Title: A Season of Ruin
Author: Anna Bradley
Series: Sutherland Scandals #2
Genre: Regency Romance
Available: 6th Sept (UK)
Anna Bradley, author of A Wicked Way to Win an Earl, continues her Sutherland Scandals series with a tantalizing new Regency romance filled with opulence, elegance, and forbidden desire…
Lily Somerset’s plan for the London season is simple: courtship, marriage to a respectable gentleman, then the comfortable existence of a proper Lady. That is, until one tiny misstep leaves Lily on the edge of social ruin, forcing her to depend on a wicked rogue to save her reputation.
Robyn Sutherland doesn’t save reputations-he sullies them. He’d rather be drawn and quartered than find himself spending the season as Lily’s escort. But he has no choice but to stay until her tattered standing is mended.
What begins as a ruse to deceive London soon flames into an uncontrollable passion. Robyn calls to the wild spirit that lurks beneath Lily’s prim exterior, and Lily awakens the hero’s heart within Robyn. But can these unlikely lovers trust themselves enough to let desire overrule reason?
Source: ARC from Piatkus via NetGalley
Take one proper, slightly rigid young woman determined to make a respectable match, add one ne’er do well, feckless young man who cares for nothing but his own entertainment, throw in a few scandals and a London season full of people fascinated by gossip and you end up with this thoroughly enjoyable tale of scandal, redemption, reawakening and love.
But, boy, does Robyn have a lot of work to do first. He starts off this book as a hedonistic younger brother, selfish and careless, who almost seems to enjoy breaking his promises and disappointing his family. He has reasons, of course, and underlying issues (because who doesn’t these days?) and he’s never actively malicious, but his selfish and almost naive lack of awareness about how a scandal might effect Lily differently to how it lands on him, make for a very long road to redemption.
I wasn’t particularly charmed by Robyn at first, I will admit. But at least he knows he’s far from perfect. He does also show glimmers of promise, even right at the start, which prevented me from ever giving up on him. In fact, by the end, I did like him a lot – even if his occasional stubborn streak made me roll my eyes.
As for Lily, well, she’s so tightly bound up in her grief and determination not to be hurt, that she’s not instantly likeable. However, she has humour and passion and loves her family, even if she does her best to hide all of them because she believes it’s for the best. Of course when Robyn starts making a mess of everything, I was instantly on her side. The way she stoically tries to carry on as he runs roughshod over her attempts to salvage her reputation was pretty heroic in my eyes. The only good thing about any of it, from the romance point of view, is that Robyn certainly knows how to get a reaction out of her.
Plotwise, this is pretty straightforward and focuses completely on these two. I will admit I’m not completely convinced by the turn around in Robyn’s affections, or how easily he accepts that it’s love (when apparently he’s only ever been briefly infatuated before). Or the way Lily manages to carry on in society despite the scandals. However, I mostly found this an easy, enjoyable read that carries off its Regency setting in fine style (for the most part).
This is my read from this author, but I doubt it’ll be my last – although, I do hope that by the time Robyn’s sisters get their own stories, someone will have sorted out the missing courtesy titles. They’re daughters of an earl – they should be ladies!
A Season of Ruin is out September 6th!
Visit Anna Bradley for more details.