The first time we meet the virtuous Lady Lucinda Wagner, she’s wearing a disguise and playing poker in Chez Sancoucie, a notorious house of gambling, prostitution, and opium. Of course, she’s only there to solve a mystery—the whereabouts of her beloved father—but before the night is out, Luci becomes the prize in a terrifying card game, makes a run for her life, and shares an illicit kiss with the gorgeous Viscount Meriden, Edward Radcliffe. TWO SCANDALS ARE BETTER THAN ONE, the third book in Nancy Yeager’s Harrow’s Finest Five Series, follows Luci and Edward as they keep ending up in dangerous (and naughty) circumstances while attempting to break up a crime ring and free Luci’s father from a nefarious gang of thugs.
Fans of historical romance will find much to relish in this enjoyable trifle of a story; the women are gorgeous and intelligent, the men are gorgeous and chivalrous, and the central love affair is hot and heavy. Yeager knows how to move the plot along, with plenty of cliffhangers, double crosses, and red herrings, and if the final confrontation between the heroes and bad guys is a tad anticlimactic, the culmination of the romance more than makes up for it.
The character of Luci Wagner is a step above the customary Victorian romantic heroine; yes, she’s written as an innocent who blushes at any inappropriate comment made by a scoundrel and there are multiple references to a single strand of her perfectly coiffed blond hair coming loose, but Yeager also makes Luci clever, determined, and able to pull off her alter ego, Madame X with aplomb. Luci also has more of a personal character arc than most of her ilk; she comes to realize that she’s allowed the men in her family to underestimate her and keep her in the dark about real life, and her attraction to Edward is deepened when he trusts her and lets her take the lead in their exploits. In the enjoyable but paper-thin plot, Luci’s small bit of genuine character growth is a refreshing touch.
Spirited and saucy, TWO SCANDALS ARE BETTER THAN ONE treads the historical romance road lightly, thanks to some captivating intrigue and an engaging leading lady who handles a pistol better than her dashing paramour.
~Shari Simpson for IndieReader