Sunday, May 20, 2012

Review: LADY MAGGIE'S SECRET SCANDAL by Grace Burrowes

Grace Burrowes continues her saga of the Windham daughters with Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, an emotional tale of life-changing secrets, selfless sacrifice, desperate loneliness and dangerous mystery.

Lady Maggie, illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Moreland, lives quietly by choice in the shadow of her high-profile family. But then she loses her reticule. If the contents of her bag come to light, someone innocent and dear to her will suffer greatly. Desperate, she hires investigator Benjamin Hazlit, who has done such work for the Windhams before, to recover her property.

Ben almost declines Maggie’s case when she refuses to tell him exactly what he must find. But the beautiful, lonely Maggie intrigues and attracts him, and he takes her case.

With her flowing prose, Ms. Burrowes illustrates the strait-jacket life of the Regency woman. Hemmed in by abusively restrictive laws and customs, her options, especially if she is married, are narrow and daunting. Her life is defined solely by her sexuality, her behavior is strictly defined, and respectable employment paying a living wage is almost non-existent. The unwed Maggie, as the daughter of a rich, powerful duke, has more leeway than most, but her illegitimacy still locks her out of the charmed circle reserved for those who fulfill all of society’s requirements.

The story compels you to turn page after page to find out what happens next. Again, Ms. Burrowes keeps us guessing almost to the end as to exactly what Maggie’s secret scandal is.

Maggie is noble in trying to save a helpless victim, but a little wrong-headed in thinking she can do everything alone. Her family would have been more than willing to aid her, if she had only asked. Ben’s personal knowledge of women’s helplessness spur him on in his quest to help Maggie, if she will trust him.

Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal is also full of Regency language, which I love, and which I think too many regencies lack. Ms. Burrowes has succeeded in using period words and phrasing so unobtrusively the speech sounds modern.

Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal is another worthy entry in the Windham family saga.

Thank you all,
ARC provided by Sourcebooks

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