Wednesday, June 3, 2015

REVIEW: "The Lady Hellion" by Joanna Shupe


The Lady Hellion (Wicked Deceptions, #3)
The Lady Hellion by Joanna Shupe
(Wicked Deceptions #3)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality, Violence)
Historical Romance -- Regency England

Zebra -- Published in May 2015
eARC, 338 pages
Read in May 2015
Received from Netgalley

THEMES/TROPES
Brainy Hero, Heroine in Disguise, Murder Mystery

SUMMARY
Lady Sophia Barnes doesn’t take no for an answer. Especially when she’s roaming London’s seedy underground…dressed as a man.

A rabble rouser for justice, Sophie’s latest mission is to fight for the rights of the poor, the wretched—and the employees at Madame Hartley’s brothel. She’s not concerned about the criminals who will cross her path, for Sophie has mastered the art of deception—including the art of wearing trousers. Now her fate is in her own hands, along with a loaded gun. All she needs is instruction on how to shoot it. But only one person can help her: Lord Quint, the man who broke her heart years ago. The man she won’t let destroy her again…

The last thing Damien Beecham, Viscount Quint, needs is an intrusion on his privacy, especially from the beautiful, exasperating woman he’s never stopped wanting. A woman with a perilously absurd request, no less. For Damien is fighting a battle of his own, one he wishes to keep hidden—along with his feelings for Lady Sophia. Yet that fight is as hopeless as stopping her outlandish plan. Soon all Quint knows for certain is that he will die trying to protect her…


FIRST LINE
"Padding the crouch of one's trousers required a surprising amount of skill."

MY THOUGHTS
I received a free copy of this book from Zebra via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lady Sophia "Sophie" is an unorthodox woman in Regency England.  She is obsessed with social justice and helping women who find themselves in difficult situations.  Currently, she is working on solving a mystery involving missing women.  In the course of her investigation, she gets into a confrontation with a lord and is challenged to a duel.  She turns to Viscount Quint, who has become a recluse, to prepare her for the duel.

I really loved Sophie!  She had a passion for helping those less fortunate than herself and, while she had some reckless moments, she learned from her mistakes.  Sophie also has a romantic side which she has pushed away after being tricked by one suitor and then had her heart broken by Quint.  She is determined to never marry despite her father's efforts and I liked that she had a legitimate reason to be hesitant.

Quint was just as wonderful to read about.  He is extremely smart and a bit socially awkward.  He would rather spend his time doing research than dancing at a ball.  The only woman who ever grabbed his attention was Sophie, but a miscommunication caused their courtship to end prematurely.  Things get worse for Quint after he is injured in The Harlot Countess and he begins to believe that he is going insane like his father before him.  This aspect of his personality gave him a vulnerability that really touched my heart.  I especially liked that there was not a magical cure for his issues and that things progressed at, what I am assuming, is a realistic pace.

Sophie and Quint were just adorable together.  They had a history, but both were convinced that the other did not have feelings for them that the moment they figured out the truth was very poignant.  I liked how they helped one another with their various issues.  Quint, while disapproving of Sophie's work, figured out ways to keep her safe without smothering her.  For her part, Sophie never belittled Quint for his fears and just offered support in figuring out ways to improve his mental state.

Besides the romance, The Lady Hellion also offers readers an intriguing murder mystery.  Prostitutes are being reported missing and then a few days later, showing up dead in the river without a right hand.  Sophie and Quint work really well together to figure out the truth behind these disappearances despite her gender and his inability to leave his house.  I liked the balance between the mystery and the love story which is not often the case in historical romances that I read.  I also have to give props for the big reveal of the perpetrator since I was completely wrong!

In conclusion, I liked the first two books in the Wicked Deception series, but this third book just blew me away!  Joanna Shupe definitely saved the best for last and I am excited to read whatever she does next.  Highly recommended and you don't need to read the first two books to enjoy this one.

4.5 STARS


5 comments:

  1. I do love a good mystery in a romance...it adds a more intense level to the story. I really want to try this author out soon.

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    1. I think you would really like this author. This book was (by far) my favorite of hers.

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  2. This seems really fun. I think I'd like Sophie a lot, and Quint seems totally awesome. I need to meet him. I've been so into the Rhymes with Love series by Elizabeth Boyle lately. I cannot get enough!

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  3. Oh my gosh. That sounds awesome! I love heroines like her and a bit social awkward for the hero. That is totally for me. Thanks for the heads up on this one :D

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  4. This was my favorite from the series. I loved her!

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