Saturday 20 January 2024

A Scandalous Match by Jane Dunn


‘Angelica had always known her lack of high birth, fortune or influence debarred her from being presented as an eligible young woman worthy of marriage. To cap it all, being an actress assured she was utterly beyond the pale of respectability.'

Nightly at the Covent Garden Theatre in London, an enchanting actress is wowing the crowds with her affecting portrayal of Ophelia. Preyed on by rakes and opportunistic young bucks, feted by dukes and earls, even the Prince Regent himself, Angelica Leigh is a sensation.

But in Regency England, beauty and talent are not enough to be considered marriage material, so when the eminently eligible Lord Charles Latimer sets his heart on Angelica, his uncle is sent to intervene.

As a highly respected, hard-working and wealthy lawmaker, The Honourable Ivor Asprey, is himself seen as desirable husband material, but widowed with an eleven-year-old daughter Elinor, he has forsaken all thoughts of romance. Lord Latimer’s mother, the Duchess of Arlington, despairs of her son, despite being reassured by Ivor that his infatuation with the actress will pass. But there is something about Angelica Leigh that demands attention, and even the austere and upstanding Mr Asprey isn’t immune to her charms.

Sunday Times bestselling author Jane Dunn brings the Regency period irresistibly to life. Perfect for fans of Jane Austen. Janice Hadlow, Gill Hornby, and anyone with a Bridgerton-shaped hole in their lives.

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A beautiful story, impossible to put down. A Scandalous Match blends the social and political history of Regency England with a riveting and thought-provoking romance between a member of parliament and an actress.  

There are plenty of characters in this book who delight and entertain. I couldn't help but adore Lord Latimer and Mr Locke as they both appeared very genuine in their friendship and admiration for Angelica. 

The theatre scenes were riotous and I could almost hear and feel the responses of the audience to Angelia's portrayal of Ophelia's death.

The slow burn enemies to friendship to lovers romance between Angelica and Ivor Asprey was fun to watch and a very charming read. Despite his protests to her suitability for his nephew he couldn't help but come to her aid whenever she was in trouble. He is kind and has a social conscience. Child labour reform is at the heart of his parliamentary endeavours and he is careful with his reputation to prevent opposition from latching on to anything scandalous that might derail his efforts. He didn't anticipate an emotional attachment to Angelica to put a spanner in the works.

There is a nice amount of humour in the story as Ivor's daughter, Elinor also develops a fondness for Angelica and is determined to play matchmaker. She is a lovely and endearing child and I couldn't help but want this trio to become a little family.

I enjoyed every minute of this book. It has depth, emotional charge, suspense and drama in addition to being a sparkling romance.

Author Bio 

Jane Dunn is an historian and biographer and the author of seven acclaimed biographies, including Daphne du Maurier and her Sisters and the Sunday Times and NYT bestseller, Elizabeth & Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens. She comes to Boldwood with her first fiction outing – a trilogy of novels set in the Regency period, the first of which, The Marriage Season, is to be published in January 2023. She lives in Berkshire with her husband, the linguist Nicholas Ostler.

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