Author: Nicola Cornick
Series: The Scandalous Women of the Ton, book 4
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Review copy from publisher
“When the ton's most notorious heartbreaker… Dangerously seductive and sinfully beautiful, Susanna Burney is society's most sought after matchbreaker. Paid by wealthy parents to part unsuitable couples, she's never yet failed to accomplish her mission of diverting a groom-to-be. Until her final assignment brings her face-to-face with the man who'd once taught her an intimate lesson in heartache…. Meets London's most disreputable rake…James Devlin has everything he's always wanted: a title, a rich fiancée and a place in society. But the woman who's just met his eyes across a crowded ballroom threatens it all. Not because she'd once claimed his heart, or that every sinuous swirl of her ball gown takes his breath away. But because the secrets she carries could cost him everything. To put the past to rest once and for all, Dev just might have to play Susanna at her own wicked game….Let the seduction begin!”
Susanna Burney has been hired by the Duke and Duchess of Aston to impersonate a rich young widow to enamored their son, Fitzwilliam and thus make him forget about his love interest, Francesca Devlin, also known as Chessie, a girl with no titles or money therefore and ill match for a peer of the ton.
What Susanna wasn’t counting on was in crossing paths with James Devlin, her husband, who is unfortunately Chessie’s brother.
James Devlin had a very tough childhood. His father was a gambler, one day rich, one day poor, until the pressure of the debts was too much and he committed suicide, leaving James and Francesca orphans at a very young age.
James has always done whatever necessary to protect and provide for his sister. Now when he thought they would have a safe and steady future, Chessie married to Fitz and him engaged and soon to be married to Lady Emma, the heiress of a big fortune, a ghost from his past comes to ruin everything. This ghost being the woman he married nine years ago whom he thought was dead.
After their quick elopement and unforgettable wedding night James woke up to find Susanna gone with just a note left behind saying their elopement was a mistake she was planning to remedy by requesting an annulment. Later he was told she had died and since then he tried to never again think about her, his one and only love.
Now they are back in each other lives and don’t know what to do with each other. James hates Susanna for leaving him and now for trying to ruin Cheesie’s future but at the same time he is still attracted to her as much as when they were young.
Susanna doesn’t understand why after so many years seeing James still affects her the way it does but she has a mission to accomplish and sadly it doesn’t matter if Chessie gets hurts, there are others more important to her who depend on her to do her job.
The question is are they going to be able to continue with their plans or forget about money and social position and continue where they left years ago?
Notorious is book four in The Scandalous Women of the Ton by Nicola Cornick and my first book by this author.
Because Susanna is a character with many secrets it takes some time to warm up to her and start to like her and even more time to understand her past and present actions. Also to make things harder sometimes her behavior felt a little bit antagonistic. Furthermore she should have been a strong woman to be able to accomplished her “duty”, but this wasn’t always the feeling I got from her, it was more the one of the victim and suffered woman, this might have been because of her situation with James but still I wanted a little bit more of courage from her.
I liked James Devlin since the beginning of the book, I guess it has to do with his sense of humor, his love for his sister and his sense of responsibility. It doesn’t hurt that he is also described as a very handsome man who has done all kind of things to be able to provide for his sister.
Susanna and James relationship is one of those I love you/ I hate you – I want you/ I cannot stand you relationship, full of banter and witty remarks. The chemistry between them felt real, making the sexual tension sometimes unbearable and when they were together the pages sizzled.
The secondary characters didn’t provide anything interesting to the story I could sadly say they took points from it. Fitzwilliam is a spoiled, pompous prick who thinks he can do anything he wants, whenever he wants without caring for the consequences just because of who he is. Cheesie’s story started as a very interesting one with a twist that could have add something nice and spicy to the story but ended in a big disappointment (at least for me) even though Mrs. Cornick tried to implied she will get a HEA what lies ahead for her is not sun and flowers, but headaches, betrayals and disappointments.
What attracted me to read Notorious was that it had a different story from the conventional historical romances. It was not the poor girl in love of the Lord, or the heiress in love with the reformed rake. In Notorious both main characters aren’t part of the ton, and have done all kind of things to survive and climb the social ladder, this make it more interesting and as I said before somehow different.
Even though I haven’t read the books previous to Notorious I didn’t feel lost in the story. The only moment I felt there must have been a story behind was when a character call Bradshaw was introduced, besides that I never felt I was missing something. I can say this book could be read as a stand-alone without any problem.
I recommend this book to historical romance fans, especially is they like steamy hot relationships. I’m sure in the future I will read more books by Mrs. Cornick.
My Verdict: 3 ½ Paws
Other books in the series
Whisper of Scandal
One Wicked Sin
Mistress by Midnight
Other reviews Goodreads