A Widow’s Guide to Scandal (The Sons of Neptune Book 1)

Written by Hallie Alexander
Review by Irene Colthurst

Henrietta Caldwell, née Smith, is the widow of an unmourned, abusive husband. Her concern, even as revolution swirls near New York City in 1775, is getting her roof repaired. The man who answers her request is Marcus Hardwicke, the boy she kissed at age fifteen, now a member of the Sons of Liberty. With his motley crew of comrades, he has been disrupting British operations as the colonies slide towards war.

The novel closely follows Henrietta, giving it a tone that mostly alternates between cozy and intimate. Some of its humor comes from Marcus, who hasn’t finished growing up, and his dog, Sissy.

The first in the planned Sons of Neptune series, Alexander’s A Widow’s Guide to Scandal is a historical romance of the American Revolution with a domestic focus. The wider conflict comes in the form of Henrietta’s uncle-in-law, British colonel Caldwell.  The novel doesn’t decide whether it wants to be a domestic romance or a light spy story full of camaraderie. Henrietta is able to grow through a nicely handled character arc, but the rest of the setting seems unsuited to that personal journey, as seen in the shift in tone towards the end.