The Harlot Countess (Wicked Deceptions #2)
Author: Joanna Shupe
Release Date: 28 April 2015
Lady Hawkins’s debut was something she’d rather forget—along with her first marriage. Today, the political cartoonist is a new woman. A thoroughly modern woman. So much so that her clamoring public believes she’s a man…
FACT: Drawing under a male pseudonym, Maggie is known as Lemarc. Her (his!) favorite object of ridicule: Simon Barrett, Earl of Winchester. He’s a rising star in Parliament—and a former confidant and love interest of Maggie’s who believed a rumor that vexes her to this day.
FICTION: Maggie is the Half-Irish Harlot who seduced her best friend’s husband on the eve of their wedding. She is to be feared and loathed as she will lift her skirts for anything in breeches.
Still crushed by Simon’s betrayal, Maggie has no intention of letting the ton crush her as well. In fact, Lemarc’s cartoons have made Simon a laughingstock…but now it appears that Maggie may have been wrong about what happened years ago, and that Simon has been secretly yearning for her since…forever. Could it be that the heart is mightier than the pen and the sword after all?
Maggie was a wonderful heroine and whilst my heart broke for her sad history, I was also impressed at the way she managed to piece back together her life. She's undeservedly shunned and scorned by the ton and they brand her the 'Half-Irish Harlot'. After the desertion of her friends, she is left to marry an old man to save her sisters reputation. Maggie doesn't let this defeat her though, she gathers her strength and when she is left a widow she returns to London and hides behind her infamous title. This allows her to mingle with society where she gains fodder for her art as a satirical cartoonist.
Simon is featured in the previous book of the series, where he is infinitely likable as Julia's friend and co-conspirator. In this book we learn more of Simon's past and his actions regarding Maggie. Here is where he definitely loses points, the silly man. He effectively abandons Maggie, despite their close friendship, when she is embroiled in scandal with another man. He doesn't talk to her about it but neatly cuts her out of his life. Years later, he bumps into Maggie and realises that the feelings he had for her then are just as strong as ever. Simon has a lot of making up to do though, and it's infuriating to see him continue to doubt Maggie's character when we, as the reader, know what she's truly like. Despite his faults, Simon can be sweet and kind and I was rooting for him to be able to see Maggie clearly and win her over.
Simon and Maggie have a potent chemistry which means that their past cannot be easily buried. When they are reunited, the sparks between them fly and there is no resisting their mutual pull. There are plenty of miscommunications between this pair but rather than irritate the reader it rather served to build anticipation for the moment they would finally see the light.
Overall, I found this to be another wonderful story in the Wicked Deceptions series, filled with passionate romance, sparkling wit and an engaging plot to keep you hooked. I loved seeing previous characters return and next up it's Quint's turn to find love and I'm so looking forward to it!
*I received a review copy form the publisher, via NetGalley, for my honest opinion. Thank you!
About the Author
Award-winning author JOANNA SHUPE has always loved history, ever since she saw her first Schoolhouse Rock cartoon. While in college, Joanna read every romance she could get her hands on and soon started crafting her own racy historical novels. She now lives in New Jersey with her two spirited daughters and dashing husband.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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