Sebastian Malheur has been scandalising polite society for years with his scientific lectures on the passing on of genetic traits, to the point where riots are now likely to break out when he presents any new findings. The truth, however, is that the discoveries he presents as his own, are actually those of his best friend, Violet Waterfield, the widowed Countess of Cambury. Violet is as proper and respectable as Sebastian is scandalous and reviled. But now Sebastian refuses to be Violet’s decoy any longer.
Violet’s marriage was not a happy one, and she sought refuge in her scientific discoveries. The daughter of a woman who wrote the ultimate guide to proper ladies’ behaviour, Violet is all that is respectable, decorous and decent. Yet Violet and her sister learned early, after their father committed suicide, that there were unwritten shadow rules as well as the written official rules, and most of them amounted to a lady doing anything in her power to keep scandal from her family’s door, using any method at her disposal. If the truth were to come out, that the shocking discoveries that Sebastian has been presenting, were actually all the work of a woman, the scandal would be immense and instantaneous. More on my blog.
Rating: 3.5 stars
This is the second full novel in the series of The Brothers Sinister. While the book works as a stand alone, it probably works even better if you’ve at least read The Governess Affair (a novella about the hero’s parents).
Jane Fairfield is loud, and rude and dresses atrociously. She is also an heiress with one hundred thousand pounds, desperately trying to scare off any and all who might offer for her. She is also the product of her mother’s affair, and her younger sister’s uncle (and legal guardian) won’t let her forget it for a second. He wants her married off as soon as possible, but Jane can’t leave her sister, who has an unspecified medical condition (probably a mild form of epilepsy) which means said uncle keeps inviting a long line of unscrupulous medical “experts” to try all manner of horrors in the name of science, trying to cure her. She needs to scare away men, not befriend them.
Oliver Marshall is the illegitimate son of the former Duke of Clairmont, and half-brother of the current one (the hero in The Duchess War). He wants to go into politics, representing the common people and due to his background has to do absolutely everything right. He needs powerful allies, and can’t set a foot wrong. While he seethes inside to have to curry favour from the same spoiled nobles who tormented him at Eton and Cambridge, he doesn’t have a choice if he wants to win his seat in the House of Commons. Befriending the biggest social disgrace of Cambridge society certainly is not going to do his future career any good.
Read why I couldn’t rate this book higher – on my blog.