cover image A Lady's Lesson in Scandal

A Lady's Lesson in Scandal

Meredith Duran. Pocket Star, $7.99 mass market (368p) ISBN 978-1-451-60693-5

Duran (Wicked Becomes You) takes an unusually close look at poverty and class in this fairy tale Victorian romance. The rakish Simon St. Maur, earl of Rushden, was deliberately cut out of the previous earl's will. Factory worker Nell Whitby seeks out Rushden at her dying mother's command and learns that she's the long-lost heir to the Rushden fortune. The handsome new earl offers a stunning bargain: he will make her into a lady and help her claim her inheritance if she will share it with him as his wife. Well-developed lead characters and a perceptive portrayal of a poor woman's reaction to the lush lifestyle of the nobility highlight a top-notch romance undermined only by an implausible setup. Nell's strong personality and practical attitude make her more than a match for the cynical, arrogant Simon, and their erotic encounters neatly balance the humor of Nell's Pygmalionesque transformation. (July)