If Lady Arabella Winslett was left to her own devices, she would happily paint each day away and want for nothing else. Unfortunately, her grandfather has other plans for her future, plans that involve marrying her off to her horrid cousin and sending Bella far away. Only a quick betrothal to someone else will save her from that unhappy fate. But with time ticking by, it would take a miracle to bring anyone up to scratch...If only someone could be convinced to play the role of her intended for just a little while.
Jaded Gregory, Baron Avery, lives with more than a few regrets and no way to atone for his past. Though, when his sister stumbles upon a lady in desperate need of a temporary fiancé, she suggests that Greg play the part in an attempt to help him find the peace he's been missing. However, once the beautiful Bella enters his life, peace is the furthest thing from Greg's mind. But their betrothal wasn't supposed to be permanent, and she deserves someone much more honorable than him.
FINAL DECISION: A sweet and gentle romance that has less angst than one might expect from Greg's past and focuses on characters that fall for one another almost immediately. Enjoyable even for those who are new to the series.
THE STORY: Gregory, Baron Avery and Lady Arabella Winslett end up in a pretend engagement in order to save Bella from being forced by her grandfather to marry her odious cousin. Greg is trying to make his own restitution for his past mistakes by helping the sweet and beautiful young woman. As the two engage in their pretense, they get to know one another and find out that what began as pretend might be what they both want and need.
OPINION: This is the story of strangers who enter into a pretend engagement -- her because she is avoiding a horrendous arranged marriage; he because he feels guilt from his past mistakes. The two use their engagement to manage to fall in love. The story was a nice read but not particularly deep. It did however, interest me in the other books of the series because I know there is more depth to the stories of both the hero and other characters that are developed in the past.
The highlight for me was the genuine nice characters in this book. Greg and Bella are so sweet together that his book was an easy read that made my heart smile. I liked reading about their story and I hope we see more of them in the future.
WORTH MENTIONING: There are a lot of side stories involved in this book that readers of the series might greatly appreciate.
CONNECTED BOOKS: A SCANDALOUS RUSE is the thirteenth book in the full Scandalous series (which combines several separately named series). This book can be read as a standalone although there are a lot of characters with history that make significant appearances. I wish I had read this book in order, because I think it would feel more complete.
STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book from the author. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.
Couldn't put it down
Ava Stone crafts an enthralling tale of a sweet romance blossoming amidst well-meant diabolical plotting and familial dysfunction and a latent adventuresome spirit! And wrapped up with a surprise ending just makes it that much more a satisfying read. It's a complete story in itself, but you'll enjoy it that much more if you read the rest of the Scandalous series in order.
A Scandalous Ruse
Not what I expected after waiting so long for the next book in this series. A slow repetitive read.