Scarlett Wynn’s tragic childhood taught her that life can be cruel to women with little power. So when a local seamstress disappears, Scarlett vows to find out why. Armed with a weapon and her courage, Scarlett scours London for clues—and crosses the unlikely path of Ambrose Cross, the Duke of Aylesford, at an unlikely place: an upscale brothel. The Duke is trying to solve a mystery of his own, and Scarlett is sure they can help each other—if she can resist the attraction that draws them together . . .
As Duke of Aylesford, Ambrose is duty-bound to protect his family name from scandal no matter the cost. But Scarlett’s fearless spirit forces him to look beyond his world of privilege. Scarlett is as intoxicating as she is dangerous, igniting a fire in him like no other. But when the pair learn both mysteries they’re trying to solve are tied to a string of missing women, the tangled scheme they uncover may put their lives, and their growing love, in mortal danger—and lead them to search their hearts like never before . . .
Titles in The Maidens of Mayhem include – Duchess If You Dare –
Title: Duchess If You Dare
Series: The Maidens of Mayhem #1
Author: Anabelle Bryant
Genre: Historical Romance
Published: March 30, 2021
Publisher: Kensington Books
My Rating: 4 stars
Duchess If You Dare begins The Maidens of Mayhem series with the romance of a most unlikely, under usual circumstances, couple… but these are certainly not “usual circumstances” that Ambrose and Scarlett find themselves in. Each is searching for answers to a mystery, and it turns out those searches cross and meld into the same line of clues. Can a stuffy Duke and a knife-throwing commoner find a way into each other’s hearts?
Scarlett is searching for a seamstress who has disappeared and is determined to find out what happened to her. Should the clues take her into the back alleys of London, or lead to a brothel well Scarlett isn’t afraid of anything… except, perhaps, emotions like she’s experiencing around one very stubborn, stuffy Duke. I happen to love a kick butt, take names kind of female lead, and that fits Scarlett perfectly. I also enjoy a clueless hero, and Ambrose is certainly that when we first meet. Watching Ambrose grow as he spends time with Scarlett and leaves behind some of that stuffiness was a delightful part of this story.
Duchess If You Dare is a good story to start off the new series. We are exposed to a side of society that we don’t often see up close in Historical Romance, the darker side of poverty, and the powerlessness of women who are not of the ton with their protections or affluence. I would describe Scarlett as a historical woman with the same passions women fight for today, trapped in a time when that battle often leads to disappointment. There is danger, intrigue, mysteries to be solved and an unlikely couple to fall in love in spite of the challenges ahead of them.
I enjoyed Duchess If You Dare on so many levels, yet there were, frankly, other times that I wanted more background information on these characters. I’m hoping that some of my unanswered questions will come to light as the series continues. I love this author’s work, she always delivers a story that I enjoy. This time I found myself wanting a little bit more knowledge of the characters, main and secondary, to make them come to life for me. I really want to know more about the group of women that make up The Maidens of Mayhem, and I’ve no doubt that will come, and I’ll be waiting patiently for the next title in this series.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher, Kensington Books via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
Available in paperback or for your favorite e-reader, mine is the Kindle.