Title: The Mistake
Author: Lily Maxton
Series: Sisters of Scandal #4
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: Short novel
Childhood love never disappears…
Infamous courtesan Julia Forsythe is the former mistress of a ruthless marquess. She’s also expecting his child. But while she longs to flee from his cold clutches, the welfare of her unborn babe prevents it. Now she must find a way to remain a “mistress” in name, if not in deed. And her plans are only complicated by a growing affection for the estate’s head gardener…
Fifteen years ago, Adam Radcliff once shared a close friendship with Julia. Now they stand worlds apart in both lives and statuses, sharing only the memory of that old friendship. But even as Julia slips out of the marquess’s lascivious clutches, she finds herself seeking the pleasure of Adam’s company. Now Adam is falling more deeply for Julia, even knowing that wanting another man’s mistress will only bring ruin upon them both…
Source: Review copy from Entangled: Scandalous via NetGalley
There were a few things that stopped me from enjoying this novel. Firstly, I read the next book in the series (The Improper Bride) before this one. Since the hero of that one, Lord Riverton, is actually the bad guy in this, I struggled to match up the cold, ruthless bastard who has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever, with the man in that book.
Secondly, and most importantly, I found it really hard to believe that Julia would have ended up in this situation. The idea of a mistress with fifteen years of experience becoming accidentally pregnant was a touch unbelievable for me – especially considering Riverton is the last man she would want to have a child with (which made me think that she could easily have taken care of the matter without having to go through any of those rules). Regardless of all of that, I couldn’t see how she ended up in Riverton’s protection in the first place. He supposedly charmed her at first (of which we have no evidence whatsoever) before treating her like a possession – like most men and their mistresses. Julia has had a handful of protectors before Riverton, all of whom she actually liked, so clearly she was good at picking them. What went wrong with Riverton then? Surely if he’s that awful, other mistresses would have spoken of it. It’s not as though Julia is mercenary enough to pick him regardless of rumours. So I struggled to believe any of the set up, especially as the story starts with her avoiding Riverton, so we don’t ever see him being nice to her.
Oh, and the idea of him sending her to his estate to get better really doesn’t fit in with him at all. That implies a level of care that Riverton clearly doesn’t feel for her or their unborn child. Wouldn’t he have just left her alone for a week or two before returning? Of course that would have prevented Julia and Adam meeting again, but still, it was so unlikely that my sceptic goggles constantly fogged up the view.
I was also left wondering just how long Julia and Riverton had been together, and how pregnant she was. At no point throughout this book does she show any symptoms of pregnancy, so I assume she’s not too far along – in which case how does she even know? She’s certainly not expecting to fall pregnant, after fifteen years of being okay, so how does she figure it out so quickly?
There was so much about this book that didn’t add up for me that it prevented me from enjoying any of it. Add in the fact that I didn’t like Julia either – she’s pretty selfish and the way she treats Adam is terrible – and I could barely believe that this book was part of the same series, let alone written by the same person, as the other Sisters of Scandal books. Those stories are light, quick and fun, this one was drawn out, far-fetched and slow-moving. The way Julia shows no care for Adam’s emotions, despite several warnings from others, echoes Riverton’s treatment of her – with only an attempted assault from her, with an actual assault from Riverton. (I am so glad I read The Improper Bride first, else I would never have been able to believe in Henry as a romantic hero.)
I actually quite liked Adam, once he got over his slut-shaming judgements that were all wrapped up in his rejected teenage heart. I don’t think Julia handled their first parting well, though I fully understood why she left, and I liked that Adam gradually got over her choice as well. I couldn’t quite see the good things he saw in her, but the way he treats her and tries to protect her is sweet. But the romance between them is really tepid. There’s very little chemistry and any action happens very late on – by which time I just wanted the book to finish.
It’s safe to say this one didn’t work for me. I didn’t like Julia and I couldn’t buy into the plot, and there was nothing else in the book that pulled me in strongly enough to get over that. It’s a shame, because I’ve loved the rest of the series. I guess this is just the blip that makes me appreciate the others even more.
The Mistake is Out Now.
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