Summer of Scandal: A Dare to Defy Novel (Runaway Heiress)

Written by Syrie James
Review by Ray Thompson

Like her sister, Madeleine Atherton is a Vassar-educated American heiress, whose mother is determined she marry an English lord. A duke’s heir has offered, but she is unsure and travels to Cornwall to consult with her sister. There she meets Charles Grayson, the Earl of Saunders, who shares both her passionate nature and creative mind: she is an author, he an inventor. Unsurprisingly, they fall in love, but he is expected to marry his cousin. Can these two find happiness together despite the expectations of their families?

The challenge is to find a convincing solution to the dilemma, while retaining sympathy for the lovers, and this the author manages reasonably well. The circumstances which keep throwing them together, despite their efforts to resist their mutual attraction, do begin to seem contrived, especially when rain necessitates the removal of wet clothes. It does, however, rain a lot in England. The conflict between the lovers’ desire to pursue their vocation and find love with a compatible partner, on the one hand, and reluctance to cause pain to those they care about, on the other, will appeal to many readers of romance. Set in the late Victorian era.