Just the plot angle alone – an impoverished Earl disguises himself as a Maths teacher to investigate the principal of a charity school, the supposedly disgraced Lady Julia and an unwed mum, whom he suspects is the author of gossip paper The Rogue Report – was enough to entice me to read on. Plenty of room for development, don’t you think?
Jack Mansfield is such an adorable rogue with hidden depths of kindness and a wicked sense of humour you can’t help but be charmed by him. Lady Julia, the heroine, is delightfully evasive of her feelings for him, and secretive about her past that unearthing it, with the hero, was a treat too. Even though it reeks too much of sentimentality and (slightly) silly sacrificial penance borne out of a misguided sense of guilt.
Apart from that, this book scores with strong characters, witty repartee, a pretty steamy seduction scene and a satisfying ending. The pace of the story was just right, and the author did a fantastic job building up the romantic tension between the two leads to a real sizzle, which made this wickedly clever romance an irresistibly good read.
I’m always gratified to read a great book by newly discovered authors. It invariably encourages me to read her other works. Ms Smith is no exception. Although reluctant to return this to the book rental store, I’m already planning to hunt down some of her backlist, particularly The Duchess Diaries and Countess Confidential.