Sep 172018

Passion Verses Duty

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.

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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 Scandalto 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!

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  34 Responses to “Summer of Scandal – Syrie James + GIVEAWAY”


    So glad to hear ye are both safe. I’ve been watching it on the news here in Ireland and it looks very very scary. You sound like you’re handling it all well and I admire you for that.
    Lovely review. I have enjoyed Syrie James books in the past and these sound very interesting. She has a lovely way with descriptive writing. If I won I’d like the first one as I haven’t read either yet.
    Keep safe!!


      It definitely is one of the worst we’ve seen while living here. We were pretty lucky though in our area, thankfully!

      So true about Syrie’s descriptive writing! I love everything she writes! Even if it isn’t Jane Austen related!


    So proud that you and Mr. B came thru Flo so well. Still praying for everyone affected by the storm. Your review makes me want to read this series. I have enjoyed Syrie’s books in the past and know I won’t be disappointed with these.


    Thank goodness you and Mr. Bingley, your family and home came through the ‘Flo’ without injury or major damage. Loved your review of Syrie’s second book. I have the first one, but have not had much time for reading this summer. Thank your for such a generous giveaway! Good luck in the recovery process…


    Great to hear that you and Mr Bingley are safe, Meredith. Fortunately your books, furniture, etc aren’t damaged. I hope you will resume your normal life soon. I will pray for you and others that are affected by Hurricane Florence.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Summer of Scandal. I have not read Syrie’s new series but I can say it’s a full-blown romance for mature readers just by looking at the saucy cover. I don’t mean it’s necessary a bad thing or take issue with the cover. And thanks for kindly offering the books as prizes.


      Thank you, Sylvia. It was a relief to come home and find all is well. It was a scary thought to leave and be unsure if you would have a home to come back to. We are luckier than some, and I feel terrible for those who lost so much. Hopefully they will find a way to rebuild and recover.

      Definitely, this series is firmly in the romance genre, but that is not to say they don’t have substance. Syrie James always makes sure her characters are well-drawn and intelligent.


    Meredith, I’m so glad that you and Mr. Bingley made it safely through the storm and that Netherfield withstood it. I hope that power will be restored as quickly as possible to you.

    Congrats, Syrie, on your new book! I have the first one in the series waiting patiently in my queue. I have loved all your previous books so I suspect this will be no different! Thanks so much for the wonderful giveaway opportunity!


      We are very thankful! And power came on yesterday…such a huge different that makes!

      That’s great that you have the first book in this series! I hope you get the chance to read it soon! Both are terrific!


    Have loved Syrie’s other work, I haven’t read either of these and will be adding them to my TBR list.


    So glad that you and your Mr. Bingley and all of your books are safe and sound! It’s rather fun to read books by candlelight, isn’t it?

    I have long been a fan of Syrie James, and although straight romance isn’t really my cuppa, I know that Syrie has done a marvelous job, so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping hard to win one of the e-books; I’ve added both to my TBR list on Goodreads. 🙂

    Thanks for this terrific review (as always), Meredith!!

    Susanne 🙂


      It would be fun to do that! I ended up reading by flashlight so I could sit comfortably in our recliner, but we did play cards by candlelight. 🙂

      I’m with you, Stephanie. My main draw in reading these books is Syrie’s writing. Hope you get teh chance to read them soon!


    I, too, am glad you are home safe. The cover of this book is rather “scandalous” considering how he is lifting her skirts! Juicy?…maybe? Thanks for sharing and for the chance to win. I have not read the other book in this series so would probably want to read that one first.


      Very true about the cover! And this heroine is a little bit more daring than her sister. I just love seeing the coast and the sea in the background…such a gorgeous color!


    I am so glad you all are safe!


    Yay for a safe return. I thought this was a lovely romance and I was really cheering for them. It was neat seeing all the literary influences.


    Thank you, Meredith, for this wonderful review! I, too, am relieved that you and Pedro (and all your books) are safe. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed SUMMER OF SCANDAL and hope everyone has as much fun reading it as I had writing it!


      My pleasure, Syrie! It was a joy to read your latest and to be taken to another beautiful coastline while thinking of the one so close to my home! Congrats on your release of this wonderful story!


    Oh Meredith, I am so glad to hear that you guys are safe and sound. Special hello to Mr. Bingley. Y’all survived the hurricane. Man… thanks for hosting, and thanks for the fantastic review. Also, thanks for the generous giveaway. I have the first book but just haven’t read it yet. Real Life has had me busy. Once again… glad you all are safe and fine. Hang in there. Blessings to our author Syrie James and much success on the launch.


      Thank you, my dear friend!! Hugs! We are so happy to be on the other side of this! And hoping that we don’t see another hurricane for some time!!

      Hope you are doing well and get to enjoy some reading time soon! Thanks so much for sharing your enthusiasm for Syrie’s books!


    I regret to say I have never even heard of this author! I love books set in an English setting however, since I have been there and can remember how certain areas looked. I would love to have either one! And Meredith, so glad you came out okay with the superstorm. Anytime I start complaining about our tornados here in Oklahoma, all I have to do is shut up when I think about how much more vast hurricane damage is!


      Syrie’s books are great, Denise! If you can get a hold of any of her older books I highly recommend them!

      It looks like each area has their own weather concerns, we were very fortunate this time!


    I’m so glad to have found your site. And I’m very glad to hear you’ve come through the hurricane!


    so relieved to hear you came through unscathed and you had a house to come home to



    So glad to hear you all survived Flo.
    Great review and I can’t wait to read this one. I read the first book upon your recommendation (and the fact that I love all of her JAFF). I know I’ll enjoy this second book, too. Thanks for the chance!


    Such a lovely review Meredith. It perfectly matches the quality of the writing and sensitivity of the love story in Summer of Scandal. I also enjoyed this historical romance by one of my favorite Austenesque authors, and look forward to book 3 in the series.

    I was very concerned when your hometown’s name kept popping up in the news. I am relieved that you and your husband are safe and that your fabulous book collection is still intact.

    Take care, Laurel Ann


      Thank you, Laurel Ann! So true about Syrie’s writing and yes, I’m very eager for book 3!

      Thank you so much for your concern. Our city was Florence’s target for sure! But it looks like worse damage was done to the areas north of us as they got the heavier rainfall and suffered so much more flooding. We were very fortunate and we know it.

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