes series.
Shy, bookish Sophie Brightwell is expected to make an advantageous match to improve her family's fortunes. However, Sophie's plans to make a spectacular debut go horribly awry when she and her three closest friends are expelled from a young ladies' academy for unbecoming conduct. Since the ton will be sure to close their doors on these disgraced debutantes, they determine that unconventional means need to be employed in the husband-hunting market. Rakehells—the beau monde's wickedest members—might be the only men willing to overlook a young lady's besmirched reputation.
But how does one catch a rake?
Nate Hastings, the devil-may-care Viscount Malverne, is the older brother of Sophie’s best friend, fellow disgraced debutante Lady Charlotte. When a terribly foxed Nate accidentally compromises Sophie, Charlotte strikes a wicked bargain: in order to avoid a scandal and the parson's mousetrap, Nate must help Sophie snare a husband. But as Nate fulfills his obligation and begins to instruct the lovely Sophie in the art of luring rakes, he soon finds himself battling his own fierce attraction to her.
Launching the Disreputable Debutantes series set in Regency-era London, Bennett introduces a group of ardent young women who are determined to marry on terms they find agreeable, despite the unladylike scandal that got them expelled from school. This installment focuses on Sophie Brightwell as she is given the opportunity to escape the precarious stability of home in order to venture into London under the care of Lady Charlotte "Charlie" Hastings, another defamed young lady. They plan to capture the hearts of the only men who won't think less of their purported debauchery. The two young women catch Charlie's brother, Nate Hasting, Lord Malverne, in a tricky act of his own and blackmail him into assisting Sophie in her debut. Despite his protests, he finds himself falling for her as quickly as she does for him. Some events are revisited by both protagonists in sections that feel more repetitious than revelatory, but the characters have great potential, carry the story, and hold promise for the series. Bennett's gratifying if simplistic Regency will appeal to readers looking for something quick and fun.