Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
In the second installment of her Dare to Defy series, author Syrie James takes readers on another beatific sojourn to rugged and romantic Cornwall in the late 1880s. Our heroine in this tale is another American heiress in the Atherton family, the middle daughter – Madeleine, who at the age of twenty-four is a proud college graduate that dreams of becoming a published author. But as we saw in the first book of this series, Runaway Heiress, Madeleine’s ambitious mother plans to see her daughters married to titled aristocrats with impressive estates. Pleasing her social-climbing mother, Madeleine receives a very desirable proposal from the Marquess of Oakley, eldest son of the Duke of Courtenay. But since she is a true romantic that wants to marry for love, Madeleine defers accepting Lord Oakley’s proposal until she knows her own heart.
Escaping from her mother and the exhausting demands of the season, Madeleine steals away to her sister’s home in Cornwall. But instead of finding solace and gaining wisdom from her sister, Madeleine finds herself spending time with and greatly admiring someone quite unexpected…
Like another heroine I admire greatly, Madeleine is intelligent and quick-witted, fond of learning and exchanging ideas, and has a tendency to make snap judgements. When she learned of Charles Grayson’s past actions with his best friend’s betrothed, Madeleine formed an immovable dislike towards Charles and determined that he was a flirtatious rogue devoid of any proper feeling. But now that she is spending more time with Charles, she has the chance to learn more about him, and she makes some important discoveries about his character, past reputation, and pursuits.
Full of tantalizing scenes together, impassioned longings, and daring behaviors it is no wonder why this book was such a page turner for me! Ms. James excels at engaging her readers from the very first chapter and creating characters and conflicts to which readers are easily drawn. After encountering both Madeleine and Charles in Runaway Heiress, it was wonderful to learn more about them in this novel. There is so much to admire in Madeleine – she isn’t afraid to challenge convention or speak her mind, and she is loyal, kind, and sympathetic. In addition, Charles easily won my heart with his remorse about the past, his honorable actions, and his overall desire to do good.
I felt sympathetic towards their similar dilemmas regarding marriage proposals and duty, and I admire them both so much for their unconventional pursuits and ambitions. The private moments where they reveal their hidden dreams and share unique understandings with each other were heartwarming to witness. And the moments where they surrender to their all-consuming desires are exquisitely heart-stopping. Talk about ardent love and admiration!
There is so much to love about the Dare to Defy series – the breathtaking scenery, the fearless and forward thinking heroines, the touches of influence from Jane Austen, the Brontes, the Poldark series, and Downton Abbey. I thoroughly enjoyed Summer of Scandal, almost nearly as much as Runaway Heiress. I heartily recommend this praiseworthy series to any readers looking for a stimulating and splendid Victorian-era romance!
Note: Recommended for Mature Audiences due to the inclusion of a few intimate scenes and descriptions.
Second Note: Even though this book is stand alone, I’d recommend reading the first book of this series prior to reading Summer of Scandal.
I’m so thankful that Mr. Bingley and I, my family, our homes, and my books all made it through Flo safely that I wanted to do a DOUBLE giveaway with my review! I’ll give away an ebook from this series (winner’s choice – Runaway Heiress or Summer of Scandal) to TWO lucky winners! I’m so thankful for everyone’s kind words, smart ideas, and sweet concern during this terrible hurricane! It was encouraging to hear from you even though we’ve never met and are many miles (or countries) a part! Thank you, friends!
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment about my review!
- This giveaway is open to worldwide.
- This giveaway ends September 24th!
*Hurricane Update: We saw an opportunity to come home on Saturday and we did, extremely lucky because we made it before more rain and more flooding happened. We’ve been without power, but surviving just fine using our camping skills (and practice taking cold showers in Colombia!). My music studio has its power back (hence this post!) and we are hoping ours will be restored at home soon. We didn’t have any flooding in our area, but there was pretty bad flooding not too far from us. Thank you all again for checking in with us often and your kind concern!