cover image A Good Debutante’s Guide to Ruin

A Good Debutante’s Guide to Ruin

Sophie Jordan. Avon, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-222250-3

Jordan (How to Lose a Bride in One Night) tackles the discomfiting topic of step-sibling romance in this series launch. Rosalie Hughes was raised with Declan until his father kicked him out at age 14. Now he’s the eighth Duke of Banbury, and Rosalie is the one who’s been cast off (by her widowed mother). Declan reluctantly accepts responsibility for Rosalie, outfitting her with a wardrobe, dowry, and chaperons, but he intends to marry her off ASAP. Rosalie, of course, wants more than the first illustrious name who comes calling, and is willing to be outrageous to get her way. There’s little feel for Regency period details or mores, and even less nuance—Declan’s stepmother is named Melisande, for those who need extra help identifying the villain. Even though it’s not a keeper, the story has enough verve and sizzle for a reasonably entertaining afternoon at the beach. Agent: Maura Kye-Casella, Don Congdon Associates. (Aug.)