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Dare to Defy #2

Summer of Scandal

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An American heiress and an English earl fight against the conventions of society—and their attraction to each other—in the second book in the Dary to Defy series by USA Today bestselling author Syrie James.

Madeleine Atherton is no typical American heiress, sent to England to marry an English lord. A brilliant college graduate who secretly dreams of becoming a published author, she wants to marry for love. After receiving a proposal from a future duke, Madeleine flees the London Season for Cornwall to seek her sister’s advice, never expecting her decision to be complicated by a charming, handsome earl she’s certain she dislikes—even though his every touch sets her blood on fire.

Charles Grayson, the Earl of Saunders, has secrets and ambitions of his own. Although under pressure from his mother and gravely ill father to marry his cousin, Charles cannot find the words to propose. But this fascinating American visitor does not figure into his plans, either.

Thrown together unexpectedly at Trevelyan Manor, Madeleine and Charles struggle to rise above their intense attraction. But as things heat up between them over a summer that becomes increasingly scandalous, Madeleine and Charles will both be forced to make a difficult choice. Can two dreamers dare to defy convention and find their own happily ever after?

416 pages, ebook

First published September 11, 2018

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About the author

Syrie James

16 books937 followers
Syrie James is the USA TODAY and Amazon bestselling author of thirteen novels of historical, contemporary, and young adult fiction and romance, which have been published in 21 languages.

Los Angeles Magazine dubbed Syrie the “queen of nineteenth century re-imaginings.” Syrie’s novel “The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen” sold at auction to HarperCollins in a bidding war and became an international bestseller. Her passion for love stories and the paranormal led to her critically acclaimed and award-winning novels “Dracula, My Love,” “Nocturne,” and the popular YA series “Forbidden.” Her love of English historical romance led to her Amazon bestselling Dare to Defy series.

Syrie’s books have won numerous accolades and awards, including the national Audiobook Audie Award for Romance, and the Great Group Read by the Women’s National Book Association (“The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte”); Best New Fiction by Regency World Magazine ( “The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen”); Barnes and Noble’s Romantic Read of the Week and Bookbub’s Best Snowbound Romance (“Nocturne”). Her novels have received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, hit many Best of the Year lists, and been designated as Library Journal Editor’s Picks of the Year.

Syrie is also an award-winning screenwriter and WGA member who has sold or optioned numerous scripts to film and television. Syrie's successful adaptations of books to screen include the movie based on Danielle Steele’s bestseller “Once in a Lifetime."

In demand as a speaker across the U.S., Syrie is also a playwright whose work has been produced in New York City, California, and Canada.

Find Syrie at:
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Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews
Profile Image for Meredith (Austenesque Reviews).
939 reviews315 followers
October 20, 2018
Passion Verses Duty

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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.

Austenesque Reviews
Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books346 followers
September 16, 2018
An American heiress who is more than she seems escapes the demands of the London season into Cornwall with her sister to consider a worthy proposal, but she encounters a scandalous earl instead. I was ready to be delighted by this slow burn Victorian Age romance with an unconventional romance pair.

Summer of Scandal is book two in the Dare to Defy series. I didn't read book one, but instead jumped in here. I had no trouble, but this is a consecutive companion story with Madeleine's sister Alexandra as the heroine of book one, Runaway Heiress, and the family situation carrying through each book.

As I said earlier, this pair is unconventional. Madeleine is a college educated, secret authoress who has strong opinions about women's rights and equality while Charles is an earl who prefers his inventions and has a tarnished reputation that he uses as a buffer. Madeleine knows the story of a scandal from his early years and it makes for a rocky start between them. Then they are thrown together when she goes to Cornwall to visit her sister and do some thinking about the marriage proposal her mother is pressuring her to accept. They both have to consider whether doing their duty is as important as being true to self and following their hearts.

This was a book that paced slow and took its time getting through a friends to lovers slow burn romance that has a mild whiff of the forbidden and a love triangle since both consider themselves promised elsewhere. I enjoyed the story and was agonizing with this pair in the end especially when Charles' past made him hurt Maddie. It was tough watching them both strain against parent expectation and try to convince themselves that they couldn't be together when they were so right for each other. They had mutual respect, connection and understanding. They were attracted, but even more they were friends.

Now, I will say that this one did have dragging moments. There was a lot of scenes with the pair becoming friends and enjoying their activities singly, with each other, and in a the group. Not that I minded getting to know all the others with the sisters and friendships or minded the activities, but I did feel it stalled out a few times waiting for something to happen.

I had a shaky moment in the very beginning when I really thought the heroine and I were not going to get along. Maddie rushed in like a terrier with attacking Charles because he wasn't a raging feminist (nor was he even remotely a chauvinist) and he screwed up when he was young in an event that amounted to a scandal though all has long since been over and forgiven by those involved. But, she realized she was up on a high horse and he did apologize for offending her and say he messed up in his past. It took her a bit, but she simmered down and I could enjoy her pluckiness and the journey she took to knowing herself and her future.

The almost love triangle was not that big of a deal. It did play into the conflict, but it wasn't a true love triangle in that Charles was only considering Sophie out of duty and readers are able to see for a while the true lay of the land. Charles, like Maddie, had to decide whether he would stifle his own desires to marry where he feels love and dreams to invent helpful devices that will save lives for parent approval and expectation and whether he is truly beyond the past and can trust a woman with his heart.

It was a slow mover, but it did wind tight to a great crisis point that had me riveted and cheering them on. I enjoyed Charles and Maddie's story and I want to go back for Lexie and Thomas. If you enjoy Victorian era slow burn slightly spicy romance between an unique pair.

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Laurel.
Author 1 book339 followers
September 11, 2018
A slow-burning, page-turning romance with passionate rewards.

The beauty, power and drama of the windswept coast draw an English lord with a dubious reputation and an American heiress together in late Victorian Cornwall; but will his past, and her loyalties, keep them apart?

These seemingly insurmountable obstacles make for a page tuning story as guarded attraction turns to a passion that cannot remain unrequited. Will the couple dare to defy society and forge their own future together, or marry the two people whom their families are expecting them to?

Author Syrie James is a master of the “slow burn”, leaving readers dangling in anticipation for pages by feeding us bits of the backstory of the sullied hero and tempting us with the unblemished heroine’s inner thoughts and growing desires. Those who enjoyed the scenic beauty of the Cornish coastline in the hit television series Poldark and the historical drama of Downton Abbey take heed. Summer of Scandal will be pure torture if you need instant gratification – or a memorable reward if you seek a passionate denouement.

Laurel Ann - Austenprose.com
Profile Image for Sissy's Romance Book Review .
8,194 reviews16 followers
September 17, 2018
Summer of Scandal by Syrie James is book Two in A Dare to Defy series. This is the story of Madeleine Atherton and Charles Grayson, the Earl of Saunders. I have read the previous book, but feel you can make this a standalone book if you wish to do so.
Madeleine is a American heiress with a college education but her family wishes her to marry. Madeline goes forward to London where she gets a possible offer of marriage to Lord Philip Oakley, the Marquess of Oakley and the oldest son of the Duke of Courtenay. Madeleine wants to marry for love and she goes to visit her recently married sister but ends up meeting Charles who is friends with her sister's husband. Charles offers to take her their house but along the way bad weather has make it impossible so she agrees to go to his family home where she meets his parents, siblings and cousin Sophie. Charles's mom wants him to marry Sophie but he isn't so sure and with his father health being the bigger issue now. Madeleine and Charles start to have feeling for each other but Madeline likes Sophia and along with other things keeping the questioning how they feel.
Enjoyed this book.

Profile Image for Renae.
1,013 reviews282 followers
July 30, 2020
There is slow-burn romance, and then there’s no-burn romance. Guess which one Summer of Scandal is? In this second installment in a series about American heiresses taking Victorian England by storm, Syrie James tells a solid story that nevertheless promises to be...pretty forgettable. Honestly, this is a perfectly fine romance, but a slow, plodding pace in combination with mediocre characterization resulted in a story that was lacking in pizazz and/or warmth.

Maddie Atherton has a dowry of a million dollars and a marriage proposal from a future duke. But she’s determined to marry only for love, like her older sister. (See Runaway Heiress). Maddie travels to Cornwall to get her sister’s advice, but due to a storm and some other issues, ends up spending most of the summer visiting Trevelyan Manor and bumping into Charles, Earl of Saunders. The attraction between them is instant, but both are cautious to just jump into bed without thinking through the consequences. Plus, both of them have “understandings” with other eligible matches.

In writing the paragraph above, I’ve discovered that the major “problem” with this novel is that there’s not much of a conflict. And what conflict there is, I didn’t believe in. James doesn’t give readers a plausible reason why Maddie and Charles can’t be together. There’s some nonsense about “duty” and blah blah blah, but honestly? There are no obstacles. Both are upper-class, neither are actually engaged, and both are supported by, if not their parents, then at least by their siblings. Halfway into A Summer of Scandal, and you have to stop and think: why is this taking so long?

And take a long time it does. Summer of Scandal is actually a regular-length romance novel, but it felt much longer. There’s just a lot of the protagonists sitting around and spending time with each other, without acting on their potential feelings. Neither is there angst, which is maybe what would be typical in a “forbidden love” storyline. So, really there’s just a void where two people think maybe they love each other but for ~reasons~ don’t feel comfortable on pursuing those feelings. That might be realistic, but is it interesting enough to read 400 pages of? Nope.

I guess I was supposed to be interested by the fact that the main characters were both “unconventional” in that they liked to pursue declassé passions: writing novels for Maddie and inventing useful gadgets for Charles. Instead I just felt like the sections of the book depicting their hobbies were just filler and nonessential to the overarching will-they-won’t-they of the main plotline. In my opinion.

My favorite part of the book, however, was the friendship Maddie forms with Sophie, who’s Charles’ cousin and potentially his fiancée. The two women form a close bond and come to be very close friends—which is of course complicated by the fact that they’re in love with the same man. I have to say that I really appreciate books that focus on female friendships, and I was so glad James spent the time developing that aspect of the story.

Aside from that one thing? It’s a pretty by-the-book romance. Eventually Charles kisses Maddie and their passion explodes like fireworks (or what have you). They can’t keep away from each other no matter how hard they try, and finally they admit their feelings. Then there is a Misunderstanding and Charles has to run and fix it before Maddie is lost to him forever. They get married, etc. Nothing more exciting than that, I promise.

Overall? Summer of Scandal was nothing to write home about. It’s a simple story that’s lacking in emotional oomph. There was a lack of urgency in the author’s storytelling, and the characters failed to capture my attention. This book is well-written, but otherwise far from excellent.

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Profile Image for Connie.
2,051 reviews62 followers
September 15, 2018
Bolton, Cornwall England - 1889

Madeleine Atherton, age 24, has just arrived via train and is waiting for her sister, Alexandra to meet her. The two young women and their sister are the daughters of a very wealthy American. Their parents expect them to make good marriages, hopefully, to titled men. Madeleine and her sisters are college educated young women which is unusual for the time period.

Alexandra has married Thomas Carlyle, the seventh Earl of Longford, a man she truly loves. They are expecting their first child in a couple of months. Madeleine wants to find a husband she can also love so she is visiting Alexandra while she considers whether she should accept the marriage proposal of Lord Philip Oakley, the Marquess of Oakley and eldest son of the Duke of Courtenay.

Also exiting the train is Charles Grayson, the Earl of Saunders, age 29, and best friend to Alexandra’s husband. When he sees Madeleine, he informs her that her sister’s family has gone to Bath for two weeks as her husband wants her to takes the waters. So, Charles offers to take her to Polperron House, Alexandra’s home. He has just returned home to Trevelyan Manor as his father his ill. The two homes are not far from one another. One day, Charles will inherit the title of Marquess of Trevelyan.

On the ride to her sister’s home, Charles and Madeleine enjoy a nice discussion. But when severe rains start and a road is blocked, Madeleine agrees to go to Trevelyan Manor and stay with his family until the roads clear.

Charles’s family welcomes Madeleine making her feel at home. His mother is quite worried about her husband and the doctor is also puzzled about his illness. Also at the home is Charles’s cousin, the lovely Sophie, to whom Charles is betrothed which has always been his mother’s wish. Charles also has two younger sisters.

Madeleine realizes her attraction to Charles and senses he feels the same. But she likes Sophie and refuses to give into her attraction and hurt the young woman. What can they do?

This is a very nice romance that builds slowly keeping the reader’s interest. There are some roadblocks along the way but Madeleine does charm Charles’s family and learns the real meaning of love. I really enjoyed this book and will be looking for more books by this author.

Copy provided by Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Profile Image for Kari.
3,669 reviews87 followers
September 17, 2018
I have been wanting to read a historical romance for a while. I'm happy to say Summer of Scandal fulfilled that craving. This is the second book in the Dare to Defy series involving the Atherton sisters. They are American heiresses visiting England to each find a titled match. In this one, Madeleine does not want to accept a proposal from a man she doesn't love. She flees to visit her sister to think about her next step. Bad weather causes her to spend time at Charles's estate. Even though he is unofficially promised to another, their chemistry can't be denied.

This was an enjoyable read. Their romance was a very slow burn. At times, it was a bit too slow, but once they finally kissed, the story took off from there. I liked these two together. Madeleine was head strong and wasn't willing to settle for anything less than she deserved. I admired Charles's drive to invent things to help the people on his estate. These two were perfectly matched. The book works well as a stand alone and is one I definitely recommend.
Profile Image for Christina.
Author 13 books312 followers
January 31, 2020
Likable, thoughtful characters. Was not too fond of some of the love scene descriptions or how the Earl of Saunders is always thinking of his sexual attraction to our heiress Madeline Atherton...but I do like that they end up falling for each other because of their compatibility and their minds despite despairing over previous attachments and parental expectations. There is definitely a slow build to the romance but all the elements are there —tension, forbidden love—and “Summer of Scandal” makes for a good summer read.
Profile Image for Robin Loves Reading.
2,239 reviews394 followers
September 20, 2018
Please see all of my reviews on my blog at www.robinlovesreading.blogspot.com.

Lady Madeleine Atherton is an American heiress living in London. It is 1889, and Madeleine, a recent graduate of Vassar college, she is anything but ordinary - different from most women of her age and station. Aside from being so well educated, Madeleine aspires to become a published author. She has been proposed to by a future duke, but she told him she needed time to think. His name is Lord Oakley and he sets about on a three-month tour of the confident, giving Madeleine all of the time she needs to accept his proposal.

Charles Grayson is the Earl of Saunders, and like Madeleine, has aspirations of his own. These do not fit his station in life, but he has unique gifts and does not want to give up his dreams. Charles has pretty much been destined to marry Sophie, his cousin, ever since the two were children. Charles is under a lot of pressure right now. His father is gravely ill, and one of the things his father is demanding is that Charles propose to Sophie, once and for all.

Due to weather conditions, Madeleine spends some time at Charles family home. Maddie must think about her answer to Lord Oakley and Charles must think about his decision regarding Sophie. Charles and Madeleine are truly drawn to one another, despite their future obligations. To make matters even more difficult, Sophie is also visiting at Charles home. Can Charles make the offer to Sophie despite the fact that his heart is not with it?

Charles and Madeleine are nothing less than honorable. The attraction they share is sizzling, but they both are determined to put their growing feelings for one another aside in order to do the right thing. Summer of Scandal is the second in the Dare to Defy series. How appropriate, as the question is whether or not these two will defy what is expected and follow their hearts.

I so loved this book! It worked on so many levels. First of all, how would the fact that these two were unconventional in their interests affect their future partners? Then the fact that Charles and Sophie are supposed to wed is called into question because of the feelings he has for Madeleine. It should be noted that the future of Charles and Sophie was borne of duty, not feelings. Another thing, the two women become friends. I couldn't imagine how things could possibly work out for Charles and Madeleine without Sophie being hurt. I really paid attention because I truly came to care for Sophie.

Syrie James has written a truly effective novel. At times things did move a bit slow, but I loved it nonetheless. It was a very sweet romance that seemed hopeless, and thus I was truly drawn into the story. It was also a delight to see such an intelligent woman during that time in history. I also loved how much respect Charles and Madeleine had for each other's endeavors. This was a truly touching portion of the story. As mentioned this is the second in the series. I had not read book one, yet I had no problem reading this much as a standalone. However, I do look forward to reading the other books as they are released.

Many thanks to Avon Impulse and to Pure Textuality PR for this ARC to review in exchange for an honest opinion.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,503 reviews18 followers
November 21, 2018
I have greatly enjoyed Syrie James’s historical fiction novels in the past and I loved her foray into romance, Runaway Heiress this summer. I was delighted to be able to review Summer of Scandal, the follow up to Runaway Heiress and second novel in the Dare to Defy Series.

Madeleine Atherton’s mother has one goal in mind, to marry her three wealthy American daughters off to English nobility. After her first daughter’s successful marriage, she is working on getting her second daughter, Madeleine married. Madeleine has received a proposal from an heir to a Dukedom, and her mother can’t be more thrilled. Madeleine finds herself unable to give a positive answer and heads to Cornwall to visit her sister. Unfortunately, her sister is out of town, but she meets an acquaintance Charles Grayson, the Earl of Saunders, on the train. Charles is a friend of her brother-in-law. He offers to let Madeleine stay with his family at Trevelyan Manor until her sister’s return.

Madeleine has a good time visiting Trevelyan Manor and the Grayson family. She especially gets along with Sophie, the cousin of Charles whom the entire family expects him to marry. Madeleine is a college educated woman who dreams of being an author. She is working on her novel while at Trevelyan Manor. Charles has a secret of his own in that he loves to work on inventions, much to his father’s dismay. The two become friends and soon can’t deny an attraction between them, but they both don’t want to hurt Sophie. Will true love prevail?

I loved how Madeleine and Charles both question their destiny. As part of American and English elite respectively, they are expected not to work outside of their duties, but they both have dreams of doing something else. They were equally matched that way. Their romance built slow but was a good one.

I can’t wait to meet the third Atherton sister, Kathryn in the final novel in this series which is due to be released next summer.

Overall, Summer of Scandal is a Victorian Romance with great characters set during the American invasion of heiresses seeking to secure an English title. It was a good read.

Book Source: Review Copy from author Syrie James and HarperCollins Publishers

This review was first published on my blog at: https://lauragerold.blogspot.com/2018...
Profile Image for Candy.
261 reviews
December 17, 2018
'Summer of Scandal' is a delightful story set in 1889, England. This stand-alone novel is the second in the Dare to Defy series focusing on Madeleine Atherton, the second daughter of a wealthy American family. I didn’t read the first book but had no problem picking this one up.

After receiving a proposal of marriage from Lord Oakley, Madeleine impulsively takes the train from London to Cornwall to discuss the matter with her sister, Alex. Only to find Alex has gone to Bath, and no one is at the station to greet her. Lord Saunders, whom Maddie has been avoiding all season, to the rescue! He offers to take her to her sister's estate to wait for her return. But a storm has washed out the road, and she has no other choice but to go to his family estate.

The summer sizzles when Maddie finds herself alone with Lord Saunders more than once, but nothing can come of it because he is bound by a promise he made to his parents to marry his cousin, Sophia. Besides Maddie would be crazy not to accept Lord Oakley’s proposal of marriage, right?! She would be a duchess for heaven's sake!

I love that both Maddie and Lord Saunders are creative and innovative beings. Maddie wants to be an author and is writing a novel. Lord Saunders is an inventor and artisan. Both hide their talents because high society would frown upon it. It’s just not done! That would be too much like being in trade, and their families would never allow that!

Madeleine is such a wonderful character! She is smart (a college graduate, not something many women of the time did), independent, and kind. Unconventional in not only her writing but likes to discuss new ideas and explore other options, and she's not afraid to share her opinions.

Maddie also formed a dear friendship with Sophia. Not wanting to hurt Sophia, Maddie tries to steer clear of Lord Saunders, especially since every time they are alone together there seems to be kissing involved!

As much as I loved both Madeleine and Lord Saunders I was disappointed by some of their actions.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed 'Summer of Scandal'! It was a fun read!

Note: I would recommend this for mature readers.

Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of the book from the publisher for my honest review.
Profile Image for Becky.
3,059 reviews124 followers
September 22, 2018
Reviewed on my blog, Becky on Books, on 9/22/18.

A sweet romance--really more sweet than scandalous, because I suppose the fact that both the hero and heroine have passions (hobbies) that their parents and society don't approve of can add to the scandal, but they really only cause an issue within their families, so...not super scandalous.

Still, though--it's a sweet story with some steamy bits. Charles and Maddie need to decide if they are going to follow their hearts or bend to the will of their parents, both with their romantic futures and with their vocational calling. There's a bit of a side story with the friendship that Maddie develops with Charles' cousin/presumed fiancee that is alternately quite nice and very uncomfortable--that whole both-in-love-with-the-same-guy-though-only-one-of-them-knows-it bit--and the relationship between Maddie and her sister (whose book-- Runaway Heiress --I have on my TBR now) was lovely.

One more sister left! I quite liked Ms. James' writing style, so I am very much looking forward to reading it :)

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Profile Image for Courtney.
2,600 reviews7 followers
February 8, 2019
Review originally posted here: https://courtneyreadsromancesite.word...

4.5 stars. Summer of Scandal is another sweet historical romance from Syrie James. I was once again drawn to her well-drawn, sympathetic characters, with this one focusing on defying convention as a major part of both the hero and heroine’s characters.

While the bluestocking heroine finding a hero who supports her intellectual dreams is a somewhat frequent trope in historical romance, I love the way it was done here, with Maddie being equally supportive of Charles’ forbidden pursuit as an inventor. And while the crisis of the book does boil down to a variation of one of my least favorite tropes (what I term, for lack of one already, the post-coital misunderstanding), I did admire that Charles did try to be a good and honorable person, meaning that his grand gesture felt sincere in spite of his momentary pigheadness.

I love how James also manages to capture just the right amount of more “traditional” Victorian sensibilities and more modern, forward-thinking ones in both Maddie and Charles, so it does feel very much reflective of the rivaling ideals of the late Victorian era politically and socially.

I very much enjoyed this book, as it was very much a slow burn where I could enjoy the fall into love as they both question whether duty trumps love. I would recommend this to other fans of sweet historical romances.
Profile Image for Cara.
850 reviews9 followers
September 14, 2018
I wasn't sure I was going to like Summer of Scandal, I had never read the author before and although they have been becoming more popular, I haven't read many historical romances in the Victorian era. But Summer of Scandal is set in one of my favorite places in the world...Cornwall, so I knew I would never forgive myself if I didn't read it.

The story is based around American Heiress Madeline Atherton and Charles Greyson, the Earl of Saunders; who are two polar opposites; Charles is British, aristocratic and has a "scandalous" past and Madeline is not only college educated, and an aspiring novelist, but she is also the daughter of an overbearing social-climbing mother. Upon fleeing London to get away from her mother who was pressurizing her to agree to a marriage proposal, so she fled to Cornwall to be with her sister, when she arrives, she not only finds out that her sister had gone to bath, but that the man she disliked by reputation was on the same train, and comes to her "rescue".

And with that, we begin a story like I have never read before, but thoroughly enjoyed. The story was absolutely beautifully written and the plot magical. I have to say the story was truly inspired and the author made me think differently about things in a different way when it comes to the Victorian era of historical romance

I give Summer of Scandal 5 stars.
Profile Image for Scarlett Ian.
342 reviews4 followers
September 29, 2018
Madeleine desires to be and do so much, but her mother is only concerned with her making an advantageous marriage. She has gone to college, she is writing a book, and when she gets an offer of marriage she flees to her sister’s house. However, her sister isn’t home and now she’s stranded at the train station. Enter Lord Saunders (aka Charles Grayson). Charles has been drawn to Madeleine since the day he saw her, but he has been told since birth that he would marry someone else. Neither of them can deny the strong connection between them - whether it is wanted or not.

I hadn’t read anything by this author before but I do love a good historical romance. This book was set in 1889 so it was turn of the century. I think the author did a good job with making sure the technology of the time was correct. I really enjoyed the characters - including the main Hero and heroine, & the surrounding family - they all added to the book. I am very interested in the next book this author releases which will feature Madeleine’s sister (there is a small teaser excerpt at the end of this book). Overall this was a fun read; I enjoyed it and would recommend it to all my friends who are historical fiction fans (and don’t mind some steamy romance added in).

**4 Stars - I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader copy of this book.
October 28, 2018
Madeleine is escaping "The Season" to think about a proposal she's unsure she wants to accept. Her mother is trying to force her to accept. The mother drove me nuts in Runaway Heiress and she's still driving me nuts. Charles is known for his betrayal in running off with his friend's fiance years ago but he's more than that and people don't know the whole story. As soon as Charles sees Madeleine he's drawn to her but she just seems not to like him. As the 2 are thrown together constantly their fondness for each other grows and their attraction is undeniable. Both have potential matches in their lives which throws a kink into things for them both. In addition Charles can't seem to let go of his past.
If you enjoy a historical romance where happenstance and fate seem throw an intelligent and well educated young lady and a handsome rake looking for redemption together I recommend checking out Summer of Scandal.
Profile Image for Lori D.
3,732 reviews93 followers
September 16, 2018
1889 Bolton Cornwall, England. Madeleine Atherton has arrived in England to hopefully find a peer to marry. Daughter of a wealthy American, she wants to marry for love, just as her sister Alexandra. Paired up with a future duke, she feels she needs to spend time with her sister to make sure she will make the right decision. Well, fate intervenes and she meets Charles Grayson as she gets off the train and finds her sister and her husband have gone to bath. What to do? She ends up with Charles who takes her to his home.
This is the story of a very smart and educated American and an English Lord who are mismatched as far as status. Their attraction grows and they try to fight the obstacles in their way.
This is the first book I have read by this author and It definitely will not be my last. Her beautiful prose that describes the beauty of Cornwall and her in depth characters pull you through the pages. Can these two ever be together? What of the the cousin that Charles is already betrothed ?
Do not miss the wonderfully written tale of two people who defeat all odds to be together.
Profile Image for vvb.
557 reviews14 followers
September 14, 2018
Although second in the series, this works well enough as a standalone. But it is an extra treat when characters from the first book make appearances.

Loved the friendship to love transformation with this couple. Lots of chatting, sharing and stolen kisses to move this along.

Liked learning about what the two characters face when their expected paths "dare to defy".
Profile Image for RivkaBelle.
901 reviews
March 23, 2019
Fun, predictable. A more... scandalous... twist on the Gilded Age American heiress husband hunting stories I’ve been enjoying so much, haha. Maddie is a spunky and fun character, and watching her challenge and win the admiration of the more traditional Graysons was a lot of fun.
Profile Image for Haley.
774 reviews68 followers
October 21, 2018
Another winner from Avon. Two creative society members of the Ton, both with families who'd rather they give up their pursuits for traditional marriages. Thankfully they find each other.
Profile Image for Niki (mustreadalltheromance).
1,168 reviews88 followers
March 5, 2021
This story is high on angst and low on action, and parts of it dragged on a bit for me, but overall I enjoyed it. Our hero and heroine must decide what is most important to them: doing their perceived duty as is expected of them, or being true to their own wants and desires at the risk of disappointing their families. We had to go through lots of description of the summer in which not a whole lot happens, but on the other hand, it was nice to watch couples fall in love and develop a relationship, rather than insta-love or insta-lust. I would recommend this book.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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