A Matter of Scandal
I found myself smiling throughout this book. The characters and their interactions were like a breath of fresh air after the dull books I’ve read recently. Though I haven’t read the first two books in this series, if they are anything like this one, I can’t wait to get my hands on them.
Greydon Brakenridge, Duke of Wycliffe, the Duke of Wycliffe, and known as Grey to his friends, has fled to the country to escape being trapped into marriage. It conveniently worked out that his uncle asked for his help with the estate of Haverly at the same time. Grey is highly arrogant, and not really a nice guy. He has some extremely insulting ideas about women and their (lack of) intelligence. When Grey realizes that Haverly provides land for Miss Grenville’s Academy, a finishing school for young ladies, he nearly suffers apoplexy. Part of Grey’s plan to make the estate more solvent is to raise the rent for all tenants, including the academy. Grey particularly looks forward to informing the headmistress of the raise in rent as believes the academy exists solely to teach young women how to snare wealthy husbands.
Miss Emma Grenville has been the headmistress of the academy for three years, ever since her aunt, the founder of the school, passed away. When she is informed that the rent is to be raised, she is displeased to say the least, and not at all impressed with Grey. Emma is an extremely intelligent and capable woman, and proceeds to take “His Grace” down a few well-deserved notches.
It was quite enjoyable to watch the interaction between Grey and Emma. Grey is so prideful and thorougly sure of himself that he enters a wager with Emma which results in his teaching a class at the academy. For Emma’s part, she must prepare a full estate plan which will provide financial solvency for Haverly that rivals Grey’s plan, if she wants her rent to remain the same. Grey is just begging for a fall, and his interaction with his pupils at the academy is priceless. These girls are not stupid or foolish by any means.
Emma and Grey have an immediate attraction to each other, but Emma is very conscious of her status as a headmistress, and of Grey’s superior social standing. She doesn’t have that high of an opinion of men either, so is not in any rush to involve herself with Grey. Grey’s friend Tristan, a viscount, is also interested in Emma and this forces Grey to take a closer look at his feelings for her.
For a change, the title of the book was also accurate. Aspersions are cast on Emma as a result of her contact with Grey and Tristan, and Grey learns another lesson in humility when he can’t swipe a magic wand and make everything disappear, just because he says so.
Emma’s friends, couples who have had their own stories already, make a small appearance, which only whetted my appetite further, and I must look for the first two books. The pupils at the academy are written well and provide an interesting challenge for Grey. Tristan’s character really deserves his own book, although on the back of this one it states this is the concluding book of the series. I can only hope that is not the case, because I thought Tristan would make a great hero in his own right. Fans of this series will not be disappointed with Emma and Grey. I know I wasn’t!