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Heiress Without a Cause (Muses of Mayfair #1)

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,980 Ratings  ·  189 Reviews
One title to change his life...

A disgraced son with a dark reputation, William “Ferguson” Avenel is content to live in exile–until his father dies in the scandal of the Season. With rumors of insanity swirling around them, his sisters desperately need a chaperone. Ferguson thinks he’s found the most proper woman in England–and he won’t ruin her, even if he secretly desires
ebook, 257 pages
Published January 13th 2012 by Spencerhill Associates Ltd
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Grade: C--- (very nearly a D+, but it wasn't quite a "Lady Alexandra's Excellent Adventure" level of bad.

The entire premise of this book is a big ol’ Hot Mess, with all the requisite confusing plot contrivances to force the action and motivations into something vaguely resembling logic.

I came very, very close to DNFing, but some swoon-worthy sentences (and the irrelevant fact that the author claims to be an Iowa girl) gave me hope that the writing might somehow overcome all the early red flags.

HR is not usually my thing but a few friends have convinced me to dip my toe into the genre. To date I haven’t read many but my shelf of HR’s is steadily growing.

This is Sara Ramsey’s first book introducing us to a group of ladies who have named themselves the ‘Muses of Mayfair’, we also get to meet their families, friends and a few other characters. This first story tells us about Lady Madeleine Valliant, who at the age of 29, is considered to be a spinster and ‘left on the shelf’. Madeleine l
Jen (Red Hot Books)
At 28, Madeleine is a spinster, firmly on the shelf. But there is more to her than the prim and proper exterior she shows the ton. For the past few weeks, she has been assuming an alter-identity as an actress to live her passion on the stage. Obviously, when Ferguson -a newly minted Duke- asks her to help his younger sisters come out into society, he has no idea she is anything less than the model of propriety.

Then Ferguson visits the theater. He is taken by Madeleine's alter ego and quickly fig
This was a 3-star read but the couple and the fact that it was full of so many of my favorite tropes made me rate it higher.

Heiress Without a Cause (GREAT title by the way) was a very good start to the series. I really enjoyed the artists and rebels that were the Muses of Mayfair ladies. Ferguson (a ginger hero whoo-hoo!!! we need more of those) and Madeleine were so cute and I loved how supportive he was of her acting. I did feel like we were going around in circles when it came to the drama of
Just okay. Almost did not finish, but I had the free time, so I trudged on. Love the theater aspect of Madeleine, but somehow never warmed up to Ferguson as a hero. From the start there was already too much going on, too many characters I had to keep track of, and many of them never felt like real people (Caro and Westbrook). Later on I started to like Ellie more than Madeleine, and Alex than Ferguson, and when the reader is more interested in the secondary characters than the main ones, perhaps ...more
My first book from this author.
Though it was not absolutely awful on every aspects, there was nothing in it that I really liked enough to make up for the glaring flaws and to give me incentive to try another book from this author. Maybe, if I come across another one for free, with a not to outlandish summary, maybe, I'll give it another chance. Otherwise, most probably not.
Historical realism is definitely totally absent from this book. Locations, character motivations, circumstances and actions,
Jess the Romanceaholic
This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.

Expected Release Date: January 23, 2013
Publisher: Spencerhill Associates, Ltd.
Imprint: N/A
Author’s Website:
My Source for This Book:
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Muses of Mayfair
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy
Pet Peeves: Unrealistic Behavior: Historical, Vindictive Ex
Favorite Tropes: Courting Scandal, Hero In Pursuit

There are a lot of historical romances out there with a heroine courting sc
Apr 29, 2012 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I reviewed this novel for my blog at

...starts slow, but boy does it pick up! Loved it...

This is Ms. Ramsey's début novel and first in the Muses of Mayfair Series (Madeline
Vaillant, Prudence Etchingham, Amelia Staunton and Ellie, Marchioness of Folkestone) and she starts off with Lady Madeline Vaillant's story.

The book opens up with our heroine attending a ball at Salford House, which is the home of her cousin Alexander Staunton, the Earl of Salford, his mothe
Romancing the Book
Mar 15, 2012 Romancing the Book rated it really liked it
Reviewed By~robin
Review Copy Provided By~Netgalley

I simply loved this book. From the first page to the last I was enthralled with the characters that seemed to spring to life on the pages. I even read as I fixed dinner as I was not able to put it down. Evan though I neither an orphan nor French, I as a woman and a need to follow a dream; was able to relate to the characters.

Madeline wants to act. So act you may say, but it isn’t that easy; not in London and definitely not in 1812. Still Madeline
Aug 07, 2012 Katie_la_geek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, ebook-arc
For this review and more visit my blog

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a review*

One of the things I love about being a book blogger is that sometimes a book that you wouldn’t normally read lands in your lap and takes you by surprise. I am not normally a fan of historical romance, I will read Highland romance and Historical PNR but straight historical…well that is not normally my thing. In short, Heiress without a cause is not a book I would ever choose to read. I am really glad
I got this free from Amazon.

Ramsey is a new author to me. This is the first book I have read by her. I liked this book, it was okay. What saved it for me was the heroine, Madeline. She was a great characters. She is a French girl who lost her parents young and came to live with her cousins in England. She wanted to be an actress so acted in secret from the ton.
The book is fairly humorous and it was interesting to follow Madeline.
What I didn't like was the hero. He as ok. He kind of bugged me wi
Apr 19, 2015 Shen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Romance fans, Historical Romance fans
3 Stars

I wanted a historical romance and found this as a freebie on iTunes. I'm usually unimpressed by freebies, but this one was pretty good.

It tells the story of Lady Madeline Vaillant, a spinster, who has decided to have a little adventure by disguising herself as a widowed French actress to star in a production of Hamlet. If caught, Madeline would be disgraced and shunned by the Ton. Madeline meets Ferguson Avenel, the Duke of Rothwell. Ferguson has recently returned to London after being b
Judy Lavik
Apr 17, 2015 Judy Lavik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting storyline

I'm on the fence as to whether this is a 4- or 5-star book, so we'll split the difference and call it 4.5.

This is the first book of the series, and I believe it's also this author's first book. It has a much more professional polish to it than so many other e-books. Spelling and grammar is excellent, and author seems to have an understanding of the time period. Of course, the intimate moments are much more 21st century, but that's what most readers want.

Our heroine, Madelein
In general, this book was pretty good. Madaline is a spinster that has an alter ego as an actress. Ferguson has come back from Scotland to take over the Dukedom, which he doesn't want. He sees Madaline at a ball, and then as her alter ego, and is immediately attracted to her.

I liked: Ferguson knew right away that they were one in the same. It would have been just stupid if he didn't have enough sense to see through her costume. I liked that he declared his love early on. I liked the way he was w
Jan 06, 2015 Meneka rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hist-rom
I'll admit I'm a sucker for a freebie, so when a friend dropped this book into my lap.... yeah you guessed it. Hours of my life signed away the moment I passed the first chapter. Being labeled a romance forthright, some portions of the ending are inevitable, especially where the couple is concerned. But while I didn't hate anything about the couple in particular, it did frustrate me that by the time I closed the book, I was more curious to hear how the other character's stories turned out. Don't ...more
A surprisingly wonderful find! I picked this book up to read on a whim, not realizing that I had already marked one of the books in the series as a 'to read', and oh my goodness I LOVED this book! It has almost everything that you could want, secret identity's, a rakish Duke, scorned ex-lovers, family scandals, romance, and an author that keeps you hooked to the very end!

Lady Madeleine has a secret, for the last two weeks she has been preforming as the lead actress in a play. If discovered the s
Sep 03, 2014 Kayla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't really read a historical romance in a while and I begrudgingly confess that i miss it a lot more than i thought. First I was thrilled that this book took me about 4 hours to read - the length satisfied my unknown need. I have been reading a lot of shorter novels and sometimes just short stories which is fine but at the same time i have missed a lengthy book. This was a feminist novel in disguise. I thought it was a romance and believe me it was but it was also gun ho female equality. I ...more
May 20, 2014 Steph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm so happy to have found this author. Her first book was engaging enough to keep me reading...and to read the sequels. Sara's writing definitely improves, and I don't say that disparagingly. We all (usually) get better the more we do something. I'm thoroughly hooked on her books now.

The premise for this book was engaging, and the characters were likeable enough, although some more careful editing would have helped. I got tired of reading the duke described as having "autocratic tendencies". Se
I probably liked this more because I read that some reviewers felt there was too much sex and not enough plot. I disagree.

Lady Madeleine feels firmly on the shelf, sitting with the wallflowers at each ball, wearing her spinsters cap. But she has a secret, she is secretly acting at an obscure theatre in Seven Dials for two weeks.

Ferguson is quite frankly more difficult to pigeon-hole. A decade ago he engineered a disgrace so that his father would exile him to Scotland. Now his father has died, in
Love & Libraries
This is a perfectly enjoyable regency romance - just not particularly memorable. There's a lot that should make Madeleine memorable - she's living a secret life as an actress, she's half-French with her parents killed in something like the Terror, there's some kind of nightmare about fire that clearly had a big effect on her but is never explained - but she never really comes together as a full person, and so is difficult to call to mind. In fact, as is so often the case, both heroine and hero t ...more
Tam B.
Mar 14, 2014 Tam B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. I liked that our heroine wanted to act and found a way to do so and more over our hero supported her endeavours and recognised her talent. I liked at the heart of the book were friends who defied convention (and of course are likely fodder for future books).

Our hero was fairly typical in some ways. He'd closed himself off from family and London and relationships due to his father. He is incredibly reluctant to revisit the idea of being involved with people and places as he's
Kelly Snyder
I loved this book. I liked everything about it and did not want to put down. I can't wait to read the other books.
I quite liked the book and Ramsey's writing was captivating.

The love story between Fergueson and Madeleine was well constructed and I particularly liked that for once it was the man who was sure of his feelings and not fighting them and the woman needed more time.
I can't say much about the historical accuracy but even if it was incorrect I wouldn't mind, it all fit beautifully together.

My only criticism is that Madeleine's motives were unclear for too long. Why did she fight her feelings? What
Jul 26, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a good book! I have only read one other book by Sara Ramsey which was "Scotsmen Prefer Blondes" and I really liked that one too. It is so much fun to find a new author that writes historical's as well as Sara Ramsey does. I can't wait to read her next book "The Marquess Who Loved Me".
Angie ~aka Reading Machine~
Lady Madeleine Vaillant is an overlooked spinster by the ton but she is secretly adored by the mass in the theater in Seven Dials with no one the wiser~or so it appears. William "Ferguson" Avenel is notable rake and scoundrel of the ton. He cares nothing for his reputation in the ton but needs to marry off his twin sisters well so he can go back to Scotland. He's fascinated by the actress gracing the stage of his theater. When William asks Madeleine to be his twin sisters chaperone coming out. W ...more
This review is from my website,

Can I say how much I loved this book? Because I loved it bunches. I have no idea when I downloaded this e-book. I must have been when Pixel of Ink was running a freebie because it has been a while since I’ve bought a Regency Romance novel. I’m sad that it sat in my kindle for more than a year (probably) and my eyeballs didn’t get to read Ms. Ramsey’s words. I didn’t get to learn about Mad and Ferguson and their (amazing) families until now.

Meagan Catherine
Full review will be published on By the Book Reviews in March. Partial review below:

I loved everything about this book, from the setting to the characters to the plot! I love how Madeleine goes against what is expected, and even allowed for her, in order to fulfill her dreams. Ferguson left town to get away from his father, but he left a string of broken hearts behind him, one of which is determined to see him pay for what he did to her. When he finds out Madeleine's secret, he is determined to
Janis Lai
Apr 09, 2015 Janis Lai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a die-hard fan for Pride and Prejudice, I appreciated any Victorian-era romance novel. (Is that Victorian-era? I actually don't know..) By any means, this is not your classic upright romance, pretty sexual and fiery in certain scenes when it's called for.. However, I thought the era and customs of that time is pretty well-researched and the characters were all well-written and thought-out. The romance is definitely there, I particularly like how the author designed that Ferguson and Madeleine ...more
Sep 29, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Regency Period

This is the beginning of a great Regency Period series with a group of women who aren't content to sit doing needlework. Mad is secretly acting in the theater and taking the town by a storm. She meets Furgeson who is the Duke and has been in Scotland for a decade. He quickly figured out who she was and tried to keep her from ruin. There are some funny episodes and the schemes to keep her from being recognized and him from being accused of her murder when she stopped being the
S.R. Roddy
Mar 28, 2014 S.R. Roddy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this story. The passion and chemistry between the two main characters was hot. The author did a great job with the background and character build. I especially enjoy the way the author shows both sides to Madeleine’s personality. She has both fire, with a flare for dramatics and a quiet dignified nature. Two very different sides all wrapped up in one passionate woman.

The characters were likable for the most part. I disliked Madeleine’s cousin Amelia. I felt she was shallow and p
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Nook books: April 22, 2016 2 2 Apr 26, 2016 03:06AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 05, 2015 11:48AM  
  • Mine, All Mine
  • Her Wicked Ways (Secrets & Scandals #1)
  • Lost in Temptation (Regency Chase Family Series #1)
  • All I Want For Christmas is a Duke
  • Her Husband's Harlot (Mayhem in Mayfair, #1)
  • Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid (Kellington, #1)
  • Duke of Deception
  • The Marriage List
  • The Inconvenient Duchess (The Radwells #1)
  • Heart's Desire
  • Secrets of Midnight (The Man of My Dreams Series, #1)
  • Bite Me, Your Grace (Scandals with Bite, #1)
  • When You Give a Duke a Diamond (Jewels of the Ton, #1)
  • Unlaced
  • The Beauty Bride (Jewels of Kinfairlie, #1)
  • Ruined by a Rake (All's Fair in Love, #1)
  • Myriah Fire
  • One Naughty Night (The Scandalous St. Claires, #1)
Sara Ramsey writes fun, feisty Regency historical romances. She won the prestigious 2009 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award with her second book, Scotsmen Prefer Blondes. Her first book, Heiress Without A Cause, was a 2011 Golden Heart finalist.

Hopelessly uncool as a child, Sara has overcompensated by becoming obsessed with fashion, shoes, and #regencyworldproblems. She has great taste
More about Sara Ramsey...

Other Books in the Series

Muses of Mayfair (4 books)
  • Scotsmen Prefer Blondes (Muses of Mayfair, #2)
  • The Marquess Who Loved Me (Muses of Mayfair, #3)
  • The Earl Who Played With Fire (Muses of Mayfair, #4)

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