The Spinster’s Guide to Scandalous Behavior by Jennifer McQuiston
Genre: Historical Romance
This is the second book in McQuiston’s “The Seduction Diaries” series, and I have to say I preferred the first one. Not that this was terrible, but it wasn’t particularly exciting for me either. This book stars Lucy Westmore, an unconventional lady living with her parents in London (of course). She inherits a run-down rat-infested cottage from an aunt she hasn’t seen in years, and her father sells it out from under her to the book’s hero, Thomas, Lord Branston. That’s the basic setup, and it drives the book.
Lucy is full of spunk and is an independent spirit. She’s unconventional and everything that should work in a heroine. But somehow, she falls flat. While she’s following in her unconventional aunt’s footsteps, she rarely makes unconventional decisions for herself. Instead, she copies what someone else already did, which makes everything that she does a little underwhelming. In addition, she’s stubborn and foolish, and she doesn’t think through the consequences of her actions. She’s not as strong as we’re supposed to think she is.
And then there’s Thomas, the marquis who’s basically trying to swindle Lucy, even though we’re supposed to believe it’s for a good cause. He’s got a tortured past (of course) and seems to be both intelligent and kind-hearted, but he also just doesn’t measure up in the ways we would hope. He takes a long time to disclose his friendship with Lucy’s late aunt, and he keeps his secrets for far too long. Plus, he’s celibate, which is fine I guess, but it’s kind of a weird character trait for a historical romance hero.
Does it make sense that they end up together? Meh. Maybe? I guess? But they barely know each other and it only takes a short time (maybe a week or so?) to decide they’re in love and want to be married and be together for ever. And he, of course, knew he loved her from the very first moment he met her. Cue eye roll. That irritates me in a romance.
The first book in this series, Diary of an Accidental Wallflower, was more enjoyable by far, and I didn’t have so many tepid feelings at the end of it. That said, this book was light and fluffy and perfectly fine. It just wasn’t spectacular. There’s a third book (The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel) coming out in September, though, and I certainly do intend to read it. I gave this three stars because it was just kind of average. There was nothing offensively bad, but this book just doesn’t stand out for me.