The Duke and the Lady in Red (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James Place)

Written by Lorraine Heath
Review by Joanne Dobson

At a grand ball in the Twin Dragons, formerly a gentlemen’s club restricted to members of Society and now a decadent gambling hell favoring cash over class, the wealthy widow, Rosalind Sharpe, meets Avendale – the Duke of Avendale, that is – and sparks fly. Avendale is most undoubtedly the Real Thing – noble, and wealthy to boot – but is the lovely Widow Sharpe the Real Thing? Is she even a widow? Or is she, perhaps, a shrewd con woman on the make and after Avendale’s money?

This luscious set-up introduces us to a rollicking, but also heart-wrenching, tale set in late 19th-century London and based partially on the plight of a poignant, real, Victorian personage. Skillfully written, well-characterized, and deeply textured with titillating historical and erotic detail, The Duke and the Lady in Red queries the nature of right and wrong, good and evil, and offers possible redemption for its deeply flawed characters. Also, it’s smart and a great deal of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.