The Scoundrel’s Daughter (The Brides of Bellaire Gardens)

Written by Anne Gracie
Review by Ray Thompson

Distraught at a scoundrel’s threat to publish her recently deceased, abusive husband’s spiteful letters to his mistress, mocking her, Alice, dowager Lady Charlton, reluctantly agrees to sponsor his daughter’s introduction into high society and find her a titled husband. Since Lucy Bamber is sullen and resentful at her father, prospects for success seem poor, but the two women come to care for each other and, in the widowed Lord Tarrant and Lord Thornton, veterans of the Napoleonic Wars, they find understanding and loving partners. Can a blackmailer be trusted to honor an agreement, however?

Since both women are likeable and sympathetic figures, victims of controlling and inconsiderate men and Alice’s jealous sister-in-law, their good fortune is gratifying, though the readiness of so many members of the aristocracy to rally to Alice’s defense does strain credulity. But this is a romance, Tarrant’s three daughters are a delight, and despite the seriousness of the issues raised, Lucy provides some lively humor.

Readers looking for a tale of mistreated heroines who find richly deserved happiness will enjoy this Regency romance. Uneven, but nevertheless recommended.