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Simon, Lord Winchester or Winejester as he was satirized as, was sometimes less than kind. He felt his assent in Parliament was being made fun of by the male painter, Lemarc, who in fact is Maggie, Lady Hawkins aka the half Irish Harlot! After her debacle during a ball in her first season, she is ruined by her friend's fiancee. No one believes her, and Simon, who seemed to be courting her, turned his back on her. Now Maggie's satirized posters of Lord Winejester are her way of getting back at Simon for his choices of long ago.
Being a widow, Maggie has much more freedom than other ladies at the time, and Simon believes all of the rumors of her sexual escapades! In reality her painting is what has saved her.
Simon and Maggie begin a fabulous chase! While sometimes I felt that Simon was an idiot, he also had reflective moments. Having lived with her reputation for 10 years, Maggie still regrets, but has risen from the ashes to fulfill her destiny. This 'second chance at love' story is a powerful look at how society can ostracize someone with there being no truth to any of the rumors.
I was happy with this book. Although, now that I've read some of the negative reviews on Amazon, I still have to say, I was happy with this book.
Ms. Shupe has written a historically accurate book and we're trying to review it with our 21st Century sensibilities! Women were ostracized by society at that point in history for any number of infractions. A man's word was taken over any woman's every time! It was a complete double standard and very accurately portrayed by Ms. Shupe. That the heroine of this book rose above the marriage her parents forced her into with a much older gentleman, society continuing to call her the 'Half-Irish Harlot', her ability to function and in essence 'roll with it' when it would have been easier to stay out of society, throwing parties that were 'over the top', living a 'second life' as a political satirist, my goodness...she was pretty bada$$! There was no #MeToo movement in Regency England!
This is the second of Joanna Shupe's books I've read, and second in a series.
I love how she includes the characters from the first book as supporting characters, while artfully introducing the cast of the next story in the series.
The only reason I gave this four stars instead of five is because the person who committed a crime, which was an important aspect of the book, was never identified. The hero and heroine share a passion for rescuing women from abusive situations. This crucial plot element was left hanging, when a blackmailer threatens to disclose the identity of a political satirist. That thread was dropped toward the end of the story. It's possible the thread will be picked up in the next story, but I felt like what could have been a strong message about how women and men approach the same problems from different perspectives got sidetracked and suppressed by the blackmail attempt which surfaced at the end out of nowhere.
That being said, I'm still looking forward to book 3, as well as reading the series about the Knickerbocker era.
I like historical romances. That said, I can't tell you if the period details are correct. I just love a story that hooks me and keeps me guessing. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and the other two in the series.