Viscountess of Vice by Jenny Holiday
Series: Regency Reformers #3
Also in this series: The Miss Mirren Mission, The Likelihood of Lucy
Published by Entangled Publishing on January 25th 2016
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Secrets and lies, scandals and spies.
All Lady Catharine, Viscountess Cranbrook, wants is a little excitement. Bored of playing the role of the ton’s favorite slightly scandalous widow, she jumps at the chance to go undercover as a courtesan to help with an espionage mission. After all, beneath her outrageously low bodice beats the heart of a patriot.
Social reformer James Burnham is conducting a study of vice in England’s capital. Driven by his own secrets, he is methodical, intelligent—and wickedly handsome. Catharine is the last sort of woman the upstanding James should want. But want her he does, though she stands for everything he opposes.
When Catharine and James are forced to band together to advance their causes, they’ll be drawn into a web of secrets and lies that endangers their lives—and their hearts.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Viscountess of Vice is like a prequel to the first two installments of the Regency Reformers series by Ms. Holiday where we finally get to see how James achieved the inconceivable feat of marrying Catharine, aka the Viscountess of Vice. In both The Miss Mirren Mission and The Likelihood of Lucy we see Catharine and James as an established couple, and I loved getting to know their story.
Catharine is a scandalous widow, after many hardships and the loss of her husband she is tired of living for the ton and leads a life bordering in impropriety. Bored with her shallow-ish existence Catharine decides to do something meaningful with her time and Lord Blackstone offers her a very interesting way to spice up her life. She will become one of his spies and she’ll pose as a courtesan offering only private conversation in an establishment of ill repute to try and pry information from one of the patrons.
Here’s where she’ll meet James, who actually takes her for a… courtesan. He was there investigating for a Society that benefits the poor, but is distracted by the beauty in a mask and a fire red wig. Catherine is for the first time in a long time really interested in a man and they are soon quite fortuitously engaged in an affair.
Well, unbeknownst to James he gets in the middle of a suspected traitor’s business when Catharine asks him to help children that are being forced to work at this man’s shop.
As you can imagine, when everyone is leading a double life things tend to get complicated and soon James and Catharine’s relationship is put at risk when she can’t open up to him about what is she doing at the whorehouse.
Both of them had some personal issues to overcome and they eventually do. The suspense and intrigue were predominant in this installment, there was steam but actually little to no romance. I love how Ms. Holiday can make me bond to her characters, but in this instance it was not such a good thing as I was dreading the part where everything was going to fall through… making me stall in getting to this part (as in, I set the book down, read other stuff and then picked it back up on sheer force of will). In the end, I enjoyed the story but not as much as I wanted to. Catharine had a bit of the “I’m not worthy of you” theme going on and that is one big pet peeve to me. James was a cutie, I actually would have loved to pinch his cheeks a la great aunt, he was that much of a sweetie.
Sparkles’ Rating: 3 reformed-bad-girl Stars
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