The next steamy historical romance in USA TODAY bestselling and RITA award-winning author Meredith Duran’s “wonderfully indulgent” (Publishers Weekly) Rules for the Reckless series.
A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL...
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.
...NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for...
Political intrigue and conspiracies abound in Duran's engrossing fifth Rules for the Reckless Victorian romance (after Luck Be a Lady), which boasts plot twists galore. At the center of the complex love story is heiress Jane Mason's sham marriage to Crispin Burke, one of the most ruthless men in England's House of Commons. Crispin is bewildered when he wakes up from a coma after a brutal attack and doesn't remember anything from the past five years not his career or his brand of political machinations, and not why he secretly married Jane, the niece of one of his cronies. Jane, who lied about being married to Crispin in order to escape her odious uncle's plans for her money, is terrified of what her "husband" will do when he regains his memory, but she is also falling in love with the new, kinder Crispin. Duran is at the pinnacle of her craft as she weaves together humor, forgiveness, and love in a flawlessly executed plot. Jane, Crispin, and the rest of the characters are all well drawn, and the love scenes strike the perfect balance of steamy and sweet. Each layer in the story is suspenseful and delightful, making this the best installment so far.
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A Captivating Story
Crispin Burke was known as the black sheep of the family and when they needed him to be, also the scapegoat. He grew up trusting no one. He had determination, though, and a lofty goal. Crispin wanted to be the Prime Minister, and he was well on his way to attaining that position. He was wealthy and powerful and used blackmail and bribery to get whatever he wanted, including votes. Crispin had his share of enemies, though, and one of them tried to kill him.
Jane Mason, an heiress, had been planning her escape from her Uncle’s house, for a while. The controlling man was siphoning money from her account and insisting that she marry his son. But, Jane took matters into her own hands and married a man on his deathbed, Crispin Burke. Crispin had been unconscious for days and was not expected to live. The problem, though, was that the ruthless politician woke up and to his utter surprise, found himself a married man. Because of Crispin’s head injury, he couldn’t remember the last five years of his life. He accepted Jane’s lies about their marriage, as truth. Crispin promised to be a good husband and treated Jane with respect. In fact, Crispin was such a kind and thoughtful man, that Jane began to fall in love with him. But, what if Crispin recovered his memories? Could Jane escape his wrath?
A Lady’s Code of Misconduct held my interest from the very first page. It’s an in-depth well-written fascinating story, crafted with complex characters and situations. I loved watching Crispin and Jane, meet their challenges, grow and change. A Lady’s Code of Misconduct is an intriguing and captivating read. I loved it.
Thank you, Pocket Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.
Fun Victorian Romance
A Lady's Code of Misconduct is a romance about a young man who is master manipulator and a young lady who is willing to do whatever she can to escape an unwanted marriage and the evil guardianship of her uncle.
When we first meet our heroine Jane, she is a quiet ghost of a girl who tries to stay in the shadows of her uncle's home as much as she can. She is clever and quick-witted but she hides these aspects of her personality for the sake of her own self-preservation.
When our questionable hero Crispin is introduced, he is very much a predator, always on the look-out for a victim to bilk or to exploit in his quest for more power.
I liked Jane from the beginning and empathized with her over her powerlessness and precarious position in society. Women of her time were truly at the mercy of their male relatives and her uncle had very little mercy held in store for her. I understood completely her plot to escape her uncle and applauded her attempts and ultimate victory.
Crispin isn't terribly likable in much of the book, but honestly I can't imagine that Duran intended for the reader to think he is a nice guy from the beginning. I ended up liking him well enough, but I never quite understood what really caused him to be as big of villain as he was in the start of the book. I get that his family failed him and treated him shabbily but there were things he did that seemed borderline sociopathic. I get that his little boy feelings were hurt real bad but that doesn't excuse everything.
Also, I found the political aspects of the book super boring. I don't enjoy reading about 150 year old fictional political machinations in Victorian England. Call me crazy. I can see why this info was important to the storyline. However, I had to drag myself through the political parts of the book.
I would recommend this book to romance fans and feel that it is a great example of a well written period romance with an HEA.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
layers of intrigue, personal and political, that act as jumping off points
A strong female character, apparently at the mercy of others comes to understand her own power and place in society in this unique and clever story from Meredith Duran. Jane Mason was the daughter of a political force with a philanthropic mother, always taught to carefully examine the facts presented and be unafraid to share her opinions. But, with their death and she unmarried and in need of a guardian, she is sent to her Uncle, where his plans to marry her to her cousin and gain control of the not insubstantial fortunes is hatched. Belittled and constrained at every opportunity, Jane’s cleverness and belief in herself, instilled from childhood was unwelcome at best, dangerous at worst.
As her uncle was looking for power and upward mobility, Jane had the opportunity to listen and learn, as she planned her own what next. Coming to hear Crispin Burke, a politician with little capacity for trust and well known for his bullying ways. Jane’s plan is starting to come apart, and perhaps he can help. Brought into an agreement fueled by his own search for power and control, he’s looking to ‘help’ Jane in the most superficial ways, expecting his own boon.
Interestingly, when the bottom falls out for Crispin, Jane isn’t put off: she believes something in him is good, and despite the lies and agendas, she is willing to take a chance on him, despite it all. Twists and turns galore highlight this story, as the two start to unravel the threads and get to the real story behind the deceptions and agendas. Setting up the romance as a ‘convenient and purposeful’ relationship starts to change to attraction and admiration is cleverly done, and the revelations from both Crispin and Jane add depth and emotion to build their budding connection in the reader’s eye. A ‘whip through it” repeatedly book, it demands that you turn the page to find the next moment, next revelation and even next slip where true feelings are revealed and exposed.
A story laden with redemption for Crispin, a reclaiming of personal power and voice for Jane and the solid palpable sense of true admiration and love between them as Duran brings in social commentary, political concerns and even some personal angst to bring us to the conclusion. Adding to the enjoyment is the layers of intrigue, personal and political, that act as jumping off points to each twist, turn and moment for growth. The second that I have read in this series – it’s a wonderful story, and I now have to read the others I have missed.
I received an copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.